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In a few weeks I it will be one year from my grad school graduation. It means then it tis time to reflect, and after reading Meredith’s blog (The Monkey song) there is no time like the present. Currently, I am working 2 part time jobs and it is an interesting thing working part time. In one job I am technically classified as a clerk even though I work alone most of the time and do many librarian duties. The other job I have a librarian title. Being a part time librarian can be interesting because you are a librarian but you are not faculty. Ergo, you do not have the same requirements as faculty (scholarship, committees, and interaction with faculty members) and are usually there for a purpose. (In my case it is to sit at the reference desk) After reading about new librarian involvement I can say that other part time librarians use their part time status as a reason for not getting involved in the profession. (I don’t have time, library organizations are too expensive, they do not pay me enough.)To be honest part time status can make getting involved a little stickier (not impossible) but stickier. There are questions that arise because of part time status. Am I stepping on someone else’s toes? Am I doing too much? Will this disrupt the hierarchy? Will my ideas be considered because I am not faculty? Will other faculty respond to my ideas? Do I have the time to carry this out? Will I be here long enough to carry it out? Questions and concerns can crush you, but at the end of the day the only question that is important is “Why did I become a librarian?” My answer to that one is that I love students and want to improve their educational experience through the library. Knowing that gives me the ability to go around the obstacles I face and get involved so I can help those students succeed.


Now almost  year out of grad school, I ponder what type of information I need to know to be a good librarian. After reading countless posts in blogs and forums, it seems every person has a different opinion. Some say we should be up to date on the latest technology, other say (if academic) must specialize in a specific area such as history, science or business, yet others say we should think about interactions with patrons, and other say we should keep up with literature. This got me thinking what do we really have to know. Other professions are different, if you are a teacher you have a subject. If you are a doctor then it is medical type knowledge you must know, a trucker mainly knows the rules of the road, a construction worker must know how to make things.  However our business is information which can be the most challenging because it is so ever changing. Don’t get me wrong I love what I do and one of the perks of the job is that it is never the same. (I’m one of those geeks who does the search over after I have helped a patron to see how I could have done it better.)There are some days when I have felt like I have just run a marathon in my mind. Some examples of what I have needed to know so far:

–When a member (Bradley Nowell) of the band Sublime died and how to find articles about him?

–What is the DOW?

–The science of cosmetics

–What happens when arbitration breaks down?

–Which tax forms are best for college students?

–What is the new tax legislation?

–How much are students getting back with economic stimulus plan? Sorry kids, if you are a dependant than nothing

–Who wrote P.S. I love You?

–When do ILLs come in?

–What is wrong with OCLC?

–Who is Jasper Johns?

–How to make a staff wiki?

–How do I fix the pesky printer?

–Recite something by Walt Whitman for me (this one came from a parish priest who was extremely disappointed when I could not 😦

I’m sure my colleagues in the academic and  public libraries could come up with many more things to know too!

On top of all that looking at the research and trying to find ways to serve our main priority, the patrons better. Some days I want to put my head down and take a nap. Part of this I am sure is because I do about 10 hours per day at the reference desk. (I work 2 jobs) The thing that has kept me sane is that I make a ton of lists and take things one thing at a time. (or try to anyway)

Lately I have been using the phrase “I’ll figure it out” Before I was in grad school I was so sure of what type of work I would be doing, but now I am not so sure. If you had told me I would be cataloging, doing circulation, playing around with systems, doing statistics and ILL to boot I would have told you, you were a wild and crazy guy (or gal). Sometimes one of my bosses ( I work two part time jobs) will come up to me and say do you know how to do this? (Make a wiki, do ILL, find out why the computer is making the sound of a wookie) I will say I don’t but I’m sure I can figure it out, and I have (miraculously). It used to drive me crazy when people in grad school would say in tech or cataloging classes that they only have to get through the course and will never use any of the information anyway. To be honest I have used more information out of those classes than I have me reference courses. Sheesh! The other day someone asked me how I am faring in my library career and I told her I was figuring it out.