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A Love of Libraries: My Answers

Nov - 26 - 2006
Nicole C. Engard

Josh has posted some questions for librarians that I’d like to answer here (as well as in his comments).

1. Why did you decide to make a career for yourself in libraries? What is it about libraries that made you not just want to patronize them but work with them and be involved in their continuing development? It's obvious from reading professional library journals, librarian blogs, and the comments on this blog that you all have a great love of libraries. Where does that come from?

The start of my career in libraries was a fluke. I was applying for any and all web jobs I could right out of college and was called in for an interview at Jenkins Law Library. I started as the web assistant and moved my way up to web manager. It wasn’t until after this move that I realized I wanted to be a permanent fixture in libraries. Why? I don’t know what one thing did it – I just love the atmosphere, the community (online and in person), the idea of helping people find information, and training them to find it. My love comes from the community – it wasn’t until I started frequenting conferences and participating in the online community that I truly fell in love with libraries. It’s the people that made all of the difference. They made me want to be more than just another library staff member – they made me want to be a moving force in the library world.

2. Do the people who use your libraries share your love of libraries? Are they enthusiastic about the continuing use and development of libraries? Are your patrons as geeky about libraries as you are?

I don’t know how to answer this. You all know I work in a law library with a very different crowd of people than you see in public or academic libraries. I think they love our library – I know that when I’m out in the community I always hear good things about Jenkins and its staff – but do they feel that way about all libraries – who knows. I can say that for the most part it’s a pretty safe bet that none of our patrons are as geeky about library as I am :)

3. If your patrons aren't as geeky about libraries, why aren't they? What could we do to get our patrons as enthused about libraries as we are? How can we get library users to care as much about libraries as library professionals do?

Why not? Because they’re lawyers and I’m a library geek – it’s that simple. They chose to be geeky about the law (if you’d call that geeky).

4. Or is that even important? Do we care if library patrons are as passionate about libraries? Is it enough that they use libraries, without being geeky and enthusiastic about them?

As for getting patrons to be as geeky as us – I don’t think it’s possible or that important. We chose this profession – we love this profession – if our patrons are as enthused as us they should be working beside us. I do think it’s important for our patrons to be enthused about the library and for that enthusiasm to be spread – I just don’t think it has to be quite the level of enthusiasm that I have.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Debra says:

    I’m one of the enthusiastic library patrons who eventually realized that librarianship was the logical next step in my life but it is not necessarily the path for all of us who frequent libraries.

    In my opinion, it is enough that people actually go to libraries and see the wealth of information that is there for them. Of course there are opportunities to volunteer, join a Friends group or like me, decide to enter the field as a professional.

  2. Debra says:

    I’m one of the enthusiastic library patrons who eventually realized that librarianship was the logical next step in my life but it is not necessarily the path for all of us who frequent libraries.

    In my opinion, it is enough that people actually go to libraries and see the wealth of information that is there for them. Of course there are opportunities to volunteer, join a Friends group or like me, decide to enter the field as a professional.


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