I was helping a patron work through an honest-to-goodness reference question the other day, and after we found the info she wanted, she said, “You’re too good to me!” (punctuated with a high five). Modesty aside, that phrase has stuck with me and been churning around inside my head.
As librarians, we have a responsibility to be “too good” to our patrons and to provide them with the highest quality service without providing value judgments. Before and during library school, we all have that dreamy vision of how librarians are going to change the world, but when we get out into the work force (or have trouble getting in), so many of us let the everyday tasks and problem situations wear us down and make us bitter and jaded.
You don’t think being “too good” is part of your job description as a librarian? Too bad.
We’ve all heard the stereotype of librarians sitting around reading all day, that we’re all introverted, timid nerds, and while obviously true in some cases, it’s worth our time to proactively prove the stereotype wrong (and if you are an introverted, timid nerd, work to overcome it). Don’t rest on your laurels, don’t just wait for the economy to get better to try new things, don’t let bad times transmogrify your optimism into pessimism, and for God’s sake, don’t prove the stereotypes right. Stand up for yourself and for your organization and for the profession. Be proud of who you are and what you do. Be proud to be a librarian.
Don’t let “too good” be “good enough”.