Alchemical Thoughts

I just want to be a good librarian, is that really so hard?

Posted on: February 26, 2010

This is the start of what might or not be a more developed essay for my professional blog. Just some thoughts:

I am getting a little sick and tired of the silly and cutesy videos and promotions that the more perky brethren in my profession seem to equate with being a good librarian and being a good promoter of the library. Now, it is not that I do not want to promote the library and its services. I work as an Outreach Librarian after all, which means it is my job to promote the library to the academic campus as well as the rest of the community at large. I make use of online resources and tools when I can, but I don't think I should have to stoop myself to the low level of using silliness to make my point. To be honest, I just don't see any other professionals such as doctors and lawyers doing similar things. Ok, I will grant you, there are some injury law attorneys that get fairly close, but they still remain professional. I just think every time one of those perky librarians who think Web 2.0 can do no wrong come up with one of these ideas they do more to embarrass the rest of us who actually work in the trenches than whatever good they think they are doing. I already have enough of a hard time getting support from some parts of my administration without having to worry one of them will see something like that "digital native" kid video (see link below) and think that is the kind of work I do. I am a professional. I am an academic librarian, and I would like to be taken seriously when it comes to my work. This has been in my mind for a while now, but I am not sure what to say, or rather how to say it. Unfortunately, some of my professional brethren do not take well to disagreement. Saying what I am saying is the kind of thing that will get me the label of "he just doesn't get it," or "he just lacks a sense of humor" (really, have you seen my personal blog, my Facebook page? I think my sense of humor is fine, thank you), or "well, he is a bad librarian who does not really care about his patrons" (yes, I have heard that one too, which irks the living daylights out of me). At the end of the day, I want to do my job. I want to do it well and to the best of my abilities. Is that really so difficult?

Here are some of the items I have recently seen out there that have made me ponder these things:

I worry that expressing questions about this, let alone being skeptical, is probably going to bite me sooner or later. I can hear it now, "ooh, he does not like the little girl. He must be some sourpuss reactionary" or worse. Personally, Abbey is like one of those kids hanging out with Fred Phelp's cult where the parents make them hold a sign, and the poor kid has no idea what they are promoting. If they would have gotten a teenager to illustrate a digital native, then they might have gotten a little more credibility in my eyes. In the end, this fuss is not going to go away any time soon. In practical terms for me, I will just do what I do: keep up, do my work, and serve my patrons. I can let someone else be cute. What saddens me is that expressing an opinion could easily get me alienated in some circles. It's not why I became a librarian given that, as a librarian and educator, I am a fierce advocate of freedom of expression.
 
 

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