Before we even get into the skill set that one now needs to be a librarian, we need to create a foundation. That foundation is you accepting that you don’t know everything, allowing yourself to be a novice, and being open to change. It’s hard to do. There is a fine line between accepting that you don’t know something and feeling stupid for not knowing it, between allowing yourself to be a novice and feeling disempowered. Don’t take what you don’t know personally. I find that I learn less when I’m feeling defensive, and I learn more when I am feeling like a badass who’s about to gain a world of knowledge.
Today, I’m putting that theory on the line, and starting my research for Back To School here:
Greetings from the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress. I worked here for a long time, and now I don’t. But today, I am getting over what I think I should know about this collection based on my experience here, starting from scratch, and compiling a giant list of resources for later this week. You, dear readers, deserve everything that this collection has to offer, and frankly so do I.
We may be librarians, but we cannot know everything. There simply isn’t enough time–which also doesn’t leave enough time to feel guilty, or hopeless. Nothing replaces experience, but repeating the same tasks, improving upon the same skills, can only accomplish so much. It’s easy to feel like we’re chasing an ideal can never be caught, but catching up isn’t the goal. We are all learners here, and you are a badass.