Friday, 11 May 2007

Paths to professionalism

As an alarming number of people seem to know, one of the things that inspired me to become a librarian is the inherent awesomeness of Giles off Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That's not the only reason. I've always liked learning , acquiring new and specialist knowledge and finding things out, and librarianship gives me a great platform for all three.

I love learning, probably more than I love libraries. It's a really selfish reason to be a librarian, but it suits me and it seems to rub off on other people too. Of course I appreciate the difference we can make to people. While a lot of that comes from the outcome, the process is just as important.

On one occasion a couple of years ago, I had someone who wanted a book on something pretty specific. As is often the case, the ideal book was stashed in our Reserve Stock. It's in the basement and it usually takes a few minutes to retrieve things. So I found a reference book with an entry on what this person was looking for so he'd have something to do while I disappeared. It seemed only fair: it can take a while to find stuff in Reserve Stock and he seemed nice enough, so I didn't want him to get fed up waiting for me. He was so impressed that he wrote a letter to the Chief Librarian. It's considered good customer service, but I prefer to think of it as a mix of common sense and doing the job properly.

So, yes, there's more to libraries than Giles fandom. I enjoy what I do, and that includes a thorough appreciation of the ways in which we can make a difference. I know we can have a huge impact on people and I don't want to ignore that. That's why it's so important that we get things right: our processes need to be good enough, and consistent enough, to provide a service of uniformly high quality.

So if I'm a librarian because I like Giles and learning, what's your excuse? Comment away!

The kids these days, they don't have Buffy any more. So what would I do with my life in a world without the soothing influence, incredible knowledge and inner hard-man tendencies of Rupert Giles? What else combines that love of knowledge, learning and slightly leftfield TV drama? I'd be a private eye, like Keith Mars. Veronica Mars is currently my favourite show. It does a lot of what Buffy did, only with mysteries instead of vampires.