I sometimes feel that people look at me and my laptop and my typa-typa routine and think I don’t have another life outside of computers. This can be the good news — when they need a computer expert, I’m there — but also the bad news because my life is deeper than just computers and libraries. In fact, I’m certain that’s true for all of us.
Just recently I was delighted to read Karen Schneider’s piece that was in Nerve. I heard about it on Twitter, but she also talks about it on her own blog. It’s called Range of Desire and it’s about guns and sex. It’s great. If you like Karen’s bloggish writings you’ll love it when she’s less (or differently) constrained by form and gets to tell a long story. Karen used to be in the Air Force; it’s part of who she is. Similarly the librarian I worked with today is married to a farmer and I saw her carrying around a bag of maple syrup containers. For my own part, I have a sculpture/welding background back before library school, and a huge coin collection in the attic.
One of the things I like so much about meeting other librarians online or elsewhere is a chance to get to see a bunch of other parts of them, not just their “work faces.” I think it helps the whole reference and information exchange if our patrons see us as people first and librarians second, or maybe they just see us as librarians and people at about the same time.
4 thoughts on “The well-rounded librarian”
All the most interesting people I know are librarians, so seeing someone as a librarian first doesn’t seem so bad to me.
Still, I think this is true for almost any profession–people you know in a work-related environment tend to talk shop or banalities about TV and sports and stuff that won’t offend anyone in a corporate environment and there ends up being the perception that that’s what they’re all about.
I went to a private non-work party at a co-worker’s home a few years back. A few other people from around the company were there, and I was simply astonished at how *interesting* they all were. One made short films for the NFB. Another was doing creative, zany things with pottery. They all had these lives and passions outside of work that I’d never known about before.
I do think that librarians are some of the most interesting people around. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that many of us come from other fields/professions before embarking on librarianship, or that librarians have so many interests that the only field that makes sense (to satisfy all those interests) is the library field.
I have a huge coin collection, too!
It’s good to do that with colleagues, too. Starting my new job, we did a “get to know you” exercise in which I discovered that among my coworkers are a woman who biked across the Soviet Union as it collapsed, another who can bench press 250 pounds, another who is a musicologist, and another who had owned an antique shop. And I’m a cartoonist.
It all makes sense for a profession in which over half are on their second or third career.
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