Ever since Library Day in the Life / Round 5 began on Monday, I’ve wanted to contribute something meaningful to the discussion. Library Day in the Life can be encapsulated in this tweet by Bobbi Newman, who started this event back in 2008: “non-library followers – what is #libday5 ? A world wide initiative for librarians to record & share a day or week. we do more than read : – ).” In spite of the criticism that librarians are too busy for this, or should instead perhaps be conducting a patron’s day in the life (not a bad idea, but I don’t think it has to be one or the other), I think this is a wonderful initiative. This is something tangible to show outsiders – a glimpse into the profession that many would never know about or see otherwise. It is also fantastic for learning about some of the work other librarians are out there doing, and a good way to pick up some ideas for your own library. Librarians and others can participate in a variety of ways: on Twitter with the hashtag #libday5, blog posts, on Facebook, and on Flickr.
When I originally tweeted about this, I said that I couldn’t wait to be a professional so that I would have something to say. I wasn’t sure if my current week would contribute much to the profession’s cause. After all, I am a graduate student who is not taking any classes this summer, and I’m currently working three summer jobs, none of them professional, so I don’t have a 9-5 type of schedule. However, I was inspired (as I often am) by this post by Library Scenester from Library Day in the Life / Round 4, especially with her suggestions about what library school students can gain from, and contribute to this. I would love to see a Library School Student’s Day in the Life (perhaps in the fall or spring, not summer), and would happily contribute – however, what I think LIS students can do right now, today, is head to the Library Day in the Life wiki and start reading.
As I peruse the wiki, I’m seeing job titles I didn’t know existed, discovering new librarian blogs to add to my Google Reader, and best of all, getting a real idea of what a day in one of these job positions might be like. Library school students, especially those who haven’t worked in libraries yet, may have an idealized version of what it will be like to be a librarian. I think it’s important to hear details about management and supervision; working on a budget; dealing with vendors; editing policies, etc. There are so many nitty gritty details of being a librarian that never make it into a library school class, and each librarian’s experience varies so much. It’s also great to hear a few details about the job aspects you were expecting – a successful (or not as successful) library instruction session; happy or unhappy patrons, etc. This wiki is an incredible resource, and more library school students should be aware of it.
And with all of that said, I think I will contribute my own Library Day in the Life post soon – an overview of my week. It may not have been traditional, but I have definitely done meaningful work, and I shouldn’t shortchange myself by thinking it wouldn’t be of interest to anyone. That is another lesson to be learned from this initiative, I think – no matter if we’re paraprofessionals, students, volunteer, or professionals, we create meaning for our libraries and the profession. Every single job in a library counts, from shelving books to being a director; every essay or blog post you write as a student circulates new ideas and opinions for the field. Academia is also an important part of this profession; library professors and PhD students certainly have important stories to tell.
Are you contributing to Library Day in the Life? If not, why? I’d love to hear from you!