4-panel Comic worksheet

knowing my niche

I can get a little lost in my job here, working with Koha, troubleshooting code, trying to make things work for our clients, doing training courses and the like. Not that I can’t do it. A lot of my job consists of being the filter to handle everything I can so Edmund isn’t getting swamped by little things, but clients are demanding and I’m hitting my limits every day.

So it’s awesome when I get to do reader advisory work, even if it’s on a volunteer basis.

The other day I got a stack of Marvel comics from the library and spent a good chunk of the afternoon reading them in one of our house’s common spaces. This didn’t go unnoticed. A couple of days later, Javier’s brother, Luis, asked about them, was amazed that the library had comics, and asked if he could borrow one or two. I got to talk up my favourites and recommend Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk and generally be a bit geeky.

Today on Google+ one of my library school friends asked about Warren Ellis’ Freakangels, and then about what I would consider more mind-blowing than that, so I got to talk comics again.

Those kinds of interactions are my favourite part about being a librarian. I love telling people about stuff that’s awesome. In our class right now we’re talking about participation in social media and what the limits are or should be for information professionals. And I tend to think there shouldn’t be limits. Like we should be actual people recommending things we think will be useful. The difference isn’t that we’re professionals, it’s that we’re just a bit better steeped in this stuff.

When I was done telling Luis about why Ultimate Human was a good read but he should read Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk first, Holly looked up from her book and addressed him: “You just made Justin very happy.” Which was true. And it’s not the same kind of happy I get when figuring out a knotty system preferences problem.

I should really do my best to find a job in comics librarianship when this degree is done.

3 thoughts on “knowing my niche

  1. Earlier this year, my roommate needed something to read and asked for a recommendation from my comic collection, which conspicuously sits out in the living room. I started asking him what sort of comics he liked and stuff, then suddenly realized I was in the middle of a reader’s advisory interview! This was while I was knee-deep in the Reader’s Advisory class too, so I briefly felt like I knew what I was talking about. I got him started on Gotham Central and Bone. He absolutely loved Bone, so next I got him into Fables. He couldn’t believe this whole time we’d been roommates he hadn’t been taking advantage of my services/collection. In fact, he was so impressed, he started telling our friends they needed to get me to recommend books for them. It was deeply satisfying.

  2. I think most of my (non-library-school) friends are aware that I’m a not-terrible resource for book recommendations, though for them part of it comes from having years of shared history. And we have a real comics specialist in our friend-group who I defer to in graphic matters.

    Strangely enough it doesn’t work with my mom, even though I know what she likes. I can’t think of a single book I’ve recommended for her in probably ten years that she actually finished. I ended up not even getting her a copy of Machine of Death since I figured she wouldn’t read even my one story.

    (And yet she complains when I don’t blog.)

    • Hey, recommend a good novel, not sci fi, and ancient Russian and I would read. Obviously I would read anything written by you.

      Don’t make me look like a terrible Mom for all to see!!

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