Things I Never Learned In Library School: Changing Your Mindset, or how it ultimately hurts your library if you donate time, money and more
A lot of people don’t understand teen librarians and teen specialists. Like youth librarians, we are people with big hearts and big ideas, and we strive to make our libraries and communities a better place. However, we have a peculiar mindset- we like to give until way past when it hurts. We ARE a vocation and a calling, there’s no other way to describe it. I’ve known librarians (and have been one) who spend their own money on programs (“in order to make them better”or “to actually have programs”), who donate their time (“because otherwise things wouldn’t get done”), who have taken work home during their non-work hours (“because I can’t get anything done during the work day”). Do you see yourself in that? We all do it (and continually do it- I still do, trust me) but we (as a profession) need to take a huge step back from it. We are HURTING ourselves in ways that we don’t realize: by donating money, time, and resources that our cities and places of employment don’t recognize, they don’t realize the amount of work that goes into the programs and jobs that we do, and therefore can’t justify things like additional programming money, additional staff, or converting part time positions to full time positions. By helping, we are actually hurting because donating time and money prevents administrators from developing a realistic picture of the library’s needs.
Follow the break, and see some of the things that I’m talking about.
Filed under: Professional Development, Things I Never Learned in Library School
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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