Do you know where you’re headed, professionally? Are you starting out in librarianship? A few years onto the path? mid-career? Nearing retirement? Or just wish you could retire?
Admittedly, I’m at a weird spot in my career. I’m embarking into a new direction, scholarly communication, but instead of focusing completely on this new service it was added it to my reference, instruction, and outreach duties, most of which I’d gladly give up in order to concentrate on this one area. And as time passes, it may be that shucking those more traditional services becomes easier.
As such, I haven’t developed a professional development or research plan, and don’t need to at this point, since our ad hoc team meets weekly as we make decisions regarding the naming and branding of our IR. But, this new direction has set me thinking about assessing my research priorities as well as developing other skills. For example, I don’t know XML, so my colleague recommended I turn autodidactic and look through our Safari collection for an eBook on the topic so I’ll be up to speed to help her with those backend functions when that time arrives.
Obviously, reading my way to success is one way of plotting a roadmap to success, or skill attainment. Umair Haque writes that putting what, why, and who you love ahead of what, why, and who you don’t helps your roadmap write itself. What he means by that is simple: injecting meaning into everything we attempt, or finding the meaning, the why in what we do.
When your roadmap is cobbled together haphazardly it leads you down blind alleys, into impassable hedgerows, and deadfalls like the kind you read about in those Stephen King novels (oh it was that one about the dead baby coming back to life Pet Sematary).
Is there meaning in your library practice? Was there ever? What lead you to librarianship? I love books and information, had worked in libraries as a paraprofessional, but mostly understood the power the (public) library had to change people’s lives for the better and I wanted to be a part of that.
Mindful construction of your roadmap will benefit your library practice and set you on the path that is right for you to follow in meeting your vision of librarianship. Haque says you have to own it, live it, eat it, sleep it, even get down in the mud and roll around with your roadmap because–and I’m extrapolating–it will lead you to your best librarian self:
The roadmap you need to follow is deeply, resonantly, profoundly, and irrevocably your own — the one that calls to you in every dreary meeting, every missed birthday, and every misplaced-but-not-quite-forgotten dream. It’s the one that leads you to your better self. It says: “Follow my lead. Let’s go somewhere that matters — not just somewhere that glitters.”