“In order to be really good as a librarian, everything counts towards your work, every play you go see, every concert you hear, every trip you take, everything you read, everything you know. I don’t know of another occupation like that. The more you know, the better you’re going to be.” ― Allen Smith
I have never come across a group of more diversely fascinating people as my classmates in Library School. Yes, we all share the common interest of reading for pleasure, most of us have a large cardigan collection and thick-rimmed glasses, and we all know how to knit. But beyond that there are so many experts in so many obscure areas, and it’s such a pleasure to be around: artists, scientists, photographers, film fanatics, history buffs, chefs, tech wizards, sommeliers, unicyclists, silkscreeners, musicians – sometimes all in one!
That’s why that quote from Allen Smith rings so true to me: not only does the successful librarian have to love helping people, but they have to love learning. They have to love sharing their experiences. They have to enjoy “Experience Advisory.” Yes we’re Readers’ Advisors, but we’re also Playwatchers’ Advisors, Musiclovers’ Advisors, Eaters’ Advisors, and Roadtrippers’ Advisors. As a group, we are the people who help people live fabulous lives.
No matter what we do, as long as we are learning and experiencing, we are being productive as librarians and information professionals. Isn’t that incredible?! With that perspective in mind I know I’ve chosen the right career.
What experiences can I advise on? Table top gaming, latte creation, unicycle riding, ukulele playing, stop motion animation, beginner coding, flash mob design, bread making, recipe alteration, hat wearing according to face shape, indie folk music, hoola hooping, baseball throwing, how to get published as an amateur poet, blogging, coffee tasting, how to make the most of your hike, witty tweeting, henna tattoo care, digital photography, satirical news writing, flash fiction, Halloween costumes, homemade romantic gifts, etc, etc.
Whether I end up as a public librarian or a data analyst, I hope to always act as an Experience Advisor to patrons, coworkers, and friends. I’d love to read other people’s lists of obscure expertise. What experiences can you advise on?