While it’s no surprise that I view much of my school life (and personal, for that matter), through the lens of a librarian, I don’t want to forget that I am also a library user.
Unfortunately, a library user who feels delinquent in a number of ways. In the interest of keeping positive, here are some areas where I have opportunity for improvement, with specific action items included:
I am the worst overdue offender.
Well, maybe not the worst, but I’m still appallingly lax when it comes to due dates. I find it amusing that one of my responsibilities at school is to be ‘the heavy’ when students (and staff) don’t respond to lovely email reminders about their overdue materials – especially on days when I’m heading to my local public library after work to pay yet another overdue fine.
Action item: Celebrate my on-going support of libraries through revenue generation!
I have been known to borrow a book from my own school library without checking it out.
Is it only me who picks up a book in my school library with such joyful anticipation that it makes it home without being checked out? If I did this in a public library or bookstore, I would be in serious trouble – and beyond the ethical (and legal) issues, there’s the fact that I’m robbing my own library’s circulation statistics of vital data. Yeesh.
Action item: CHECK.THE.BOOK.OUT.SHELAGH.
I pass judgement on what I read.
I am militant about not judging anyone, particularly my students, for what they choose to read. Former YA librarian Patrick Jones often speaks about a too-familiar experience:
“I summon up all my twelve-year-old courage and ask the librarian if the library has any wrestling magazines. That is what I thought I asked; instead I think I asked her to show me what her face would look like if she sucked on lemon for a hundred years. She looked like she was about to stroke out at the mere mention of wrestling magazines in her library. She made me feel stupid, and I never went back.”
Like you, I don’t want anyone to feel that what they choose to read is unworthy of their attention. However, I don’t often extend this sentiment to myself when reading something others might describe as less literary and more beachy. There’s a lot of negative self-talk going on when I pick up something light in lieu of more intellectual tomes.
Action item: Don’t beat myself up for reading a wide variety of books and magazines, and use it as an opportunity to role model. With the exception of the flight back from AISL Denver when I read 50 Shades of Grey: I seemed to have been the only librarian at that conference who hadn’t read it. For research purposes, of course.
I have a very small personal library.
I worry that this one might get me banished from the ranks. How can I call myself a librarian when my personal bookshelf (note the singular) contains mostly childhood favourites (Montgomery, Alcott, Ingalls Wilder, Blume) and books given to me as gifts? I’ve had kids say ‘You must have a whole room full of books at home! ” or “Do you have one of those cool ladders in your own library?” I feel like such a fraud because 99% of my reading material comes from my school and public libraries.
Action item: Recognize that this actually makes me an exemplary library user 🙂