Those crazy rock-and-roll librarians

Was just reading the blog by Annoyed Librarian “The Cult of Twopointopia” … wow, that’s one attitude-y chick!  And, yeah, it took me a minute to get that one… 2  … (point) … 0  … pians.  I didn’t realize that ‘Library 2.0’ was some kind of cult or something as AL clearly portrays it.  Now, AL is a clever writer.  I read the whole thing because it was good writing.  Engaging, i mean.  I like pissed-off smart people.  They’re funnier than pissed-off dumb people.  And this one I happen to agree with.  Which, of course, makes me like AL more.  But here’s the thing..

I agree with her because I don’t think ANY one paradigm is the be-all end-all of being a good librarian.  That includes Library 2.0.  (If I even have a handle on THAT.)  I think so many things go into being a good librarian that it is foolish to think that you can make a tidy little descriptive annotation of it and call it a day.  Of course, the irony is that, in principle, I agree with the ‘Twopointopians’ in their assertion that they ‘do it all for the end-user.’

I do believe passionately that the biggest draw for me about this profession (though there are many) is that it is so clearly about helping people.  Helping them find stuff.  Learn stuff.  Do stuff.  Helping them with what they want.  Helping them figure out what they want.  Showing them stuff they might not have even known was there to want.  Opening eyes, and roads, and doors.  It’s rewarding to me.  Fulfilling.  I feel that I am in the service of something that makes a difference to many.

Now… as a practical matter, all of the above has to boil down to a list of job duties, skill sets, and attitude parameters.  I believe that the ideas in Library 2.0 have their place within that scheme.  And the stated impetus BEHIND Library 2.0 definitely does.  But the more that I read these blogs, articles, and other pieces by librarians about the library profession and it’s destiny, the more I get the idea that what it all boils down to gets lost.

I mean, let’s face it.  We do a job.  We get paid.  In that sense, we are similar to your average oil worker.  But what makes us want to be a librarian and not an oil worker?  It’s certainly not the money.  Oil workers are incredibly well-paid.  We, unfortunately, are not.  So, who are we that the job duties …. cataloging, organizing, giving direction and instruction, managing old buildings and young volunteers, raising funds and stamping out fires;  the skill sets …. detail-oriented work, good with figures, large memory capacity, good people skills, excellent writing ability, great organizational skills; and attitude parameters … a passion for reading, helping others, public service, technology, hard work, and great puzzles …. who are we that these things sit right on us? 

Frankly, for most of us, I don’t think that writing judgemental articles and blogs about this theory or that pertaining to librarianship is the reason that we got into this profession.  I think most of us got into it because that’s where our lives and all the experiences, lessons, and influences in it led us.  Which brings me right back ’round to the underlying subject of this blog….

which brings us to my grandmother.. my whole family, really, but my grandmother in particular.  Since I was a little girl, she has been one of the biggest influences in my life.  And hers is a great, compassionate character.  She will leave no road uncrossed to help someone.  Be it her granddaughter (often) or the lady next door or charities, big and small.  She loves to help people.  She is the woman who taught me how to take joy and pride from helping people.  My whole family has this feeling of duty.  It took me some years to find my way back to it, but it was always there.  Those crazy rock-and-roll years took longer than they ought, I’m afraid.


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