Sunday, March 2, 2008

Thoughts on Being a Young Librarian


(Ho-hum, just an average week)

So it was my birthday this past week, and alongside that brush with mortality was the realization that I'm one of the youngest professional librarians out there:

I'm 27 years old. I had one year between my undergraduate degree and my master's degree. I finished my master's degree in August, 2006, and was working as a professional by January 2007.

In light of my somewhat unique status, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the good and bad of being a young librarian in 2008.

"good"

-Some of the students I serve are closer to being my peers than are my coworkers. I think sometimes the students feel comfortable talking to me because of this. Particularly about computer problems.

-I remember experiencing first hand some of those computer problems they're encountering.

-Diversity in any form is good, right? My youthfulness breaks the ranks.

-I never had to integrate technology into my life, because I grew up with it. Technology is my friend. So much so that I'm sometimes unimpressed by it. I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon in favor of the latest and greatest, but I am going to expect a lot from IT departments.

"bad"

-People think I know everything about computers. Hmmmm.

-I keep being mistaken for a student. Apparently librarians are expected to be old.

-Sometimes I feel like I'm representing youth in general, rather than having an individual opinion or perspective.

-I missed the boat on some traditional library common knowledge. I missed the experience of using books and paper to do everything, and paper processes are the basis for a lot of the electronic library processes.


Now really, I'm not self-conscious about being young all that much -- I'm at work to do a job and to do it professionally, and I think I've been doing OK so far. But maybe this will be interesting to read a few years from now, as more and more younger librarians find jobs in the field.

I'm sure I'll add more ideas as I think of them!

Also, I'll be attending an "unconference" in Syracuse, NY this Tuesday, and I may write about the event sooner than next Sunday.

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