Friday, February 1, 2013

Balance: A Romantic's View on Librarianship

I will be the first to admit that I am what is called "a hopeless Romantic" (a phrase which here means "one who is imbued with or dominated by idealism, a desire for adventure, chivalry etc. which may border on the fanciful, impractical or unrealistic.") Very much right-brain oriented, I have an active and vivid imagination  with a love of language and the beauty and rhythm of words that has been the basis for both my love of reading and my insatiable need to write.

It's true that a great portion of my decision to pursue librarianship is based on that highly idealized picture of librarians that comes from books and movies. The Music Man is my favorite musical not just for the amazing  songs and all-American theme, but predominately for the strong character of that Defender and Keeper of Knowledge, Marian the Librarian. I've always wanted to BE her. And look at the picture that heads my blog: a demurely dressed girl with wispy tendrils of hair framing her face sits shelving books surrounded by twining ivy. Beautiful, yes. Idealistic, yes. Unrealistic? probably so.

We live in the information age, where school librarians are called Media Specialists, we have to worry about copyright laws and every time someone finds out about my academic path they ask, "Aren't you worried having a job with the rise of the technology?"  My answer to them is "Nope, not really." Maybe that's little naive or maybe its still the romantic in me talking, but I know that there is a balance in me that fills out my desire to be a librarian.  Half of me (the right-brain half) wants this because of  the rosy image in my mind--that picture of dusty leather-bound tomes, overstuffed chairs, and the crisp, yellowed smell of the pages.

The other half (because I don't believe any person is completely driven by a single hemisphere of the brain) receives great satisfaction from order and organization. The mathematical precision of the Dewey Decimal system is a comfort to me, to know that there is a place for everything, so that I can put everything in its place. As I shelf-read I enjoy the full spectrum of the stacks, from the aesthetic and imaginative--running my fingers along the spines and reading the titles, to the simple joy of falling into the rhythm of the decimal numbers.

I think that to be solely focused with the image or with the organization would be a shame. A librarian should have that balance described in order to fully realize the scope of the job. At this point in my education, I still may be slightly skewed towards the romantic, but it is my hope that as I continue on, especially in this internship, I will strengthen the structure beneath the facade as I learn more about the organization it takes to keep a library running.

The only area in which I will probably continue to stay unrealistic in--and one that I can do nothing about--is the fact that I have perfect vision. It is the bane of my existence, as I am positively convinced that I would be a better librarian if I had glasses to look over. Oh well. Time will remedy that!

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