Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Day in the Life

Ria Newhouse is a young librarian who's on the cover of Library Journal. She describes her life as a librarian in her 20s working at Metro State in St. Paul, Minnesota after a stint as a teen services librarian.

I have learned so much in this job. I know how to chair a search committee, how to cry gracefully (and not so gracefully) in a meeting. I know that librarianship is a career that allows one to eat too much candy. I've learned that if you ask for what you want enough times, you might just get it. I learned that I enjoy teaching, even if it does make me nervous.

There are different kinds of lessons, too. I can be both professional and personal at the same time. It's a hard balance to maintain, but it's something I'm good at. It's okay to have a heart, to show some emotion, to say what you think, and to wear a skirt that buttons up the side. I've learned that I am provocative, smart, funny, and quite sassy. I am a valuable part of this profession and a day in my life is something I would never want to miss.

(For the record, I've been to a lot of library meetings and though they've been stimulating, frustrating, sometimes dull, sometimes contentious, I have never been brought to tears. That's not to say we always agree, but those disagreements are usually the most interesting part.)


Alec said...

How does one "cry gracefully (and not so gracefully) in a meeting"? I don't think I've ever been in a professional context where tears are called for or even welcome (other than perhaps after an especially good joke).

Charlotte said...

Well, let's see....I remember crying when we heard that our boss's husband had cancer and had died within the week of diagnosis, when our beloved outreach librarian of 36 years announced her retirement and when our favorite library staff dog had to be put down. Most recently, a tear fell at a meeting when we recalled a dear friend of the library who passed away and left her estate to our new building fund. A month previous, we lost a beloved local teen in a terrible car accident and the children's staff was weepy all day. Oh, and new babies on the staff can cause a tear of joy or two. When you work with people for decades, they become a family and tears are a part of life. I'm not saying anyone is boo hooing in the stacks, just that a library can be an emotional place sometimes, just like any place full of people.

Alec said...
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Alec said...
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Barbara said...

Good point, Charlotte - I guess I was focused on the idea of an item on a meeting agenda leading to tears. Which it could, at times (budgets, anyone?) but usually it's just business as usual, to be taken with a wry smile.

But you bring up a good point - there's a lot to the job that's purely human. Thank goodness!