Why did you become a librarian?

“I love to read!” Is the most common answer to the question of why you became a librarian. Sometimes longtime librarians sigh a little at this and start going on about how libraries are about so much more than books and reading these days.

That is correct, but stop a minute and think about what a love of reading and books imply.

1. Reading opens the mind. Avid readers are more open to new impressions and have a wider view of the world.

2. Readers can concentrate. In an age where the attention span of most people are on the downswing it is a desirable trait to be able to concentrate and follow a whole novel to the end.

3. Readers are information seekers. If you love reading (or are reading dependent) you have to start looking for new books and authors pretty soon. This leads to reading of reviews, looking at genres and in general developing habits of searching out information about books and authors that are useful in many situations in life and work.

4. Reading is social. This comes as a surprise to most, but think about it. Yes the act of reading itself is solitary, but the minute you have finished a good book, what do you most want to do? Talk about it to anybody willing to listen. We have book clubs, bookblogs, book prizes, author events, literary lunches etc etc… – this is a good thing to have in your portfolio when you applies for a number of jobs. The ability to talk enthusiastically about something is usually a plus when you apply for jobs.

5. Analytical ability. To read you have to decode text and meaning. Pretty useful when you want to understand and learn.

Useful stuff for librarians right? So I have come to the conclusion that I DO want readers as librarians and other staff in my library.

I know that what I have listed are unevenly distributed among readers, but it is only my opinion and experience, not research, so I’ll let it stand:-)

Feel free to argue in the comments.

I'm a norwegian librarian.

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Posted in Future, Librarian 2.0, Library 2.0
One comment on “Why did you become a librarian?
  1. mostraum says:

    1. Yes, but we frequently need gentle nudges to be knocked out of our reading comfort zone. I try to stray out and in of mine.
    2. Yes
    3. It’s a good start, but here too we need to be pushed out of our comfort zone. Personally I find information seeking to be the most enjoyable part of my job.
    4. It can be, and for a lot of readers it is. In my library class I suspect a lot of people needed a good shove to stand up and say anything in public, we also need to dare being personal.It’s the second most fun thing I do.
    5. I’m not sure all readers have this, but the combination of reading and education is great for analytical ability.

    I think being a reader is a good background for any job, doing things that exercises your brain can never hurt.

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May 2011
The Librarian

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