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!