From the outset, this blog was intended to be used as a forum for writing about the issues libraries and librarians face as well as life in general. My theory–one that I’ve repeated often–is that there is more to life than libraries, and libraries are a reflection of life. My readers are a mix of library people and regular people, not that library people aren’t regular people–for the most part (joke). I believed that by mixing it up–writing about professional topics as well as stuff that everybody can relate to–I would make non-library readers more aware of some of the issues that we face today in the profession. I was hoping to put libraries on the radar for people who may not think about them otherwise. I also have too many opinions about too many things to restrict myself to one topic.
Lately I find that I don’t have as much to say about libraries, and I don’t have the same enthusiasm as I once did. I still have many thoughts and ideas and concerns that I could write about and express, but the problem is that I don’t have the “street cred” to back them up. It’s easy to sit back and observe and develop opinions about what’s right and wrong with libraries and librarians. But I’m not out in the trenches, nor have I ever been. I have always–since day one in the library world–been a cataloger. That’s not to say that catalogers aren’t in the trenches or important, but the fact that I am twice removed from the public–being in the back room and working for a System office, not in a library–makes me particularly vulnerable to idealistic thinking versus realistic thinking. While I have an interest in the much larger picture, and I make it point to keep abreast of current trends relating to my job, my department, my organization, and my profession, overall, my actual work experience has been very limited.
I do other things at work besides cataloging. I am a part of our Strategic Plan Implementation Team, which serves to guide our System office in the implementation of our strategic plan, ensuring that we focus on our strategic priorities and deliver results. I serve as the communication facilitator for the team, too. I find this part of my job particularly rewarding.
I take advantage of every Webinar, workshop, and training opportunity that not only relates to cataloging but that relates to the profession as a whole. I believe, in the end, it all matters no matter what your job description. Having the big picture can only enhance the quality of the contribution one brings to the table. I am not uninformed–not by a long shot. But I have not been tested. Not really.
I don’t interact with the public, and I have little interaction with any of our member library directors or staff. Cataloging is pretty much a solitary activity and one that doesn’t require much conversation. While we are working hard to build good relationships with our customers–the member libraries–and I am every bit as much a part of that effort as anyone (because every person makes a difference), the truth is that my active role is very limited even though my contribution as an engaged, thoughtful, employee is not. My voice is heard, but I still sit at my desk most of the day and catalog books, DVDs, CDs, etc.
None of this would be an issue if I were writing a blog about cataloging, but I’m not. I rarely write about cataloging in case you haven’t noticed. Unless I start writing a blog about cataloging, I really have no evidence to back up my theories. Unlike other bloggers who write from the perspective of doing, I am mostly writing from the perspective of thinking. I know without a doubt that’s there’s just no way I can write an engaging blog about cataloging or technical services because it is not my passion. I do an excellent job (if I do say so myself), but my level of engagement is higher in other areas, such as the strategic planning initiative, training, advocacy, and above all, the culture of libraries.
So what’s a blogger to do? I am a librarian who has never really worked in a library. I did work in an academic library for three years, but that was as a cataloging assistant. I have the credentials, but not the cred. I am informed, but not tested. I am engaged, but not visible to most of the people in our library community.
I know more about life than libraries. I’ve been working at life for 51 years; libraries, for only 9 years and only as a cataloger. So perhaps I should just stick to life? Part of me thinks that voices like mine are needed in the library world for many reasons, but part of me thinks they’re not welcome for many reasons. And part of me wonders if I have any idea what I’m talking about half the time.
I welcome your input as I try to figure out where to go from here.