Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Librarian Birds of a Feather

I've talked in the past about how good it is to interact with different kinds of librarians, especially with people at libraries that are different from the one where you work (or the one where you want to work if you've not yet found your first professional position). I still stand by that, but the opposite is just as important. Until recently, I had forgotten how nice it is to flock with like feathered birds.

You see, I spent time with a group of librarians who all work at libraries at small, liberal arts colleges, and it has been more invigorating than I could have imagined. Our libraries have a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, these people understand the context in which I work every day. For example, the importance of "library as place" means something very specific on a small, predominantly residential, college campus. Having the same backgrounds, the same vocabularies, made conversations easier and therefore more fruitful. Further, because we have similar but not identical institutions, I got some amazing ideas from these interactions... things I can't wait to try at my own library.

I imagine it's the same way for other librarians. Nobody understands the stress of hoping a tax levy passes like someone who has been in the same situation. Similarly, I can see how a bibliographer at a large research university will want to keep in touch with people who have the same subject specialization. So find your people, your tribe, your flock. You won't regret it.

How about you? Have you spent time with others who inhabit the same part of Biblioterra as you do?

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