Friday, May 06, 2011

Library Self-Assessment

I read this article with great interest earlier today. It was written by one of the Library Science students here at IUPUI. She basically asks the question what do I want to do next? Read the post and you'll see there is more to it than that, but that's the gist.

I agree, when I was going through library school, I too asked myself "what kind of librarian do I want to be?" I bounced back and forth between public and academic. Through some happy accidents, I fell into the world of academic librarianship, for better or worse and found that I do enjoy the academic realm. There are parts of it that I don't like, but on the whole enjoy the atmosphere, mostly.

I find myself, almost four years after graduation (still struggeling to find the full time job) what type of librarian do I want to be. Part of the problem is this: when I was going to school I didn't get much, if any guidance. I went to my "advisor" and he threw a grey sheet of paper at me and said "here, follow this" and I was summarily dismissed. So, I followed that sheet of paper. I held onto it like a life raft. It was my guide.

When I was going to school the internet was really taking off, but my profs were still very much bookbound. I was taught how to use indexes and the like, databases were given a glance and Wikipedia was "of the Debil!"

I knew I wanted to be a reference librarian, so I took the reference classes. I didn't look much at the digital library classes, mainly because I didn't really understand what that meant, I've learned, but I didn't get much into them.

Library Science is exploding. It seems that there are more librarians out there now than ever before, to some degree this might not be an exaggeration. It doesn't help that there are not one, but two library science schools pumping us out in this state alone. This sounds like sour grapes, I'm sure, but its not-- it more frustration...

I keep up with trends via Twitter, you can find me @loofrin, through Facebook, and various other professional orgainzations (American Library Asssociation). Though, I'm honestly not sure what the ALA does, other than stomp its foot and get political from time to time. I'm a member, but grudgingly. I follow a variety of job boards, talk to librarians, and, on occasion, actually sit down and read "professional literature," but to do that I have to be well caffinated.

I learned a lot in library school, don't get me wrong, but I've had to do some scrambling to fill in the gaps and there are many. My self assement is this: I have a lot of work to do to get myself where I need to be.
The next few weeks and months are going to be very interesting and not necessarily in a good way; because of budget cuts my reference position is going to be fazed out. So, I'm a little at a loss as to what I'll be doing, but then there this scary little nugget that has been growing ever so slightly: maybe getting out of the library profession would be best. I've given it my best shot, done what I could and, to a degree have failed. I don't want to leave, but maybe that's the direction I need to go.

That thought saddens me. Truly. I've wanted to be a librarian since I was little, roughly the age of 12.

Maybe I need to take a break. Go back to selling books. Maybe I should do something crazy, like wait tables. I don't know.

I can say this, though, my faith is strong. I know its all going to work out. There is not telling where this may lead. One door is closing. Another will open.