I’m an academic librarian with 25 (yikes) years of experience working in public, special, and academic libraries– if you count my earliest volunteer days at my local public library when I was in junior high. My MLS is 14 years old, but I worked as a paraprofessional for three years prior to and while in library school. Besides my familiarity with every type of library, I’ve worked in almost every position: Director, Reference, Instruction, Interlibrary Loan, Circulation, and Cataloging.
As a newly minted librarian (UNCG,1996) I over-identified with my noble, self-sacrificing, profession and blurred the boundaries between my personal and professional life. My library training interfered with my love of books and reading and prevented me from writing in books or turning down pages corners to mark where I stopped reading a book when I put it down, which was always my M.O. as a young reader, most notably with library books. As a professional, I spent too many hours thinking about librarianship and toiling at my work.
Disenchantment with compensation, boredom from lack of challenges in my everyday workflow, and a general disinterest in library trends triggered the separation between my personal and professional lives about 5 years ago, which I see as far more healthy for me personally. Now being a librarian is sort of just a job, not a calling.
About 4 years ago I rekindled that fire thanks to books like these:
- Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career
- Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm
- Rise of the Creative Class: And How it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
- Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Change
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Around then I decided I wanted to do R & D for a company, any company, but I’m not mobile, which means, basically I’m stuck. I couldn’t parlay my desires into a new career if I wanted to. Nevertheless, Seth Godin turned me onto Penelope Trunk (whose career advice or take on academic libraries I don’t always agree with) and I immersed myself in business trends and how they might be applied to academic libraries. For a while. Until I determined that I was the only person who wanted librarians to create content as a means of remaining relevant to the university. And that as much as we might want to make the library about “experience,” it just isn’t going to happen because we lack the tools– fiscally, technologically, and mentally–to make that transition. I’m thrilled to see that other librarians are spreading the news about the library experience and hope that it takes.
And so I disengaged, once again.
My renewed interest in libraries and librarianship is fueled in part because I am a new mother. Economically, I must remain employed. Professionally, I must become engaged in order to make doughnuts everyday. I want to build relationships with other librarians and discuss trends shaping libraries and their services: Those are this blog’s main purposes.
Do you know Jessamyn? She is my guru. Since 2001 I’ve blogged. Jessamyn West inspired me. But I felt like she had blogging about the library sewn up, so I blogged what I knew. I blogged about books; what I read. Readingroom was self-involved, boring. And essentially, I blogged in a vacuum. I made a few contacts with the blog, but it wasn’t until I joined the crafting blogging community that I really understood what I missed with my sad book blog: comments and relationships with others. Once I had that in my craft blog, beating a dead horse held no appeal.
And so I create content at several blogs. Of late adj.librarian serves as an outlet for the articles I write that Library Journal, American Libraries, and The Chronicle of Higher Education reply aren’t for them. Who knows what the future holds?