|The fabulous Newcastle City Library|
In the workshops and the seminars, the point was raised repeatedly that librarianship is a people profession. Sure, you get to work with books, write stuff if you want to, use the latest technology, but fundamentally libraries are about the people inside and outside them. Sibylla Parkhill’s session on stakeholder expectations drove home the point that libraries have a variety of interested parties: from senior management to library members; from library staff to outside agents. Librarians have to able to interact and communicate with all these people of different levels.
And it’s not just the people we deal with in our work environments: there are also our professional contacts and the people we meet on the journey. For me, these are people that make this such a valuable profession. Events like yesterday are vital for removing the blinkers: working in my tiny library makes me forget that there are other people like me out there; people with the same concerns, the same ideas, and thankfully in many cases the same sense of humour. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working in the profession longer or maybe – heaven forefend! – I’m actually becoming an adult but I felt a lot more comfortable interacting with other new professionals than at the New Professionals Conference in July (fun though it was). In fact, I got so involved with other people and networking that I actually gave up my precious first class train seat to sit and talk libraries with a group of other new professionals on the train home (first class was only £1 extra so it’s no great loss).
|A room of blurry new professionals|
Postscript: On a personal note, the strangest thing about the whole day was people knowing who I was before I introduced myself: from Twitter, from my Guardian piece or because I have a more extensive online presence now. I found it to be a very unusual but not unpleasant sensation.
What other people thought: