by Sara Dixon, Head Editor, INALJ Kansas
Why Every Profession Needs a Librarian or Information Professional
This last week, as I was trying to change over my license and tags back to Kansas from Florida, I had what I imagine is a very common experience. You wait in line, next to several people in the same predicament as you. You’ve all got your hair properly coiffed, makeup applied (if you’re into that kind of thing), you’ve worn the outfit that will accentuate your neck in the right way. And then it’s finally your turn. You sit in the chair and lay out all the forms of ID you’ve collected to prove you are who you say you are. Then INEVITABLY you find, oops, you’ve forgotten something. It doesn’t matter that you took time to carefully prepare everything before you left. So sorry, but you must try again.
The frustration was multiplied because, the librarian in me had done all the research! I had looked online for ALL the things I would need. But the simple website for this rural office had very little pertinent information. There was no list of items needed for a driver’s license or tags. But there was a phone number – so I called and obtained the information I thought I needed. I had it all: my passport, my lease agreement, my other forms of ID, my title, my VIN inspection to ensure my car was not stolen but rightfully paid for, and my proof of local insurance, and my checkbook to pay for all the fees. But the agency representative forgot to mention that they don’t accept credit or debit cards, which I was able to anticipate, but what I didn’t expect is that they would only accept LOCAL checks or cash. So I was turned away to try again the next day. I feel like people always complain about their experiences at the Department of Motor Vehicles. You know what they need? They need a few Information Professionals to anticipate how people will look for the information they need and find the best way to put it out there. I realize I’m grossly oversimplifying what we do, but you get what I’m saying.
So that got me to thinking, every profession could really use someone whose main purpose in life is to organize their information and repackage it in an easily digestible way for people. Many professions already do. We have law libraries, medical libraries, and even libraries for musical groups (Beatles and Grateful Dead to name a few). The world is a confusing place, and if we could utilize our info pros more to demystify it, why wouldn’t we? I’m probably preaching to the wrong group of people on this one, since you’ve all probably had this epiphany at one point or another. Let’s let our librarians and information professionals help us cut through the red tape and bureaucracy. But first we have to put them in place to do so. I’m talking to you, DMV.