Thing 20: The library journey
September 27, 2011
For Thing 20, I posted my Thing 10, which discusses my library career so far, on the Library Routes website . This Thing also discusses the Library Day in the Life project . Both of these sites encourage librarians to talk about why they became librarians, and to document what libraries do today.
In exploring some of the “routes” taken by others, a few common threads stand out, and echo my own experience:
1. Many people started in other areas of work, and then discovered librarianship later or in conjunction with their existing work. I started working in a judge’s clerks office, and went on to a law library, and kept working toward my ideal library position from there.
2. People who eventually became librarians loved reading and words from a very young age (obviously!) I was the only kindergartener back in my day who could already read and I spent all my free time reading (still do!) However, if you explore the above Library Day in the Life or even go to your local library, you will realize that there is really no time for reading on the job. If I had a dollar for everyone who said “…it must be great working at a library and getting to read all the time…” I would be rich. However much I may wish this to be true, I never worked in a library where this was possible.
3. Librarians have a passion for finding solutions to problems, and analyzing facts to bring about those solutions. We naturally are used to finding answers, so this part of our job is natural and also one of the most fun!
4. For many, being an information professional/librarian is a calling/vocation similar to other vocations. I think sometimes people think you become a librarian because you didn’t want to do something else (which can be somewhat true), but being a librarian is rigorous and involves patience and a drive to want to help others. It is very much like being a teacher, as you often assist and teach others, based upon their levels and needs, to find, analyze and evaluate information on their own. Just like teachers, we won’t get rich doing it, but the job satisfaction is definitely a plus. I think most people who become librarians, no matter their initial motives, find that they truly love it and it becomes their passion.
5. In today’s techno-climate, keeping up with the never-ending proliferation of information is a huge undertaking. Being a librarian is ALWAYS interesting, no matter where you are employed, because you are always learning something. This is another aspect that joins librarians: a thirst for lifelong learning and knowledge. It takes lots of work to keep up with new databases, search engines, media, and techniques. Our passion to keep learning makes it easier for our patrons, as we teach them at their level. They don’t need to spend all their time getting to know all the different tools: we deliver to them what best suits their needs. To each user his/her book/database/tool!
My journey through librarianship has been one of great intellectual and personal growth. We are a passionate bunch, and we do see our work as a calling. Being an information professional is always interesting, challenging, and rewarding. We are becoming even more adaptable and flexible as our environment rapidly changes. It will be fascinating to see what our profession holds in the next five years!