Philosophy

                               

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My Professional Philosophy
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"Plunging" into my work

One of my library school professors said something that sums up my work philosophy: “The Librarian is responsible for plunging the toilet.” He was referring to public libraries, where you may find yourself the only one in the building with an overflowing toilet, but it’s more than that. There are certain jobs that no one likes to do but need to get done: plunging the toilet, shelving books, doing statistics. When you accept a library job you also accept responsibility for making sure that the Library keeps running (and you continue to have a place to work). If there are books to shelve, and no one to shelve them, then, barring more urgent work, I will shelve books. It’s not “part of my job” specifically, but if no one shelves books then the Library grinds to a halt. As Circulation Librarian, it is my responisibility to be sure that the job gets done, either by one of my staff, or by myself if necessary. My professional dignity is not going to collapse because I push a book truck around the stacks. In fact, I’ve found that being willing to do “the dirty work” improves my relations with the rest of the staff. I prefer to lead by example. I must prioritize my work; teaching a library instruction class is generally more important than shelving. But I also have to be willing to re-prioritize; when no books have been shelved in weeks, shelving begins to edge up the priority list pretty fast. When nothing has been shelved and no one can find anything, teaching students to use the online catalog is an exercise in frustration.

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