Finding what you are passionate about…
August 27, 2012
I love the quote above by Julia Child. My passion is not just libraries (and their importance), but helping people. Helping people to find the truth that they seek. Sometimes it is just the first step in their journey–they aren’t sure how to find an article, or a book, or use a database. Sometimes they have been researching a long time and want to find more, and don’t know which is the next step to take. Sometimes they are apologetic, or nice, or annoyed, or even belligerent. But, I find that if you are passionate about your job, you enjoy the seeking, and the journey. You kind of make their journey your own, at least for that little bit of time.
Your patrons know when you are passionate about helping them. They know if you are really not interested, but are just doing your job with the least amount of effort. If you think about it, you see it everyday. When you go to a restaurant, and your server acts like you are barely visible. When you check out your groceries and never make eye contact. When you come to a help desk, and the person gives a stock answer and then, when they cannot help, simply leaves you to figure out another way. As librarians, we try to find as much of answer as possible, even if it is a referral to another, more knowledgable source.
By always trying to come from a place in myself of generosity, compassion, empathy, interest, and understanding, I try to convey to my patrons that I do care about their search for their answer or truth. I try not to make any judgments about their topics–whether it is hard research, or just a printing issue, or posting something to Facebook, I try to be helpful and know that the question is important to them and should be treated with respect.
Because I am passionate about being a librarian and love my job, not only is my life happier, but I hope that some of that rubs off onto my patrons. Sometimes just having someone treat you with respect that day makes all the difference to them.
Staying current and interested in my profession keeps it fresh and keeps me (an almost 18 year librarian veteran) up on the trends and a bit more in touch with the “youngsters!” Being a librarian, you really can never get bored for any length of time (if you are doing it right!)
Julia, as usual, had it right: finding your passion, and staying interested in it, is one of the keys to happiness. And, you may be someone else’s key as well, just by helping them find their truth.