Hello Fellow KRs!
I can't believe it's already October. While I'm happy that the semester is halfway over, I'm also feeling like my brain is about to explode with all the things still left on my giant to-do list. I'm very thankful for those in my KR cohort who inspire me every time we get together for meetings. Now, I will spare everyone the mushiness and go ahead with the blog post.
The purpose of this blog is to inform you all about the experiences I have had thus far in the program, and maybe share a few laughs along the way.
I currently work 40+ hours a week split between two positions. My morning job is at a technical library at a corporation, and I LOVE IT. I love doing reference work and knowing that my assistance impacts research on a large scale. It also gives me a chance to work on projects that I would not have an opportunity to work on if I was in an academic or a public library. But, like most special libraries, we are constantly marketing ourselves within the organization in order to retain relevancy. It's commonplace for special librarians in these environments to keep an “elevator speech” handy in case their superior asks them the fair but very blunt question: “Why should we keep you?” At times, I have felt outright intimidated by those that ask me this, but I'm slowly coming to the realization that the bottom line is the reality, and that sometimes our worth is not always tangible. But that still doesn't stop us from using Excel to document our metrics and showing them off at fancy meetings (I call them fancy because sometimes food is served. Any meeting with food is considered fancy. Remember that, kids.).
My afternoon/evening job is my GA-ship at the Valencia Branch of Pima County Public Library. This position is fulfilling ways that differ from the technical library, because my roles and duties are so varied. In one moment I could be helping a customer how to set up an email account, and then the next moment I could be whisked away to assist the Children's Librarian with the arts & crafts event. No two days are the same, and I can honestly say that I have never “watched the clock” during any of my shifts. It is a whirlwind that has given me stories to tell, and has quite possibly made me a more interesting person.
Of course, public librarianship presents its challenges. We are public servants, and sometimes the public is not so nice. We see the greatness and the horrors of humanity, sometimes all at once. We are also in a position of authority. This means that we need to be poised during times that are deserving of a major freak-out (i.e. like when three people call out sick and 1500 people come through the doors in a single day). I learn so much every single day, and I'm grateful to the staff (and customers) who have the patience to teach me.
I hope that everyone's experiences are going well.
Take care of yourselves, y'all.
Rachel Martinez, Knowledge River Cohort 14