An Interview with Lynne Howarth

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona]On: 27 October 2014, At: 02:15Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Cataloging & Classification QuarterlyPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wccq20

    An Interview with Lynne HowarthCarolynne Myall & Jean Weihs BLS aa library technicians, and school librarians , E-mail:Published online: 03 Feb 2009.

    To cite this article: Carolynne Myall & Jean Weihs BLS (2005) An Interview with Lynne Howarth, Cataloging & ClassificationQuarterly, 40:1, 3-17, DOI: 10.1300/J104v40n01_02

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J104v40n01_02

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  • CCQ INTERVIEW

    Carolynne Myall, Interview Editor

    An Interview with Lynne Howarth

    Jean Weihs

    ABSTRACT. Lynne Howarth discusses her career as a cataloguer andeducator. Topics covered include important issues facing cataloguerstoday; exciting trendsand also some discouraging developmentsinlibrarianship, cataloguing, and bibliographic control during the lastten years, and the future of bibliographic control in the next ten years;the challenges in overcoming the traditional view of librarians; andpotential fields of employment for those with cataloguing skills. [Articlecopies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service:1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: Web-site: 2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. Allrights reserved.]

    Lynne C. Howarth, PhD, is Professor, Faculty of Information Studies, University ofToronto, 140 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G6, Canada (E-mail: howarth@fis.utoronto.ca). Jean Weihs, BLS, worked in academic, public, school, and special li-braries, and taught cataloguing for more than thirty years to librarians, library techni-cians, and school librarians (E-mail: jean.weihs@rogers.com).

    This interview was conducted in April 2004.

    Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, Vol. 40(1) 2005Available online at http://www.haworthpress.com/web/CCQ

    2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J104v40n01_02 3

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  • KEYWORDS. Lynne C. Howarth, cataloguing, bibliographic control,library technical service departments, education for librarianship, re-cruitment for librarianship, employment opportunities for cataloguers,image of librarians

    PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND

    Lynne Howarth was a scholarship student throughout her undergraduateand graduate career. She has been and continues to be an active participant inmany professional organizations and has chaired several important commit-tees. She has received nineteen research grants and written, co-written, or ed-ited four books and thirty-four articles. The first time I met Lynne was when Ihired her to teach cataloguing at Seneca College. She was a splendid teacherso much so that she was the only teacher about whom I received no complaints(there are always complaints about teachers from disgruntled students). Herelevation from Assistant Professor to Dean of the Faculty of Information Stud-ies, University of Toronto, seven years after she began teaching at the facultywas a testament to her skill as a teacher and her leadership qualities.

    JW: Fifty years ago when I went to university, there were few fields open toyoung women. This was not true in your generation. What attracted you tolibrarianship?

    LH: While both my parents were readers, my mother was a great supporter ofthe public library. From a very young age she took me with her to the GeorgeH. Locke Branch of the Toronto Public Library, and I would choose my booksin the Boys & Girls Room while she browsed the collections of the adjoiningadult section of the building. By the age of nine I had been adopted biblio-graphically by the childrens librarian, Marjorie Fleming, who took greatpains to recommend books for my reading interest, and to solicit my opinionsas to what I had enjoyed about a particular title. Following such a discussion, Iwould be offered books in a similar vein. Whether helping to identify titles fora school project or to savour recreationally, Miss Fleming knew how to fostera love of learning as well as a lifelong and enduring passion for reading. Shewas definitely my first mentor and an inspiration for my future profession as alibrarian and library and information science/information studies educator. Bygrade six, I was working in my elementary school library, and by the age offourteen had become a Page at the Toronto Public Library. I continued to workpart-time in the Boys & Girls Room at the George H. Locke Branch through-

    4 CATALOGING & CLASSIFICATION QUARTERLY

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  • out my secondary school years and on weekends during my undergraduateyears at McMaster University.

    Towards the midpoint of my Bachelor of Arts degree program, and with amajor in political science, I seriously considered a career in law. As a result ofmy exposure to a large sample of librarians during my time in high school anduniversity, I had come to appreciate their facility with knowing somethingabout everything and having the skills to identify information in even greaterdepth, as necessary. These were well-rounded individuals with intelligence,wit, and cultural savvy. I also discovered that they possessed graduate degreesthat would be honoured around the worldjust the ticket for someone with ayearning for travel and an interest in people and places beyond Canada. Incomparison, law seemed more limited and limiting; by the end of my thirdyear undergraduate studies, I had committed to pursuing a career in librarian-shipand to see the world!

    JW: Why did you become a cataloguer?

    LH: After completing my BA degree, I decided to work for a year to earnmoney to support me through a two-year graduate degree as I understood theMaster of Library Science program required. I applied for a full-time positionas a paraprofessional at the University of Guelph Library, hoping for work inthe reference services area. When I explained that I would only be working atthe library for a year before going back to university for my MLS degree, theinterviewing librarian stated that, in that case, it was not worth the time to trainme as a reference paraprofessional and hired me as a bibliographic searcher inthe Technical Services Division. I determined to do this until the first vacancyin public services occurred, but quickly discovered that the detective workinvolved in looking for cataloguing copy for a huge variety of academic mate-rials was challenging and engaging. My second mentor was Ellen TomstheHead of Technical Serviceswho not only encouraged the development of myskills as a bibliographic searcher (with a supervised foray into copy catalogu-ing as we now know it), but also took an active interest in my commitment to acareer in librarianship. Along with Marjorie Fleming, she was highly support-ive of my candidacy for admission to the Master of Library Science program atthe University of Toronto.

    I enrolled in the MLS program in September 1976. During the secondyear, I secured part-time employment at the Toronto Board of Educationworking as a bibliographic searcher in the Cataloguing Department. Perhapssensing a potential recruit, cataloguers there shared aspects of their knowl-edge base with me, again exposing me to the more challenging and engagingaspects of original cataloguing in particular. Academically, I had found an in-

    CCQ Interview 5

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  • tellectual home in cataloguing, pursuing a research stream project u