I got linked to from the Liminal Librarian, who must have a Google Alert on her blog (as I do, which is how I found out) as I just wrote that post earlier today. I have also received one comment supporting her. I believe looking at some other peoples' posts that while we are all conflicted on the issue, most people side with Rachel Singer Gordon.
I was a reference assistant to online graduate students for 30 hours per week for the two years I was in grad school. The skills I picked up in that job were much more important than anything I learned in the classroom, but I still considered myself a paraprofessional. I was fortunate in that while most of my professors had Ph.D.'s, most of them had also served as librarians or other types of information professionals before returning to grad school (my favorite professor had worked as a non-MLS librarian for 7 years).
I am defensive in that I spent 2 years of my life working on this degree, graduated with a 3.97 GPA while working at least 30 hours per week in a demanding paraprofessional job, went through my once-significant savings, and am now oppressed by student loans to get that piece of paper. My monthly loan payment is 20% of my take-home salary and will be for another 8 years without my parents' help.
I would not have gotten my current job without the degree and I believe the trend to call non-MLS workers "librarians" is not as much of an issue in academic libraries as it is in public ones. I am sympathetic to people who are doing professional librarian work in public libraries. In academic libraries, I don't want the paraprofessionals looked down upon, but I don't want them called "librarians" either unless they really do librarians' work. As I said in the original post, that involves reference interviews, instruction, database analysis and selection/deselection, collection development and weeding, keeping up with global library trends, applying new technologies to the library, planning budgets and strategic plans. I think working more than an 8-hour day when you don't feel caught-up is an important thing, too. And is the person in a "job" or working it as a "career?"
If they are doing any combination of these things, fine, I will happily call them a "librarian." I don't see reading to children or processing Interlibrary Loan requests as professional librarians' work. I'm not saying these are easy tasks (I don't want anything to do with other peoples' children) but they're not professional-librarian work.
I will admit that almost all of this was learned on the job for me, either as a paraprofessional in school or in my first professional job. But I'm scared of the trends I mentioned previously and the implication that the effort I went through and am proud of to get my degree is worthless....
And I still don't get how no one would let me teach French in high school or college without the proper degree, even if I was perfectly cabable of doing so and had relevant experience, yet people wouldn't mind replacing me with someone who doesn't have the "proper" degree.
Could we at least all agree that those without significant library experience (and preferably an MLS) should not be named as library directors?