I am a librarian

With Library Week next week and a few other things happening, I have been thinking about my profession, what led me to come to this place and how what I do fits with who I am.

I am a librarian.  I recommend you check out Librarian Idol’s recent post The Great I AM….. Andrew manages to express succintly how I feel about that. (thanks Andrew)

I decided that I wanted to be  librarian in Grade 6.  We had a great librarian at my school, who made the library fun and got me interested in more than reading, which I was already more than interested in.

Going through high school I think my teachers thought it unusual for anyone to be so dedicated to knowing what they wanted to do. They encouraged me to consider other options, one assessment required me to investigate another – my choice?  Marine Biologist.  How further apart can you get.

I never doubted that a librarian was what I was going to be. I was accepted into the course of my choice on first offers and was happy doing it.  All confirmed what I had decided when I was 11.  I was happiest with reference related subjects and that has held up for the 23 years since I graduated.

I am a born reference librarian.  Anyone asks a question and I have to answer it, even if its a retrospective one. If there is a problem that needs to be solved that interests me, I need to find a solution. As a librarian, there have been a lot of such problems.    🙂

If you’re on Facebook, I recommend you try out their What kind of librarian are you application.  Of course it came out with me being a reference librarian. I seem to know myself reasonably well by now.

What it said about me was: ” Reference Librarian” – You are a human search engine who always wins Trivial Pursuit. Logical, direct and clever, you’ll spend days tracking down bits of information, even though the patron who requested it has long since moved on. If you can stop beginning all of your sentences with “Well, actually” or “I’ve always found that…”, your co-workers will start talking to you again. Primary sources and well-structured databases make you quiver with excitement, and you probably stand the best chance of surviving Armageddon due to the breadth of knowledge tucked away among your little gray cells.”  For those of you who know me – stop laughing!

Well its not entirely true, I’ve moved on from pure information seeking for patron’s sakes (but still an entirely consuming personal passion, lol), onto the joy that the internet and bringing it to and using it for the benefit of our users.

Stepping back in time once again. (cue up music and shimmering screen as we go back – picture is in colour though, I’m not THAT old).  In year 10 I did my work experience at a public library and didn’t think much of it. Not that it put me off being a librarian – I knew it could be better. However, it had me thinking that when I qualified, that I would work in a school or special library, because it would give me the variety I wanted. As such, I did my course placements in a school library and a special library.  I enjoyed both those experiences and it seemed to confirm my chosen direction.

However, it was not to be.  Whatever you believe in, God, fate, coincidence and my own fickle mind took me to where I never expected to go.  I started applying for jobs towards the end of my final semester at Uni. One such job, was in a public library. I ignored it the first week I saw it, but when I saw it again the following week, for reasons unknown even to me after all this time,  I applied.  Was delighted to get an interview and awestruck when I got the job. Even moreso when reviewing my application letter later and saw the amount of typing errors still in the letter, even after the liberal use of correction fluid. (PCs weren’t around at that point – it was the good old portable typewriter).

When I first started work, there was an Apple IIc and an Apple IIe computer available for staff use only.  I had never seen anything other than mainframes and dumb terminals, so they were totally new to me.  But being a curious person (good librarian trait) and not scared to play (another good trait), I started learning and within 6 months, was the person everyone came to for help with them.

How things have changed since that day nearly 24 years ago.

So on reflection, what about me personally, has helped make me a good librarian. I’ve mentioned some of those things already, but here they are in list form:

  • curiousity
  • desire to learn
  • problem-solver
  • information seeker
  • question answerer
  • like to make people happy (sometimes not such a good thing)
  • not afraid of new things
  • like to experiment
  • like to share what I learn
  • persistent and determined

And many more.  They have all helped me to do a good job over the years and have helped me to be an ever improving librarian who loves what she does.

So what’s your story?  What about you makes you a good librarian? Although Library Week is usually about promoting libraries to our communities, lets celebrate Library Week for ourselves as well by reaffirming our librarian-ness and being proud to say I am a librarian.