07 July 2014

A love letter to my very cool profession

I like to think I'm a lucky Librarian, in fact sometimes when I say 'Librarian' I feel a bit of a fraud.  Often times 'special libraries' like medical or corporate libraries are able to be a little less non-traditional, because we're small and we serve a very specific niche organization.  I consider myself lucky (and fraudulent) because the role I'm in now has had some pretty unique opportunities to flex my 'health business' muscles (which I like to do because their some of the only muscles I can take pride in!).

I jokingly commented to a colleague the other day that I wonder how appalled my Library-school-self would have been had I known my day would be filled with spreadsheets and various types of plans and reports.  I love it though because I see the payoff, I already have seen more enthusiasm for the Library (dreams!), and more awareness that we're very multifaceted information professionals lurking under the perceived dated title of 'Librarian'.

So what does all this have to do with anyone who doesn't care about my own nerd-esque information journey? (Although who WOULDN'T be riveted really :) )  Well part of this journey and growth as a professional is expanding my department from supporting the information needs of staff to supporting the information needs or patients, families and our communities in a new Consumer Health Library. Although this expansion into the patient and family side is not unique for a Library, we have the added opportunity of a brand new hospital being built, allowing us to (hopefully) plan the service properly.

During our planning, and through our staff and community consultations I've learned that it's not really about the information itself, THAT is plentiful.  What seems to be the key for everyone is having that information expertise, curating, teaching and guiding individuals through their health journey.  The expert service is the bread and butter: exciting and affirming for a Librarian!  It's here where I catch even myself: why do I need something affirmed that I already know?  I know Librarians are so much more than the cliché!  I KNOW I live and breathe the world of technology, information, knowledge management and information literacy so its both a natural and perfect fit for a health Librarian to extend their role into the consumer, patient and family health information field.  My Library-school-self would have been amazed at all the career possibilities outside of that ‘traditional’ Librarian.

Some other non-traditional Librarians whose Library-school selves may ALSO not have seen their future coming :)
·       Benjamin Franklin
·       Mao Zedong
·       J Edgar Hoover
·       Batgirl