Editor’s Note: This is the fourth part of our Fast Class video series, which showcases faculty and staff members discussing their areas of interest and expertise.
True or false: librarians are elderly ladies with gray hair done up in a bun who are stern, bookish, and frequently observed with one of their index fingers pressed against their lips.
Many of us would say “true” after calling to mind the stereotypical image of the librarian so prevalent in books, TV shows, films, cartoons, and comic strips.
“False,” says Linda Park, director of Keuka College’s Lightner Library and an assistant professor. “Today’s librarian does not fit that image.”
In Busting Stereotypes of Librarians and Libraries, Park said librarians are tech-savvy teachers who teach users to find and evaluate information.
“We are not old fashioned,” explained Park. “We embrace change as positive and rapidly changing technologies improve our ability to help our users find the information they need. We can use scanners, fix printers and copiers, and provide tech support to patrons having trouble with Word, Excel or PowerPoint.”
Park said librarians have transformed today’s library into a multi-functional facility “that is certainly not your grandmother’s library.
“We are as comfortable online as in the stacks with all the books,” she said. “We can surf the Web and can navigate both print and electronic resources. If the information is out there, the librarian will help you find it. And, I bet she won’t have a bun and won’t be shushing you to be quiet.”
Linda Park came to Keuka College in 2003 and has served as library director since the fall of 2007.
Park, who also serves as assistant professor, holds her Bachelor’s of Science in elementary education from Buffalo State College, and her Master’s of Library Science and Juris Doctor degrees from SUNY Buffalo. Before coming to Keuka she was a part-time reference librarian at the Meder Library at Finger Lakes Community College. Prior to moving to the Finger Lakes in the early 80’s, Park was the head of technical services at the Charles B. Sears Law Library at SUNY Buffalo.
She lives in Gorham with her husband and son. She loves animals and has a dog, Butkus, and a cat, Snafu. She’s an avid sports fan; her favorite teams are the New York Yankees, Buffalo Sabres, and Buffalo Bills.