Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Small Libraries are Big with Me

I work at the library at a small liberal arts college, and I love it. I get opportunities and experiences I never would at a bigger college or university. Since library science graduate programs are typically part of big institutions, I know a lot of MLIS candidates and recent graduates who want to be academic librarians think that big libraries are the place to be. I disagree. I think that small liberal arts colleges are where it's at. Here's why:
  1. I get to try new things with a minimum of bureaucratic nonsense. I've written posts about gaming and about popular reading materials. I know I'm not the only academic librarian doing these things, but whenever I talk about it among librarians I hear jealousy from librarians at bigger schools.
  2. I have developed personal relationships with most of the faculty. At bigger institutions, I know I'd be lucky to know all the members of the departments to which I was the liaison. We have 79 full time faculty members, so I've gotten to know them and vice versa. 
  3. I have developed personal relationships with many students. I serve as an adjunct instructor. I have refereed late night dodge ball. Heck, a past student senate president used me as a clue in a scavenger hunt because I'm "the librarian everyone knows."
  4. I get to wear many different hats. I am: the coordinator for our instruction program; on a couple of important campus wide committees; the liaison to five different departments; responsible for marketing and outreach; and leading our assessment efforts. (This is just the high level stuff.) I'd get bored if I had to concentrate on just one of these, even if it were for a larger group.
  5. Most importantly, my voice is heard. I don't have to go through channels or wait my turn. I get to speak... and people listen. Further, faculty come to me and ask for my feedback. I can't imagine not having a say in the life of my institution, but I don't have to worry about it at a small school.
What do you think? Am I crazy? Also, what do you like about your library?

1 comment:

  1. Very good points, having currently working as a Liaison Librarian in a mid-sized (I think MLA counts it as 10K-49,999K) academic health sciences library and previously working at a circulation desk of a community college library. Number 3 and 5 definitely resonate with me!