Eleven Reasons Why Librarians Rock
National Library Week may be over, but every week is a good week for celebrating libraries and the librarians who work there.
Whether they are doing storytime, teaching classes about social media privacy, or discovering new books to add to their collections, librarians always work overtime — and wear many different hats — to bring the magic that they do day in and day out to their communities. In short, librarians rock. Here is just a handful of reasons how and why:
- Librarians love books. Librarians don’t just read books, but they read about books as well. Knowing the bestsellers, keeping on top of the latest publishing trends, paying attention to what library books are getting checked out by the community- librarians do all of these things and more. In search of good suggestions for your book club? Looking for a book for your video-game obsessed teenager? Wondering what to read next when you finish a book you just couldn’t put down? Ask a librarian!
- Librarians love technology. Thanks to a consumer electronic market which brings new smartphones, watches, tablets and other personal digital accessories into the library every day, librarians have become the go-to help desk for their community. Library MakerSpaces are also now showcases for new and cutting edge technologies as well, such as virtual reality, 3-d printing and robots, offering patrons a chance to play with these things in a friendly and non-commercial environment.
- Librarians got game. Fancy a game of chess? Then how about a game of Mario Kart or Super Smash Brothers? Or how about Settlers of Catan or Dungeons & Dragons? Librarians are bringing new gaming programming every day as gaming culture goes mainstream and board game cafes are sprouting up all over the country. Librarians have welcomed chess clubs since the 19th century and now cooperate with local gaming groups and Friendly Local Game Stores to bring a new generation of board and video games to a public hungry for interactive entertainment.
- Librarians are great teachers. Forget Night School- the library is the place to go for all of your continuing education needs, with librarians offering instruction in not just how to use library resources but teaching introductions to technology such as classes in using Microsoft Office, how to use social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, even how to catch Pokemon playing PokemonGO. Librarians also teach hands-on classes, from how to code and how to solder circuits on the “high-tech” side of the experiential learning spectrum to how to sculpt, sew, or make a silkscreen print on the “low-tech” end.
- Librarians geek what you’re geeking. If you have an interest, no matter how esoteric it may seem to you, librarians can probably hook you up with materials, community and support for that interest. Maybe there’s a collection about your interest available on the shelves or online, such as in one of these 590,000 freely-accessible electronic guides created by librarians out of the goodness of their own geeky hearts.
- Librarians will do your homework for you. Okay, not really! But they will help point you in the right direction to get started with your homework, whether you are looking for a copy of a book on your summer reading list or assistance with how to use all of those fancy electronic databases to write your next research paper. Librarians will often coordinate with local schools so that they can be of the greatest help for important projects, such as senior theses or other historical or scientific fairs, so don’t be afraid to ask a librarian for help with these topics.
- Librarians can help you find your roots. Librarians get more genealogy questions than any other topic, as libraries sit on virtual treasure troves of information for people who are interested in doing research on their family history. From institutional subscriptions to Ancestry.com and other online genealogical databases to extensive collections of local newspapers in print and microform, librarians can help you take the first steps backwards through time in search of your ancestors.
- Librarians dig stuff- literally. Speaking of roots, did you know that librarians can help you grow things as well? Many libraries have seed libraries and seed exchanges where aspiring horticulturalists can try their hand at growing not just common flowers and garden vegetables but various heirloom varieties as well. Librarians also bring in special guests to speak about topics in gardening, such as how to build a raised bed garden, a container garden, how to pickle your produce or how to compost. Some libraries even have a community garden of their own! Libraries have also become increasingly involved in supporting local agriculture by having a presence at farmers’ markets and becoming designated pickup locations for CSAs.
- Librarians can help find you a job. Whether you are looking for your first job or coming back to the workforce after a break, librarians have a panoply of tools and services available to you in perfecting your job search, including instruction in how to use career databases, resume reading service, and honing your job interview skills. Some libraries even hold job fairs for the community.
- Librarians don’t judge or hate. Pundits like to joke about “safe spaces” these days, but the safe place that librarians have created for their community to explore new ideas anonymously without fear of judgement, hatred or reprisal is no joking matter. Librarians are champions of freedom of belief and expression and have advocated internationally for not only these issues but on issues of equality of access, representation and patron privacy as well. Librarians are the original social justice warriors.
- Librarians know things. For example, if you don’t know why this list goes to eleven, librarians can tell you!
Why do the librarians in your community rock? Join EveryLibrary over on Facebook and leave us a comment. We want to know more about the librarians in your life.