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Librarians Have Been Around Since the 8th Century BCE

A librarian is in charge of overseeing the everyday operations of a public or private library. They can work in schools, religious organizations, or government-run libraries and research facilities. Did you know how long have librarians been around? 

Professional librarians can be traced back to Assyria in the eighth century BCE. The Romans also had libraries but no librarians; therefore, the job was done by non-specialized scholars like praetors or grammarians.

The First Librarians

The Sumerians were the first to teach clerks how to keep account records. Keepers of the Tablets or Masters of the Books were scribes or priests who had been trained to deal with the massive number and complexity of these documents. The scope of their precise responsibilities is uncertain.

In the eighth century BC, King Ashurbanipal of Assyria erected a library in his palace in Nineveh, Mesopotamia. In history, Ashurbanipal was the first person to establish librarianship as a profession. Thousands of Sumerian and Babylonian tablets, including literary writings, history, omens, astronomical calculations, mathematical tables, grammatical and linguistic tables, dictionaries, and commercial records and legislation, were supervised by at least one keeper of the books, who cataloged and arranged them in a logical order by subject or type, each with an identification tag.

Christian monasteries in Europe are credited with preserving the institution of libraries after the fall of the Roman Empire. Around this time, the parchment codex, the first codex, as opposed to a scroll, became popular. The overseer of the scriptorium, where monks copied books from cover to cover, frequently served the librarian’s role. A monk named Anastasias was given the title of Bibliothecarius after his superb translations of Greek classicists meaning librarian.

Conrad Gessner, Gabriel Naudé, John Dury, and Gottfried Leibniz, well-known scholars and librarians, proposed the creation of a Bibliotheca Universalis, a global listing of all printed books in the 16th century. The four librarians who founded the Bibliotheca Universalis are notable personalities in librarianship. Avis pour dressing une bibliothèque was published by Gabriel Naudé.

While there were full-time librarians in the 18th century, the professionalization of the library role was a 19th-century development, as evidenced by its first training school, first university school, and first professional associations and licensing procedures. (Source: Indeed

What Are the Responsibilities of a Librarian? 

As evidenced by the word’s etymology, a librarian has traditionally been associated with book collections from the Latin liber, which means book. A 1713 definition of the word was the custodian of a library, while in the 17th century, the role was referred to as a library-keeper, and a librarian was a scribe, one who copies books.

The librarian’s work is constantly changing to meet social and technical demands. A modern librarian may work with books, electronic resources, periodicals, newspapers, audio and video recordings, maps, manuscripts, photographs and other graphic material, bibliographic databases, and Internet-based and digital resources to provide and maintain information in a variety of media. 

Other information services that a librarian may provide include information literacy instruction, computer provision, training, cooperation with community groups to organize public programs, assistive technology for people with impairments, and help to access community resources.

The Internet has had a significant impact on the materials and services that all types of librarians offer to their customers. Electronic information has changed librarians’ roles and responsibilities to where library education and service expectations have been revolutionized.

(Source: Indeed

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