by Nicolas Resteiner, Head Editor, INALJ Mississippi
Why I Chose to Become a Librarian
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know why I chose to become a librarian. As prospective librarians, we have people telling us that librarianship is a dying profession (I am reminded of a Parks and Recreation episode where Leslie tells a librarian that her job has been replaced by the internet), and we usually fire back with some justifications about how not everyone has access to the same resources, how we are preserving knowledge, and how we are adapting to the future. These are all true, of course, and great points, but for me it all comes down to the fact that librarians help people. We help people find information on lawyers, we help kids find books about animals, we help them make copies or work their computers. We add value to our community in a way that most other professions can only dream of.
I am aware that librarians do much behind the scenes that is not directly interacting with patrons.
- they create programs
- take care of administrative matters
- make sure all of the technology works
- and that each patron can use the library for what they need
However, to me, these are not what made me choose to become a librarian. I chose to become a librarian because it allows me to make a difference in people’s lives. All of the things that I previously mentioned all meet that goal. Not only do librarians as individuals help people out on daily basis, we help the community as well. For instance, several libraries have implemented a Food for Fines program that enables patrons to pay off their fines by making donations of non-perishable goods to the library. The Phoenix Public Library offer a Culture Pass, which gives two people free admission to participating art and cultural institutions around the city. Many libraries work with local prisons to make part of their collections available to inmates. Without great initiatives such as these, our communities would be worse off. Though these programs may not be well-publicized, it does not mean that they are not important to people who would not have access to these services otherwise. After all, that is what libraries are all about, helping out the communities in which they operate.
Of course, working in a public library, my experience is biased. We rarely get research questions or anything that requires us to dig deeply into journals or sources. We often get questions about email and local community events. We get to have story times for the children, film festivals for the teenagers, and book discussions for the adults. That is the great thing about librarianship. No matter if we are helping a student look up a journal article in an online database, whether we are helping a doctor find a study about a specific drug, or whether we are helping a child create a glitter portrait of a cat, the bottom line is that we are helping people do something to accomplish their goals or brighten their lives. Despite how tough the job market can seem, that is what I keep sight of, what keeps me motivated. I want to become a librarian to help people, and I bet most librarians feel the same.