What’s an Infobrarian?

Hi, I’m Russell. I’m an Infobrarian. Are you? You’re probably a librarian if you are reading my blog, but I won’t hold that against you.

A long time ago, someone decided that it would be a good idea to keep a whole lot of books in one place. They checked “Book-keeping-place” on their favourite domain registry, and found it was free, but then had the compelling feeling that they should use something Latin in the title. They chose liber, and after some clumsy conjugating and declensioning, ended up with the name library for their book-keeping-place. They decided that the person in charge of the Library would of course be a BookGuard.

Unfortunately, that word was already taken (a nagging voice in my head tells me to write “was already covered”, but as there may be real librarians in the audience, I’ll avoid that) so for the next few thousand years, they had to be content with librarian. Now, I’m not sure about your library, but my library has a lot more than just books in it. Don’t get me wrong – I like books – but there are plenty of other ways of finding out stuff in most libraries. And when you really think about it, that’s what libraries have evolved into: places for finding out stuff.

After a lot of brain-wrenching thought, a long discussion with my curriculum-wrangling partner, and half a chocolate rabbit, I concluded that libraries are now about information as much as books, so we should probably change the name. Is that why so many schools now have things called Information Centres, or Knowledge Centres, and other fairly clumsy labels? I don’t want a job title that requires me to type more than a dozen characters, so I looked for something shorter that really describes what I do now. I’ve forgotten just about all the Latin I ever learned, so I’m stuck with Informarian … that didn’t have the right ring to it, so I’ve butchered the term to get Infobrarian. No, it doesn’t have a proper Latin root, and it isn’t etymologically correct. But I like it.

So that’s what we’ve all become – infobrarians. Instead of librarians who point people to the right books, we now point people to the right information. And that’s what I want to do in my professional life. I hope you all feel the same.

Russell – the Infobrarian

By the way, I wasn’t kidding about the rabbit. I think I’ve written enough to deserve the rest of it now.


12 thoughts on “What’s an Infobrarian?

  1. What a great post – nice neologism! And (drum roll) it doesn’t Google (that is, Google suggests ‘infolibrarian’ and presents NO results for ‘infobrarian’). So this is virgin territory…

    Reckon you’re really onto something.

  2. I just want some of that chocolate rabbit…hoho. But seriously, the ‘library’ has been re-invented so many times by beauracrats it’s about time those of us who work in them had a say. However, no matter how many times we change the name (Resource Centre…Information Hub….Information Centre) the kids keep on calling it the library!!

  3. Hi Russell,
    I think you should get on twitter and hashtag infobrarian. If you don’t know much about twitter, if people add #infobrarian to their tweets, they will all be tweeting along in the one place – you will have a flock :). I really enjoyed reading your post, and am thinking chocolate does sound like a good idea.
    Rachel Fidock
    Bright Ideas coordinator

      • Thanks for the suggestion! I’m reluctant to lose my current twitter ID @woodford because I’ve had it a while, and I won’t get that one back without having to add a string of numbers at the end … but I took your advice and grabbed infobrarian.

        I don’t know why I didn’t think of the twitter name when I registered the blog. I really did invent the word – but so have a few others – nothing new under the sun and all that. There’s someone on Blogspot who calls herself info-brarian, and a I’ve just found a few other writers who use the word to describe, well, people like us! So there really are infobrarians. Maybe it will make the next Macquarie dictionary.

        Now I will have to learn how to feed posts between twitter and this blog. And my brain is already tired.

        The Infobrarian

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