I have read much from those who wish to join the profession, and frankly I’m a bit worried about the perceptions of exactly what it MEANS to be a librarian. Speaking from the standpoint of someone who has worked in specialty libraries and public libraries, choosing a career as a librarian is not what one might think.
Many people erroneously believe that librarianship is a fine profession for those who do not wish to deal with people. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, there is no profession that I am aware of where you do not have to deal with people at all. On some level, everyone has to deal with someone whether it is a client, a boss, vendors, or salespeople. Sometimes all of those and sometimes just one or two are relevant. If you are hoping to avoid all personal interaction, librarianship may not be for you.
Another misconception is that librarianship is solely about books. It isn’t. Not only has technology changed the face of life in the new millennium, but it has changed librarianship as well. Modern librarians are not only recommending books, but recommending and troubleshooting technology issues as well. On an average day, public librarians can troubleshoot internet browser issues, printing cache problems, issues with wifi routers, and website design and access while instructing someone on how to download audio or e-books to their Nook, iPad, iPod, iPhone, Pandigital reader, Kobe, Sony, or Kindle. Yes, all in a day’s work for your average public librarian.
Do not be afraid of the job. It is a rewarding one. There is fantastic potential to grow personally and professionally. But, like any profession, it can be tough. Dealing with the public is a double-edged sword. On one side, you have the ability to help people, on the other are the people that no amount of help will satisfy. What is important is that you want to help; you want to say yes, you want to do this.
All librarians have some requirement in their jobs to help patrons, whether those patrons are community members, faculty, members or employees. Even if you consider yourself “not good with people” or “shy” you can overcome it in this profession. And we are all here to help you do just that!