Librarianship: A job or a profession?

I suppose this is a bit of a rant that I’d like to share. As a disclaimer, I do want to state that I’ve met many amazing people in this profession. However, those individuals who really stand out to me are the ones devoted to librarianship.

Being a relative newcomer to the profession, I often hear remarks such as “you’re still young”, “wait until you get older”, “you’re not jaded yet” from staff. I have chosen to use my words carefully in this regard. These comments tend to come from staff and non-professionals, not librarians. It surprises me that staff members would concern themselves with how much time I devote to the profession. My profession.

When I’m met with sarcastic remarks, my first reaction is to say something like, “of course you wouldn’t understand, it’s just a job to you” or, “I chose to go to school for this”, or even worse “I’m a professional, you’re not”. I would never actually say this given that it’s not only inappropriate but incredibly UNprofessional. However, I am tempted.

I applaud librarians who have been in the field, those of you who are not so new, and yet who continue to contribute to our profession. I don’t just work in a library, I AM a librarian, and it is part of who I am. I enjoy contributing to the profession and am sorry that staff who work in libraries can’t appreciate that. I hope that when I become too jaded or “old”, that I’ll be wise enough to retire.

In the end, I guess it boils down to this: Do you see what we do as a profession and yourself as a professional, or is it just a job?

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Filed under Our Profession, Professional Ethics

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