Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why do librarians want to help?

I was recently interviewed by my local newspaper (The Marion Star) for a feature they call "My Story." Ordinary folks in the community are interviewed and highlighted. I was delighted that they asked me and I tried my best to answer thoughtfully and honestly the many questions asked. The reporter, as he listened to me talk (and talk and talk), wondered aloud how I got such a desire to help people. You know, I'm not really sure; my parents were middle-class hard working folks, who didn't have a lot of time or money to spare. Both tried to be involved in school activities and be proud parents. I have worked in libraries since I was in 6th grade; I learned lots of things along the way. I discovered that when I was able to find a book that was shelved wrong (to fill a request), or help another student find a resource (that they couldn't find on their own), I always felt good. I was fortunate to work with lots of folks at different points in their careers and each contributed some sort of influence upon my thinking and how I viewed working in a library.

I always loved processing books; something about those brand new books looking so neat and pristine made me feel proud. I also learned that by processing those books, I was able to remember and offer suggestions to students who were looking for info.

As I continue in my career, I find that my job perspective spills over to everyday life; I love helping out in concessions for our local sporting events. It might be silly, but knowing that I can provide what they need as fast as possible is fun. I know it helps the folks who must coordinate and manage the concessions to have a worker who is reliable and able to handle the job. I think of all the ways librarians serve: the public, the campus, on committees and boards, fundraising and activities, etc. Sometimes we lead, sometimes we support.

In order to be a good leader, sometimes its best to be a better supporter and help others achieve. That's why librarians are good at what they do. We understand what's needed at different times - but in the long run, we have still helped those around us who needed it.

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