Quick, what's Bolivia's capital? Enoch Pratt librarian Herbert Rogers will know

AT WORK / WORKERS AROUND THE REGION

September 28, 2005|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST | NANCY JONES-BONBREST,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Herbert Rogers

Age: 55

Years in business: 12

Salary: $38,000 a year

How he started: Herbert Rogers graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a bachelor's degree in modern languages. He went on to the National Autonomous University of Mexico where he obtained a master's degree in Latin American literature. He stayed in Mexico for eight years. When he returned to Baltimore he briefly taught Spanish in Baltimore City public schools. He was encouraged by a friend to become a librarian at the Enoch Pratt.

Typical day: Rogers works in the information services division on the second floor of the library. He works about 38 hours a week, which includes alternating weekends. His time is divided between answering questions via telephone and e-mail. He also works at the front information desk and in the public computer center. He works one night each week until about 11 p.m. for the night-owl service, where people can call in or e-mail questions to a librarian. He estimates he answers about 60 questions daily.

Nothing boring about it: "We must learn how to shift gears. We are somewhat schizophrenic because we go from one subject to the other."

The good: "I like it best when I can take bits and pieces of information and piece it together like a puzzle and I am able to give verifiable information to the patron."

The bad: When the computers go down. "When we cannot give a response to the patrons, that is the most difficult."

The role of the librarian in the face of expanding technology: "I don't think the role of the librarian will be diminished. If anything, the librarian will help the patron in their research and in finding reliable sources on the Internet."

Philosophy on the job: "To do the very best that one can do in getting the information out there to our patrons whether it be in person or one of the emerging technologies that are available to us."

Extracurriculars: Rogers began his love of the Latin American culture after taking his first Spanish class in sixth grade. He has since traveled to several Latin American countries, including Cuba, where he gave a presentation to the Cuban Library Association about the information services of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. He has a special interest in Afro-Hispanic studies.

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