Sunday, October 4, 2009

"I am just a librarian"

(image from

On Friday I had the chance to attend a training workshop (not a very good one - but that is for another post) and part of the workshop was to create something to present using a web 2.0 presentation tool. It was a mixed bag of about 10 participants made up of teachers, teacher librarians and school librarians.

One of the participants was having some problems working out the application and gave the excuse or reason for her inadequacy "I'm just a librarian". I was appalled and told her so (It would not have been PC to smack her across the head for such a comment).

It made me reflect on why School libraries and Librarians get such a bum deal most of the time - it may just be their own fault for having such an attitude of patheticness (such a word?)...

If you are 'just a librarian' you will never approach the principal to tell them what you need, they will certainly not come to you for input and ideas. If you are 'just a librarian' you will get trampled over by teachers and will never be able to say 'no', if you are 'just a librarian' you will never get the rest breaks you are entitled to, nor the budget you require, nor the respect from the children, nor the ability to leave a wake of construction in your path, and as a consequence your library and job may just disappear.

Please, never insult any other school or teacher librarian by using the occupation as reason why you are inadequate in doing something. You "are a librarian" and therefore you are only limited by your own imagination and ability to move forward.

Most librarians are not dim or pathetic, in fact, the ones I know are extremely clever people. So, blame your own self for your own inadequacies and not the career you have chosen.

There, I will get off my soap box now and prepare for another hopefully better workshop later in the week.


Amy said...

You post is once again so timely in my life. I having a conference with the principal at my son's school. We were not seeing eye to eye about several things. It was obvious that the level of professionalism I was used to with my principal was not evident with this man. He wanted me to take time for a conference in the middle of the day instead of keeping his teacher after her contracted hour. Part of his justification in making this request was that "well your a librarian." Implying that in my position it would be all right to leave my students for an hour in a half in the middle of the day. What would I possibly be doing! Grrrrrr! It frustrated me on so many levels. I then started to think about my son's librarian in that school and noticed no technology in the library, a fixed schedule that makes her a prep and book fair $ going to recess soccer nets! I can't wait to meet her at the county in-service. Thank you for stepping on that soap box and reminding me that I not only have to advocate for myself as a librarian but all librarians!

MrsE said...

Your rant is spot on! I am very vocal about telling staff and students that the library is my classroom. I work with other staff in my classroom to support student learning and teach invaluable skills. Librarians Unite!

Anonymous said...

I tend to take the attitude that the library is my classroom as well! I've had Grade 9 orientation the past couple of weeks and I tell that I am a teacher and that I will be teaching them throughout their high school careers!

I tend to tell the students that I'm a "Jack of all trades" because I work with technology as well as research and I'll try to answer any questions they have about anything (or find someone who can answer it for them)!

JamesHenri said...

Love your work! J

The Librain said...

Brilliant post, Dianne! Oh, how I agree with you. Yes, we must stand up for ourselves and our professionalism. "Just a librarian" indeed!