I don’t know that I’ve talked about my job much on here but I started this post as an IG post and as you can see it became very long. And I felt too maudlin for IG. But I also felt it deserved a spot. People need to know these things. I know everything became harder two years ago, libraries are not the exception. I will also do everything I can to dispel the myth that librarians just sit around and read.
I missed National Librarian’s Day over the weekend. Honestly I wasn’t sure I wanted to post. I wasn’t sure how I wanted it to come off if I did post. I could be the happy perky Librarian and celebrate all that we get to do and be every day or I could be real and tell you all that we face every day. And I feel right now realness is what is needed because librarians are not OK.
Right now book bannings and challenges are at an all time high with even state legislatures weighing in. In a world where Ukrainian librarians are scrambling to save their country’s history and priceless works, we still have people burning books ala Footloose style.
Tiktokkers looking for more views are conducting “First Amendment Audits” not realizing they are threatening the greatest defenders of that amendment.
For years and years we have fought to keep our doors open. We have encouraged people to come in and browse our stacks. Scheduled educational and entertaining programs. Held workshops and after school programs. Anything we can think to remind people we are still relevant and then two years ago we shut our doors. Some people shut their doors for more than a year, some for nine weeks. It doesn’t matter how long it was we told people to stay away so they have.
We work in a profession that is not recognized as being professional. We’re told that “anyone off the street can do our jobs.” All while being told we have to have a masters degree to do our job. We watch people in equal supervisory roles in our cities get paid twice as much as us. The misconception that we’re the little old ladies who sit at our desks and read all day has not changed in the past 100 years. We are not recognized as the tech guru, the reference source, the social worker, the computer programmer, book reviewer, child’s playtime coordinator, musician, craft master, program director, entertainment coordinator and so much more.
We’re told our jobs are obsolete due to the World Wide Web even though the majority of our patrons don’t have a computer, WiFi or a printer at home.
And we do our jobs anyway. We do it for the child who is so proud to get their first library card. For the non reader who finally finds that book, that series and it all clicks. For the moms who need a five minute break or time to socialize with other moms. For the parents who don’t have the cash to spend $$ at the book fair. For the jobless who need a computer to fill out applications. For the kids who need a safe space after school or the homeless who need shelter from the freezing cold/blistering heat. We do it for all of them.
So happy National Librarians Day to all my fellow librarian warriors. You are so much more than the world knows.