Last month, in the introductory post to my Library Day In the Life series, I wrote, “The longer I have been at this job, the more I’ve struggled to do connect what I do with what librarians do in general … this is an opportunity for me to lay out what I do and then see where it all fits into the broader profession.”
Since then I went to Computers In Libraries, which came after a particularly intense stretch during which I was focused on one specific aspect of my job. I needed some time to decompress. (Sort of. I mean, I did check my BlackBerry a lot.)
Computers In Libraries gave me a chance to hear from and talk to my peers and learn about what they were doing. I recognized aspects of my job in these presentations and conversations and I could relate to a lot of what I saw.
And it wasn’t just the newfangled stuff (like makerspaces). It was also about the oldfangled stuff (like training). I realized that while I may feel like I am moving into new areas at work, I am still using a lot of my traditional skills. And I am expected to use them.
For better or worse these days, the word librarian means something. I wouldn’t say it’s a dirty word to people outside of the profession, but it is a word that carries some historical weight that some people think of as outdated. Yet those same people still value our ability to train, to research, to bring order out of chaos. They just don’t realize that’s a librarian thing.
And that’s okay. I need to communicate my value, and I think I can do it. Does it mean speaking two different languages, as it were, librarianish and bureaucratish or something like that? Sure, and it’s on me to do the simultaneous translation. I just need to make sure I understand how to translate one into the other.