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Why I Wanted to Be a Librarian

Updated on January 7, 2013

Librarians help people find what they need. It does not matter whether these needs are personal or for purely academic necessity; librarians don't judge (and if they do, there are procedures for dealing with that). Becoming a librarian, however, can be just as difficult as becoming anything else, especially when the profession is looked down upon by so many.

"What makes you think you have what it takes to be the Librarian?" There are three movies under the title The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, Return to King Solomon’s Mines, and Curse of the Judas Chalice. While the Librarian is constantly being belittled by people (almost everyone) who don't understand his profession or his passion, it is no ordinary library for which this particular librarian works; the trilogy is an homage to the Indiana Jones movies with historically relevant and enchanted artifacts. While not many of us can be that librarian (though some idolize and have come close to Lori Beth Denberg's Loud Librarian character from All That), most will recognize the importance of preserving knowledge for future generations. While most people interested in teaching become teachers or school librarians, those who do not want to spend the entirety of their lives in academics would choose to work at a public or stand-alone library. At least, that's what I would do if presented with that option.

I love books and I love to read. While libraries are more than just books, especially now that digital media formats threaten to take over everything, books are a cornerstone of what libraries stand for. It would be better if the general public understood this, but many take librarians for granted and mock their shortcomings. However, even a library degree does not guarantee acceptance into the library community. It has been my experience that even if you find a group of folks who get it, that doesn't necessarily make you one of them. To be an outcast in a group of perceived outcasts is to have the feeling of being the lowest of the low; it's like being at a party and still feeling alone, or, worse yet, not being invited to the five-year high school reunion because it's only for the cool kids. Although I have been told I will never be hired as one, I will always be a librarian at heart.

I have long been treated like a servant, so that is all I ever will be to people no matter what profession I am in, and I have grown used to it. Volunteers serve the public and receive no compensation; thus, it is not a viable occupation unless sponsored by a charity organization. Librarians serve the community with their information and entertainment needs, and it is often a thankless profession as they are often treated no better than servants themselves. Though they are not always given the respect they deserve, I still long to be one of them even if I don't fit in for whatever reasons they have against me. Are they simply snobbish and deliberately throwing applications and resumes in the trash, or is this profession truly in danger of becoming extinct? Millions of people who are without work face this reality every day and are either ridiculed or shunned for it while the government cuts both jobs and unemployment benefits; thus, our hopes, our dreams, and our chances of survival are dashed. This is the reality we face every day at the supermarket or community laundry - people shoving each other out of the way in order to get what's theirs while demand is far greater than supply. Government officials may not think about this much, though, because they were elected for being popular and probably have no idea what it's like not to be considered worthy of their ambitions either by professionals in their field or by society at large (unless their transgressions resulted in public humiliation).


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