The first semester of graduate school has been an overwhelming and rewarding one; it’s the difference between that inner-voice asking “Can I really do this?” and the self-confident assurance, “I can really do this!” I’ve learned a lot about my chosen profession, and upon revisiting my initial assumptions and beliefs about librarianship, I find that most of them still hold true, even if they’ve altered a little.
1) Librarians are not the guardians of knowledge; rather, they are its protectors. I still fully believe that this is the case; if anything, this semester’s close study of professional ethics has reinforced this assertion. Free access to information means free access to everybody, and librarians aren’t intended to be soldiers barring the way—we are simply the ones lucky enough to protect the information and ensure it is still there for future generations.
2) Libraries aren’t meant to be intimidating. If people are hesitant to step through your doors, you’re doing it wrong. Again, this is still something I fully stand behind. Libraries have always represented an oasis in the desert to me, and there are many people that feel the same way. I understand the quiet reverence that can accompany a visit to a beautiful library, but they should never feel forbidding, and nothing I’ve learned this semester has persuaded me otherwise; in fact, I think it goes nicely with the tenants of the profession.
3) People in the LIS profession are as diverse as those in any other. While I know first hand that this is true, having had the great fortune to interact with a wide variety of my colleagues this term, I’ve also learned that we are also more alike than I’d previously thought. We all value books, and preservation, and knowledge, and a myriad of other things. We may come from different walks of life and have different professional ambitions, but at the end of the day we share some core values, and that’s remarkably reassuring.
4) LIS degrees are more versatile than you think. This was assumption I made based on my own personal experience, and the research I’d done when deciding to start down this path for myself. I had no idea how true it was when I made it, and after a semester of digging through blogs, websites, professional journals, and news stories, I was astonished to see just how accurate it was. LIS degrees are everywhere, even in places you’d never expect.
5) LIS professionals are going to have to be technologically savvy in order to stay relevant. Like the above assumption, I had no idea how true this was when I made it. With the opening of completely paperless libraries, the increasing availability of electronic resources and the speed at which new technologies are emerging, being tech-savvy isn’t just a matter of staying relevant, it’s a necessary component to avoid becoming completely obsolete.