The “Social” Librarian

by Heidi Greathouse, Senior Assistant, INALJ New Mexico

The “Social” Librarian

Heidi GreathouseI’ve been working as a cataloger at a university since March of this year. In the last 8 months, I have learned how important it is to be a “social librarian”. This basically means forming important relationships with the faculty, students, and other employees. The benefit of forming good relationships is that you will know more of what their needs are and they can learn to trust you as a librarian. Here are some suggestions in how to become a “social librarian”:

1) Smile and say hi to the students and other patrons as they walk by. By doing this, they will recognize you and maybe in the future they will come to you for help. Be aware that they are there!

2) If you are a liaison for a certain department, attend some of the department’s functions. For example, if you are a liaison for the music department, attend some of the concerts! This shows that you are supportive of that department and it shows that you care what goes on. Plus, it will give you something more to talk about with the faculty and students. You might even run into other students and faculty at the performances who you already know or may get to know in the future!

3) Carry conversations with the student workers. By developing communication with them, workflow may go a lot more smoothly because they and you are already developing communication skills with each other. Communication is important in the workplace!

4) Go to general events that the university puts on. I have gone to football games and plays. Other students see this and they will recognize that you support the university. The more effort that you put in trying to show your support and loyalty to the school, the more likely that other faculty and students will see it, which brings on a good light for the library.

5) Attend commencements if you are invited to go. I was able to go to a commencement last spring and it was an awesome experience! I got to feel a part of the university and even had the opportunity to say congratulate some of the graduates before anyone else did since I was sitting where the faculty was sitting. I will have this opportunity every semester!

There are many other ways that someone can be a “social” librarian. It is important for a librarian to be involved and develop relationships with others because it will help them become more of a “people person” and they will be able to use these experiences to be an influence for good. The more people you associate with, the more of a chance that you will make an impact on others. If you show support for others, then they will be able to feel it from you. You may even feel good about what you have done for them as well.

If being a “social” librarian seems hard for you, you can still become one. It starts with baby steps. You can start out by just attending an event and talk to the performers afterwards. Decide what is best for you in your situation. The best thing you can do right now is to decide to become a “social” librarian. If you are already one, strive to become a better one! There is always room for improvement! Good luck on your efforts! The better “social” librarian you are, the more likely that others will see how great the library already is because of the librarians there. You are a library representative! Be a good one in order to spread the goodness of the library!

Hello there!! My name is Heidi Greathouse and I am currently the Senior Assistant for the New Mexico INALJ page. I currently work as a cataloger at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. It is a smaller town of 17,000 or so. I grew up in parts of California and Utah so being in New Mexico is a change for me! I moved here this last March and I am learning a lot. In my free time, I like to watch movies, read, and hang out with friends and family. I did my undergrad at BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho in history with a minor in humanities. I graduated there in 2008. In 2012, I graduated with my MA in Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona. I am really enjoying being in the library field and I hope to help others in their pursuit of this field because I know that this website helped me to find my current position!

  1 comment for “The “Social” Librarian

  1. December 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    In most libraries, it seems that Catalogers are regulated to an office or room deep within the staff area or back room. Do you really encounter many patrons in your work day to day?

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