Friday, July 17, 2009

I have been wondering about the time when I am officially allowed to call myself a librarian. Do I have to wait until the students show up in August? Am I officially a librarian once I finish my degree? I've been wondering about this privately and found this post on the Annoyed Librarian's blog, thanks to a classmate in LIS 724. The Annoyed Librarian's question (What is a Librarian?) received 90 responses!

I know exactly where I was when I knew I was a teacher. Strangely, it's not that far from where I am sitting right now, in my school's library, even though this school didn't even exist then. I was driving south on Route 59, approaching Route 72. I had just been hired to teach fourth grade at Woodland Elementary School in Carpentersville. I had to pull over because of the overwhelming feeling that "I was a teacher." I felt like I had just become a nun, prepared to spend the rest of my life serving the church. (Little did I know how appropriate that comparison was!)

I believe I have transformed into a librarian slowly. Making the decision to attend library school was an emotional first step. I mourned the loss of my students, my classroom, and the identity of teacher, even though I still had several years yet to teach. Yet, once I made that decision, my mindset began to change.

The more library classes I attended, the more I felt like a librarian. I clearly remember being part of a committee meeting for a summer reading program and advocating, for the first time, the library and librarian perspective instead of a classroom teacher perspective.

Being hired in March as the librarian at Rose School went a long way towards feeling like a librarian, but I still don't have any real experience. Did I become a librarian on July 1st, when the new fiscal year started? I now have the School Library Media endorsement on my teaching certificate, but I don't have my master's degree yet. Will I be a librarian on August 17th when I finish my last class?

Even after I finish my degree, I still want to do an internship and earn my Type 10 certificate. Will I be more of a librarian then than I will be this September?

I found the many comments to the Annoyed Librarian's question intriguing. I don't know that there really is an answer. I do know that it's going to be an exciting (and odd) first day of school on August 24th. I haven't had that "Ahh, NOW I'm a librarian" moment like I did with teaching, but I'm hoping it's yet to come.


  1. Pam, you crack me up! You are a librarian and will always be a teacher as well. I believe that yes, being a librarian requires certain skills and that those skills have been expensively packaged into something called a certificate and/or a MLS, but being a librarian goes beyond all of those pieces of paper. They are all just hoops that we have been made to jump through. I believe that being a librarian does not require all of those titles and hoops but a love of serving others - kids, young adults, adults, seniors, EVERYONE! Yes, library school helps us learn the lingo and much of the tech stuff and many useful tips that we will definitely need to succeed. However, I do not believe that library school provides us with the one essential requirement for being a librarian -- the love of learning and serving others.

  2. Librarian or teacher, the most important thing is the power to hand out detention :P