Kudos conundrum

At our 2021 (virtual) Speech Day last week, our head prefects were very kind to mention me in their graduating address:

“Mrs Straughan can find any book on the library shelves and is the only person who can fix the library printer”.

Sigh. So kind but so concerning.

My initial reaction was a feeling of appreciation followed quickly by a melodramatic “I’m SO glad I went to grad school to have this kind of impact on the upcoming generation!” with eyeroll accompaniment. All to myself of course.

However, like you, much of my time is spend fostering effective search skills, guiding through citation, recommending great books, sourcing elusive information – why didn’t they mention any of that?

But what if I looked at it differently? What if I applied a Seth-Godin-like perspective?

“Mrs Straughan can find any book on the library shelves” may mean that DDC remains a mysterious code for my students.  So, do I do a better job at de-coding OR do I finally get over my lack of confidence about  “bookstoreifying” our collection? Keeping DDC for retrieval purposes while re-organizing in a way that makes sense to students, with MUCH better signage?

“…and is the only person who can fix the library printer” may mean that as much as I value my education and champion my professional expertise, sometimes what matters to a frantic student is that I am able to do a small technical task quickly at a time when it really matters to them. Hopefully with a reassuring smile on my face.

Let 21-22 find me immersed in a reorganization plan with more patience for that darn printer and less inclination for eye-rolling.

3 thoughts on “Kudos conundrum

  1. I like your strategies for parsing out the educational applications in the compliments and your attention to developing new techniques to organize and teach the organization of the library.

  2. Chances are, that because of you, those students will visit the library – and the librarians – at the college they attend next year. And although they may need help finding a book or using the printer, they will also know whom to turn to for help with their research, if needed. That is priceless and not so easily articulated. Good work:)

  3. You know you’ve reached “mom status” in your students’ eyes when you get these types of comments. Most folks are really unclear why our profession requires a Masters, but students take for granted the fact that we’re like a multi-purpose tool. What they’ll really remember the most though, is how you made them feel cared for. And I agree with Stan, they will carry your lessons forward.

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