In a class I taught some years ago I made a mistake. I misspoke. I said something entirely erroneous. Someone in the class spoke up and noted my blunder. I replied, “Thank you! My bad – I should have said blank and not blunk. Thank you so much for correcting me!”**
In the course evaluations, one of the class took me to task for this action. Was the person upset that I was wrong? No! The person was upset because I admitted it and, horrors, admitted it using slang! “Never,” I was admonished on the anonymous form, “Never admit you were wrong and do not use slang as both actions show you to be an idiot.”
Oh. My bad.
**I dislike being wrong but I really despise the wrong information being given out. Correct information trumps any embarrassment. Always.
Some time back I posted about being a librarian. These last few weeks I again had such incredible experiences I had to share.
So. I’m on a flight. It is a fairly empty flight. I am enjoying have an entire row to myself. The flight attendant came by and saw my totally awesome Don’t make me use my librarian voice t-shirt. She asked, excited, “are you a librarian?” Why yes, yes I am. She eagerly told me what she was reading then was called away. Soon she was back. She brought me a book review she had carefully cut from the paper (straight cut and including the date/section stamp). I thanked her and we talked about it for a bit then she left. Soon she was back with another review. Then another. Then again. I did not know there were that many reviews in newspapers nowadays. It was totally sweet and unexpected.
Working for a vendor, I never expected “non-library folk” to know my company. However, when checking into a hotel recently the desk clerk saw my company name and exclaimed “I love [company name]! I used them all the time when I was in college!” That same day, at a restaurant, the server taking my credit card saw my company name and said “OMG! I know this! I use [database] in graduate school all the time!” Awesome.
Finally, I’m at a local grocery store. I get the feeling someone is staring at me. I am not dressed to succeed but to shop…but I don’t look that bad and I did manage to shower. I discretely look about to find a woman near the stacks of apples staring at me. I smile at her. She grins then comes over to say hello. Turns out I was “her” librarian. She was one of the dental students I’d helped with research years ago. She told me she still used the skills I taught her to research and keep up with her profession. I walked on clouds the rest of the day.
These are the reasons I am in love with my profession.
A librarian is a jack of all trades and master of all too. Well, master of knowledge of all trades. Well, master of where to find information on all trades.
I learned something vital during the holidays this year. If you are with your very extended family and you really want some quiet alone time…answer the questions. All the questions. When an exasperated relative shouts “That was rhetorical!” Explain what rhetorical means. If possible, pull out supporting evidence with your iTablet/nettop/kindle-nook/smart phone or the old standby, a physical book. Bonus points if you come back to the Questioner several hours later with documentation.
Truly, I have the most patient extended family in history.
Librarians are my heroes. And apparently they are Jason Neulander’s heroes too. Last night I went out (on a work night!) and saw The Intergalactic Nemesis. Please, check the tour schedule to find the play nearest you (then the title of this post will make total sense).
This is a BRILLIANT show (and I am not just saying this because the hero is, indeed, a librarian). Intergalactic Nemesis is a comic book come to life. Perhaps it is just me but the librarian sells it. Seriously. I love the girl reporter and how SHE is the one with the sidekick. I even dig that the sidekick turns out to be…well, see the play! But. A librarian. Who happened to be in the right place at the right time because of a library conference (bonus points for noting it is the LBJ Library in the comic book image). So many in-jokes in this show…so many.
Three extremely talented actors voice all the characters – all right before you on the stage. I cannot think how Danu Uribe, David Higgins, or Christopher Lee Gibson possibly remember all their lines plus assorted accents. At some points Danu switches back and forth, practically in one breath, voicing two very different characters. Wait – so do David and Christopher! Inconceivable…but they do, right before your eyes.
A Foley artist brings the sounds to life (a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese becomes the incredibly realistic sound of a train in the hands of Buzz Moran). You can see him shaking the box but you are hearing a train. Amazing! What would a radio drama be without the requisite piano and organ music? Nothing. Luckily the very talented Kenneth Redding, Jr. accompanies the action on the keyboards, wrapping you in old-timey atmosphere. The plot too is right out of radio drama but with a slight twist, need I say it again? LIBRARIAN!
Behind the actors, Foley artist, and keyboardist is a large movie screen. As the actors bring the characters to life using just their voices, scenes from the comic book are projected behind them. Way better than having my older sister read me the Sunday comics when I was just a wee child (or last week, whatever – she likes to do it. She does!).
Why are you still reading this? Go get a ticket to the show nearest you, and/or get the recording! Buy the books too! And why not add a t-shirt? And no, I get nothing from you doing so – other than the pleasure of knowing I have made you happier than ever.
When people discover you are a Librarian, they often react with shock and awe. Then quickly assure you they too like to read.
Of late, I have been in a few new social situations. OK, the social situation is not new (I am, contrary to the cataloger stereotype, quite outgoing) but the people were new-to-me.
At a concert, I was dancing along to a mighty fine tune. A new friend turned to a stranger and pointed to me saying “She’s a librarian!” Both then looked at me with shock and awe.
At a wine tasting, I was asked what I did for a living. I stated librarian (quite proudly of course). The gentleman did a double take then said “Oh I love reading!”. We had quite a nice discussion about ebooks versus print. He even whipped out his library card to show me, stating “I always carry this with me”.
On a plane, the young lady sitting next to me asked what I did. I stated “Librarian”. “Oh!” she exclaimed, “I love libraries!” She explained as a college student she really appreciates going to the library and all the resources available for everyone (said she in awe).
I love this. I love that family/friends often call me to settle bets over trivia questions (“Carol, what’s that plastic thingie on the end of the shoe lace called?” “That would be an aglet.”). I love that every day I get to help someone and in doing so, I get to learn something new or see a new point of view.
I became a librarian because I love learning. I love sharing knowledge. I saw Desk Set at an impressionable age and thought “that’s for me!”
Meeting new people and having their reaction of “WOW” to learning your profession helps me keep going when the struggle becomes burdensome. When I read the news stories of libraries closing, budgets being slashed to nothingness, and when I hear other disparaging remarks. We are a profession of service. We are a profession of organizers of knowledge. We are a profession of understated wonder. We will survive and we will evolve and we will carry on.
Here’s more that found joy & struggle in our profession: JoeyAnne’s What’s in a name and The Cataloguing Librarian’s Second career, and the great Life Stories of Librarians Oral History Project. What’s your story?
Have you seen this “A Librarian Takes on Google Books“*? It is just brilliant on so many levels:
- librarians not just recognizing the need but taking action
- non-librarians seeing the worth of the project
- purchasing and utilizing appropriate technology
- quality AND quantity being considered and acted upon
Best of all? This near the end of the blog entry:
The librarian believes he has found a new cause for his profession, to give a secure home to digitized texts produced with the highest quality standards and available freely to all. “These are huge benefits,” he says, “and should be fought for by all of those who care about unimpeded public access to knowledge.”
I think Andrew Green is my new hero (then again, I haven’t yet seen what he is doing about metadata).
*Please note, the idea of the Google Book project is lovely. Let’s get everything so everyone can access it. The issues involved in such an endeavor are incredibly complex (from copyright to access to cost to quality and beyond). I admire the ideal but am not enamored with the reality. For your edification, Library Journal has published a list of links regarding the topic. You can also just search for tons of for/against articles, blogs, etc.