Misconceptions of Librarians

Recently I came across a coffee mug while cleaning off my new desk. On the front it had this quote:

“They (librarians) are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them.” — Michael Moore

While not all of us are plotting a revolution, I will say that librarians do a whole lot more than what many people think we do. In my short time at the school, I have learned that many people believe all a librarian does with their day is read books. This could not be more far from the truth.

Librarians are professionals who help people find information, and this role is not taken lightly. While in larger libraries we could break this role down into smaller more specialized roles, many librarians take on the task of, if not all, then the majority of them. (For more insight into some of these roles, check out this blog post by The Singing Librarian.)

As the only librarian in the high school, I have to wear many of these hats. I catalogue, shelve, order, and inventory books; maintain and manage my library; straighten shelves; research topics to assist faculty or students with projects; read and recommend books; stay up to date on new YA books that may interest my students; and teach classes. I do all of this while also staying on top of my grad school assignments and projects.

I know I don’t have nearly as much to do in my library as some of the much larger schools (we are a small rural school with ~650 students K-12), but I can say that I reserve reading books from my collection as a personal reward. When I have completed everything I have set out to do for the day, I will allow myself to read (though this is no longer than an hour).

With so much to do on a daily basis I don’t have time to just sit around and read, and I’m sure many other librarians feel the same way.

To all the administrators wondering what a librarian does all day:

Librarians are, usually, generally helpful people. We will help out students, faculty, and community members when asked, or take on extra duties to assist you. We work tirelessly to make sure our libraries are running smoothly and look nice. We stay up to date on all the new books being released and new technologies, as well as keeping our system up to date. We know how to run the machines in our libraries, whether they be 3D printers, desktop computers, virtual reality software, or any number of other tools. If we don’t know the answer, we know where to find it. And we are always looking for new ways to improve the library or ourselves through Professional Development. Please don’t assume reading is “all we do”.

And to all my librarians from my school years, as well as my librarian friends and coworkers:

Keep fighting the good fight. You make more of an impact in students’ lives than you realize.

#ReadOn 🙂

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