Monday Morning Gut Check for Librarians

Photo by Buffy Hamilton

I’ll be blogging more about The Atlas of New Librarianship, a landmark book,  later in the week, but if you have felt discouraged as of late about the state of librarianship in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, whatever your library enviornment may be, then this post is for you as well as for me. Sometimes I become so frustrated, so angered, so saddened by events and circumstances that defy logic and feel out of my control that I can’t help but cry and vent before dusting myself off and getting back on my feet again to try and take on these challenges more thoughtfully and intelligently.  While I do not know what lies ahead, I do know these words reflect my mission and my focus to keep pushing what my best can be as long as I am a librarian because I know what we do matters—we make a difference to someone, one person at a time.

Why You Cannot Give Up

“This atlas is written for you. It seeks to bolster the defiant who stand bravely before the crushing weight of the status quo and seeks to give hope to those silenced by the chorus of the medicore and resistant to change...It is not about cataloging, or books, or building, or committees–it is about learning, knowledge, and social action...We must be brave and and stand up to the inertia of colleagues unwilling to change and an antiquated stereotype of librarians within our communities” (Lankes, p. 1).

Keep Your Eyes Focused On The Mission of Improving Society Through Faciliating Knowledge Creation in Your Community

“The fundamental shift is from things to human knowledge.  It changes the focus of the work of librarians from artifacts and the products of learning (like books, web pages, and DVDs) to the learning process.  Rather than being concerned with some externalized concept such as information (or, worse, “recorded knowledge”), it (Conversation Theory) places the focus of librarianship squarely on behavior and the effects of services on the individual.  In essence, the value of a book, or librarian for that matter, is evaluated again the need of the library members’ ability to learn (Lankes, p. 23).

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling decidedly defiant today.  Keep your focus on how you are enabling, igniting, inviting, and sustaining conversations for learning with the members of your learning community, not things.  Courage and onward, friends.

4 thoughts on “Monday Morning Gut Check for Librarians

  1. This was great to read this morning.
    I had a conversation with a co-worker over the weekend, and have had a similar one with others in the past, about the precarious state of my intended field of work (school librarianship) and wasn’t I worried about budget cuts, etc…
    I am worried about it, yes, but I must pursue it, because I am a librarian – just not officially yet :-)
    So, thank you for the call for confidence and moving forward.

  2. Spot on, Buffy. Standing tall getting ready for my six classes of different grades today. Still standing as I move to the middle school tomorrow with a whole new set of students. I am the yo-yo learning queen.

  3. :) It’s not a just a gut check. The book is a reminder of where we’re going and that our future is bright and limitless — if we stop and question everything, and reconsider what the library really is and what our true mission is, which is what you highlighted above: “It is not about cataloging, or books, or building, or committees–it is about learning, knowledge, and social action”. Now are cataloging, books, buildings, and committees still important? Yes, they are, but they aren’t the end all to end all.

    Looking forward to working through this book with so many colleagues for the first time. Anyone who hasn’t heard of this book, get your hands on a copy of one — it will be well worth your time!

    [And glad you've been inspired to be defiant once again ;)]

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