I had myself a little laugh when giving some thought to what to write. I had to make a choice between creating a new blog for my reflections on librarianship, or re-purposing this site for those posts. I got to the end of that thought and just about slapped myself. “You idiot,” said the voice in my head. “You have one post. How can you re-purpose anything that didn’t even have a purpose to begin with?”
It seems that, in addition to a penchant for ending sentences with prepositions, my internal monologue is both honest and right. What I was really thinking was I needed to re-purpose myself. I was in the midst of a change in perspective and was finding a new drive. The last ten to eleven months have been marked by an incredible transition.
And it all boils down to my personal worldview.
What do you think when you think of a librarian? What about librarianship? We all have some definition, even if we can’t exactly couch it in concise language, of what is a librarian, what they do, or how they add value to our lives and communities. In your mind, is that all the value they can add? What are your expectations of librarians and, by extension, a library? For years I had very specific answers to these questions. The last ten days have completely unwound that.
My worldview is changing on a daily basis. I’m quickly learning that I’ve been a librarian for many years. No, I didn’t leer at whisperers from behind stacks of dusty books (well, I did, but not in a library. That was because I’m kind of a creeper.), but rather I managed a place to which people came for information. I provided an information and content delivery service.
Hey, Chad, what was the material margin on [insert product line here] for [insert time frame here]?
Hey, Chad, what was the scrap percentage for the [insert work center here] for each month?
Hey, Chad, what’s on the cafeteria menu today?
I’m now learning that there were essential professional skills missing from my toolbox that contributed greatly to my frustration and eventual withdrawal from corporate life. I could very easily conjure up “42%, 8.5%, grilled cheese and tomato soup,” and I could complain the next time they asked, citing the fact that, not only did I already provide this information, but I provided the tool to do so. What I did not provide was conversation. I didn’t offer them context or facilitate the creation of knowledge. Instead, I relied on the data to be the knowledge as opposed to understanding knowledge as a transient and personal concept. I inadvertently fostered the environment that said “if you need it, have Chad build it.”
It’s time to rearrange the tool chest and make some room. While I’m at it, I should reshape some of the wrenches to fit different bolts.