What is a career college library for?
It is so important to stay positive. Really, it is. People have a different perspective of you when you consistently maintain a positive and upbeat attitude. I should know, I do it. I would be willing to bet that the people I interact with the most would tell you first about my enthusiasm and upbeat manner before anything else. But let’s face it, everyone gets a little down right?
Well lately I’ve been feeling a little down. I’ve been quick to get frustrated and it was upsetting to me. I did some thinking. Do you know what question I kept coming back to? “What am I doing??” That is what I kept asking myself over and over again. What am I doing? What is the library doing? And most important of all “why”. Then I looked through my posts and realized and hadn’t really given my $.02 on what the career college library is really there for. I mean what are we really doing and why are we doing it?
I’m sure you have heard the term “over educated”. The concept is pretty simple and basically boils done to more and more people getting college educations and college educations are worth less and less and at the same time we are losing trade occupations in this country. I mean, people don’t go to college to learn to be a plumber but you know what – we need plumbers.
The term comes up a lot in a career college. And lately I’ve been wondering how often the term gets brought up in librarianship. If you ask 7 different people what a library is there for I bet you would get 7 slightly different answers. Some people believe that libraries are there to archive our history. Others believe it is a community service. Others believe that it is advocating for free information and by extension, knowledge. What trips some people up is that a library can be all three, depending on its focus. Not every library mission statement has the same focus and as long as the library is fulfilling its mission then it is successful, right? 🙂
Well – what’s your libraries mission? Do you have one? We do, and a vision statement and it is very lofty. Something along the lines of inspiring knowledge discovery and creating enthusiasm for the learning process. Yeah, very lofty. I realized the other day what I really do – what I really do is answer each individual’s information need at the level they want and expect it to be answered. You know what else I realized, I can try to shove unwanted knowledge down someones throat. And of course when I do that I haven’t really been helpful and actually I’ve just caused harm to that relationship. That person might not come with another question – ever. Sometimes people just want a simple answer and don’t care about my profession’s ideas on reference interviewing.
Here is the best part y’all, if you give ’em what they want you enjoy your job more because you’re not so frustrated about how much people aren’t utilizing you. 🙂 It’s glorious!!! I am not ashamed to say that I skipped to work the day after that realization and my mood is much improved when I remember.
It isn’t my job (and it never ever will be) to tell people what I think they ought to know. It is my job to provide informational services to those that need them at the level they want it.
So what is the career college library for? Well MY library is a place where users can find the information they need which will better their lives, be that an “A” on their next paper or “exploring knowledge” in an area of their field they find interesting. And I am grateful to serve. What is YOUR library for?