Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why It is Important to Be a Librarian

I don't mind telling you I am proud to be a librarian.  It is not so much because of the time and money I have invested in my career, and certainly not about the paychecks I bring home as it is the satisfaction of knowing that I could help someone.  Sure, there are lots of ways I could help someone.  At the risk of perpetuating stereotypes, we librarians mostly do our good deeds in quiet.  You don't even know what we do.  But you would definitely know if we were no longer around.

Librarians organize knowledge

With the plethora of choices available to us today, it is the librarians who make sense of it all.  We index, we study and we know what choices are best for you, based on your needs.  We know that you don't want to Google "George Washington" for your kid's fifth grade report, because you will get 10,000-plus hits about everything containing George and Washington, but not necessarily George Washington.  We know how to help you evaluate the information you do find to see if it fits your needs.

We create value-added guides to information and help you find the data you need quickly.  We know where information is stored, because we stored it.

We protect intellectual freedom

No matter how much of an ass we think you are, or how outrageously ridiculously we might think you are, we will defend your right to your opinion to our death.  This does not mean we will put 12 copies of your manifesto in our collection;  it simply means that you have a right to publish, research, read and create whatever you need.  Our job is not to judge but to make it happen.

We keep information free and accessible for all

If you believe information is power, than you must believe that in a democracy information must be available to all.  Could you imagine if only the select few had information about job prospects, health care, housing choices?  

We help those who cannot read 

Whether a young child or a struggling adult, we help interpret information for those with a need.  We provide programs to help those who are struggling become more proficient.

We provide access to arts and culture outside our particular area

We provide concerts, author signings, poetry readings and other events that take us beyond our cultural mindsets.  We reach out and branch out to bring the world and its experiences to our community.

We are the People's University

You can learn anything and everything at your public library.  Knowledge has no bounds.  What we don't have, we can find.  We are here to help you reach self-actualization. All you have to do is ask.  We will help.

And you probably are thinking, "I know all of that!"

I am glad you do.  Please know how proud I am to be part of a profession that makes this happen.  And when you hear any inkling of proposals to cut library funding anywhere, speak up.  We are your voice for information and access, but you are our voice for survival.

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