Doing dishes and pondering librarianship

As always, a huge issue in a career like librarianship is figuring out how to describe what you do without limiting or labeling yourself.  If you define yourself by the books, ebooks will put you out of business.  If you say you read stories to children, why can’t a lower-paid clerk do that?  If you argue that you promote valuable literacy skills, what’s the difference between you and a reading teacher?

I think I finally have my answer.  School librarians are the generalists in a community of subject specialists.  We know that knowledge does not exist in a vacuum, and that all disciplines influence and connect to one another.  This is what the Collaboration! hubbub is all about.  We are the interdisciplinary wizards at the center of it all, drawing connections, remixing and re-imagining knowledge, in a way that is meaningful to our school community.  No one else has the perspective and resources to make the collective knowledge of a school a living thing.

I’ve read that the library should be the “learning hub of the school”, but I get it now that that only happens if the library and the librarian are not static.  Students and teachers don’t just go there to get knowledge; they go there to swap, create and develop it.  And the librarian is the one with a hand in every piece of it.  We have the potential to forge new connections between seemingly unconnected areas, and enrich both, and that’s really, really cool.


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