So, so very true. Especially this one:
I’m sorry to bother you. Goodness, no, you are not bothering us. We are at the desks in public areas so that we can be of help to you. We might be working on a project, but that is just to stay busy until the next patron comes along and needs our help.
We have a sign behind our reference desk that says “Please bother the librarian.” I noticed and loved it when I was here to interview and now I really want to make it bigger or move it closer to where I sit or something because I want to emphasize it even more. Yes, please! Bother me! That’s why I’m sitting out here, after all. :)
There are three main reasons I want to encourage noobrarians not to fall into the trap of trying to Do All the Things. First of all, you’re new! People are thrilled that you can sit at the reference desk unattended without drooling or falling asleep and that you know where to send people when they need to fax something. For the first few months, the very best thing you can be doing for your library is learn how to do your job really well. Don’t try to give yourself extra work. Once you’ve learned how to do what’s actually assigned to you, then you can branch out. You can be a tremendous librarian without putting so much stress on yourself. You don’t have to be a rockstar. A much better use of your energy is trying to be the kind of librarian you’d want to work with. Put your energy into that, my friends. And try to be the kind of librarian your patrons want. Maybe that means working on your business reference skills instead of getting on an ALA committee before your 30th birthday [Editor’s note: or even before your 40th]. So be it!
I love this post so very much. As a n00brarian for the second time over (I just started my academic library job in January), I have been trying very hard to remember that right now, the best investment of my time and energy is just in Figuring Out What I’m Supposed To Be Doing. It takes time to learn the job and the workplace culture, *especially* in environments like academia and government.
And remember, “just” doing your job is almost always more than enough to make you seem awesome to your patrons and your coworkers.
Fortunately, librarians are the original oversharers, and they’ve produced a body of literature—from blogs posts to articles to books—to help you with your decision. This is especially useful since librarians come in different stripes—public, academic, school, special—with some significant differences among them. Librarians also conduct a lot of their professional lives online, so blogs, Twitter, and e-mail lists are all great places to soak up information.
I don’t know about “original oversharers”… seems like we may have picked that up from our patrons’ tendency to ramble on about things sometimes. ;-)
But it’s definitely true that there is more and more focus on people, even as we also dabble in all things technological.
What this tool can do for you:
- Help you better understand how to determine the “fairness” of a use under the U.S. Copyright Code.
- Collect, organize & archive the information you might need to support a fair use evaluation.
- Provide you with a time-stamped, PDF document for your records [example], which could prove valuable, should you ever be asked by a copyright holder to provide your fair use evaluation and the data you used to support it. [why is this important?]
- Provide access to educational materials, external copyright resources, and contact information for copyright help at local & national levels.
Looks nifty! I don’t have a reason to use it now, but it’s a great tool to remember.
The host site, Copyright Advisory Network from the ALA Office of Information Technology Policy has more great tools and information about copyright and the use of copyrighted material.
Jumping on the bandwagon… this is me on my 18th birthday (in 2001).
If they’d been asked to find something written or painted or built during the middle ages, then find out whatever they needed in order to understand the thing they were examining and its context, and then to explain their observations in writing, I suspect they wouldn’t have been so spooked. It would still have a challenging writing assignment for new college students who don’t know much about the medieval world, but they would have gamely done their best, and they probably would have even enjoyed themselves. What surprised me was the deer-in-the-headlights stare, their anxious uncertainty about what, exactly, counted as a primary source, their inability to leaf through the anthologies of primary sources they had available to them and pick one to play with, the agonizing problem of committing to a particular direction for their paper.
In connection with my upcoming change in positions, I’m asking for recommendations for new blogs to follow about academic libraries and/or library instruction. I already follow a few, but only a few since my current job isn’t related to either of those things.
I acknowledge that I have been semi-absent from Tumblr and Twitter of late, for a very big and exciting reason: I’m starting a new job in January!
Long story short, my current position in Maryland is on a contract that was ending in September, then was extended until March. My job search frequently felt frustrating, but patience and persistence pay off: I have been hired as a reference (and instruction) librarian at a Christian liberal arts college in the Chicago area. My last day at my current position is Dec. 21st; my first day at my new position is Jan. 7th.
I’m super excited about this opportunity, but I’m still working out the logistics of moving 700+ miles over the holidays. Thus I’ve fallen somewhat behind on my usual reading that supplies the material for this account. For now, my focus is on packing, finishing my current work, and transitioning to the new position, so updates will continue to be irregular.
I hope to resume more regular updates around mid-January. I don’t expect the content of my Tumblr to change too much, though there will probably be more material oriented toward academic libraries and library instruction as I learn more about this aspect of reference work. :)
Let’s face it: Google is an academic resource. We all use it – students, researchers, and yes, even us librarians. I unashamedly include “Google literacy” in my library instruction – teaching students how to be better Googlers, how to link to the library from Google Scholar, and how to evaluate the sources they find on Google.How good a Googler are you? Did you know that you can use Google to…
Every librarian has a fandom they will talk about endlessly to coworkers or patrons. It is general practice not to allow two librarians with the same fandom to work in the same library, as they will not get any work done.
[originally submitted by wanderingaroundaimlessly]
LOL. There is logic to that. ;-)
(And some of us have more than one fandom!)
To say that “librarians are the original search engine” is to concede that search engines do what librarians do, which would be another way of saying that there is no reason to talk to a reference librarian if you can just Google it.
If you want a slogan for a coffee mug, I would prefer to see one with an SAT-style analogy, like, “Librarians are to search engines as astronomers are to telescopes.” People who don’t know much about astronomy can get some use from a telescope, but we understand that with an astronomer’s knowledge it can become much more powerful as a tool for discovery. We would not say, “Astronomers: The original telescope,” and we wouldn’t think for a second that that a slogan like that would be flattering to astronomers or supportive of the astronomy profession.