So how many times have you had that comment when you announce your professional affiliation? We all know that librarianship is so. much. more.
But having said that, I will boldly state that yes, I do actually like to read. I read a lot. I do like books in all kinds of formats. I just like to read. So there. Call me a stereotype – I even have a bun on occasion.
There was a brief flurry on my Twitter stream the other day when @Maglib mentioned a discussion about whether or not librarians should read.
I think they should.
Librarians who work on front line public library desks should read fiction and selected non-fiction. I’m not sure a children’s librarian or a school librarian could be very effective if they do not read in that genre.
Academic subject librarians should read the TOC page of any journals that come across their desk in their subject area, and should at least be aware of trends within their subject. Setting up a monthly alerts in relevant databases to skim through can be helpful too.
All librarians should read a selection of library literature. It might be in the form of library journals. It could be in the form of the bibiloblogosphere. Or both. Again, monthly alerts in relevant databases (where available) can be helpful in this.
And “reading” may not just be in the form of words on a page. Podcasts and visual media can all be grist to the mill.
Because a reading/listening/watching librarian is an informed librarian. It’s about keeping it real and genuine.
Knowing how to recommend a book to a patron who has given a vague idea of what they like stems from more than knowing what the best sellers or award winners are.
The librarians were mysterious. It was said they could tell what book you needed just by looking at you, and they could take your voice away with a word. ~ Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett London : Doubleday, 2006.
Reaching out to faculty is much more effective when you can understand their vocabulary and even point them to particularly good article sources. You can help students seek information better when you know how their chosen field uses the literature.
Keeping up to date with what is happening in your profession opens up all kinds of opportunities to progress your career because you are the one who knows. Stuff happens because of you, not to you.
So read. Discover. Explore. *
Now, if I could just persuade the publishers in my subject area to get on to RSS and Twitter I’d be a happy woman. Because then I could read and find new books to order much more efficiently!