Tonight I participated in a Twitter chat thingy about libraries. Interested people submitted questions and librarians/libschool students/interested in library stuff people paid attention to the #libchat hashtag which everyone participating used on their tweets. It was pretty fun. That kind of collocating is what hashtags are all about. The questions were fairly routine as far as library angst/information questions go (“Are people who’re hiring looking for Academic Credit or Library Experience?” or “Does Library School need to be a graduate program?”) but it’s interesting to see what people outside of SLAIS think about these things.
Yesterday I sort of began my library school career with a new grad student orientation dealy. It was for grad students in general, not just us wannabe information professionals, but that was good. It was good because it was this weird parallel universe where success is some sort of attainable goal. A world where people weren’t coming into a dying field with no jobs. A totally imaginary world.
It was neat looking at it from this perspective. This idea that “The success of our grad students is the success of our university!” and “Here’s how to be successful as a grad student” and “Succeed!” is kind of foreign to me. I mean, I wonder how many fellow new librarian students have this idea of success even being possible, and how many are just in it for some sort of job. A job the profession might not have.
So now read this post from the.effing.librarian. It’s about how libraries’ll bounce back, how we aren’t quite a dead profession, but it’s a hard time right now. My favourite bit is below:
The problem with being a librarian is that you can’t really do it yourself. You can’t open a private library down the street as you would if you were a dentist or an accountant. I don’t know any librarian with a business card that reads, “Have Books, Will Travel.”
Or maybe the librarian travels from town to town with a laptop performing Internet searches for people in exchange for a night in the barn and a slice of peach pie. And that’s how we’ll survive, leaving librarian chalk signs for each other about which towns are librarian friendly and which ones google everything and will run you out of town on sight.
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
See, that’s the kind of existence I would love. I want that business card. Or I could just be in some out of the way place, making sure information is available. That’s the kind of success I’m looking for. All this bigger Success talk sounds wrong, or misguided or something. Naive maybe.
I shouldn’t be cynical about my (future) job just yet, right? Getting into Titanic metaphors when I’m just starting school? But this might be the best way for me to find an edge, a fringe, a periphery to do something interesting. Not just a traditional library job. Selah.