Not too long ago, a library student asked me about my job. I am closing in on my 20th year of library service and both Holly and I have done tasks along the entire library spectrum, from shelving to hiring and firing. For a long time, I thought it was personality or training that made one successful in library service. Of course this is true to a certain extent, but I really think the test of staying power is the ability to roll with the changes and absurdity of this career.
Library school students: regardless of your fabulous portfolio, your success in library work will be more about your ability to manage that illusive “other duties as assigned” part of any job. Both Holly and I are here to tell you that whenever you think you have actually heard it all or seen it all, you will most likely be facing something wholly unbelievable before the day is out. At the same time, your job will require you to answer the same questions over and over, and you have to make it look like it isn’t making you crazy. Holly and I have helpfully compiled a list of those duties that just don’t quite make it into those job descriptions. I do not think our list is even that unusual for public librarians as I have heard similar tales from my professional cohorts. So newbies, as you contemplate your future career goals, consider the following “extra” duties in library jobs. For you library veterans, make sure you include these skills on your next performance review or resume.
Please share your own special “other duties as assigned” in the comments.
Peace, Love, and Stable Library Funding in 2018,
PS. Stay tuned for our Best of 2017 list coming soon!
ALB Celebrates National Library Week 2017 with some library themed choices.
Opportunities for Minorities in Librarianship
Josey and Peeples
Submitter: It always exciting to see librarian career guides at my local public library. I am always talking up our career to people who would make great librarians. So it’s good to have books that better help people understand what we do. Sadly, this is not one of them. All this represents is why it’s important to weed your career section. I am attaching the punch card I found in the back of the book. Those were all removed in the 1990’s, so it’s pretty cool to see. Who remembers those!?
Holly: Fantastic book for the 70s, and worth updating if possible to reflect diversity in librarianship. This belongs in a library that collects on the history of librarianship. It cites the 1970 census, for goodness’ sake. That was FOUR censuses ago!
Submitter: This book was at the small urban library in the next town over. From their careers section I bring you this time traveler So You Want to Be A Librarian. My colleagues and I got a chuckle at some of the advice given to future librarians. Not sure why they were holding on to this one for so long.
Holly: This book is so ridiculous that it hurts my feelings. I mean, someone was either really lazy about weeding to have left this relic on the shelf or really needs to read a more current book on librarianship so they know how to do their job. If it is meant for a historical collection, then put it in one.
More Librarian Career Guides: