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Librarians and Optimism

November 24, 2008

Okay, so right up front I have to say that this is an optimistic post about what I am a grateful for in my library. I think that librarians need to hold on to the optimism even though it is definitely doom and gloom on the budget front and it is hard to be cheery when it is cold and dreary out.

But more than any tech tool I can promote here or any website I can hyperlink to showcase a new cool tool, it will be your optimism and confidence that will allow you to succeed. Librarians are great at doing a lot with a little and helping others. But in order to keep doing this day after day we need to promote optimism. Optimism is not the opposite of realism, but the outlook on the world that makes any of this worth living.

So why am I optimistic? Because anything else would just be too dreary to contemplate. Think about it: everyone has a ton of work to do, there aren’t enough hours in the day, or money in the budget and people still don’t get why we have graduate degrees to “put books on shelves.” Really, it is enough to get anyone down. But I think there are way more things to uplift us than get us down, really, even in a hyperlinked, Web 2.0 world.

So in honor of Thanksgiving (and because I don’t know if I’ll have time to post again this week) here is a list of my top 10 things that I am grateful for in my library:

1. Students–I love teaching and most of my students are fabulous and excited to learn. Did I mention that they are furious at book banning? How can I not love teaching students who are engaged?

2. Patrons at the Reference Desk–Yes, some are annoying but the vast majority are great. I love helping answer questions and always learn something new.

3. “Thanks!”–Even better, being thanked for helping a patron at the reference desk.

4. Creating workshops–I love sharing information and my colleagues are eager to learn

5. Freedom to try new things–I can start blogs, create gadgets and podcast at my work. I love this freedom to try new things

6. Colleagues–I have great colleagues who have a wealth of knowledge and are willing to share.

7. Research–I love being able to do research that I think will help my library and be able to share that research with others.

8. Connections–I think one of the best things is forming connections with the community, people and other librarians.

9. People using the library–At least at my library, we are usually overflowing with students using the library. I love the activity.

10. Career–Last but certainly not least, I am thankful to have a not only a job but career in librarianship. I love my work and never take for granted that I am employed.

So what are you thankful for in your library? It is always easy to complain, but sometimes hard to praise. But trust me, if you think about what rocks in your library you’ll not only be more optimistic but you’ll be more confident when you try out new Web 2.0 stuff too.

Until next time…have a great Monday!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Lori Townsend permalink
    November 25, 2008 1:44 pm

    I love this post. I’m prone to cynicism and it’s nice to take hopefulness seriously too. I’m grateful for laughter – enjoying the humor of others, colleagues, patrons and students – and especially laughing at myself. Libraries are great places for fun – whether you are feeling cynical or optimistic. Thanks Diana.

  2. Korey Brunetti permalink
    November 25, 2008 2:17 pm

    Go optimism! On a gloomy budget day, it’s nice to focus on something other than shrinking collections and expanding workloads. I’m grateful for the different perspectives of my colleagues, and for the general, collegial spirit we enjoy at our library. I’m also grateful to be learning new things about online teaching, and am excited to try out some fun new tools. As ever, I am grateful for coffee!

  3. dwakimoto permalink*
    November 25, 2008 2:44 pm

    Thanks for the comments, Korey and Lori! It is hard to be optimistic sometimes, but it is well-worth the effort! I have to agree that I am completely grateful for laughter too!

  4. Tom Bickely permalink
    November 26, 2008 3:10 pm

    I gladly second the comments from Lori and Korey. It really hurts to cancel items, yet I know this is not the only aspect of our professional practice here. I’ve worked in a variety of libraries and I find this position, not only as a librarian, but as a faculty member, invites me to contribute more of myself than do many other modes of librarianship. We have a sense of community, mutual respect, and shared mission. In lieu of really good espresso on campus, I’m grateful for excellent green tea! Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Liz Ginno permalink
    December 12, 2008 2:38 pm

    I wish I had seen this earlier to add my thanks to you, Diana, and to my colleagues for providing a great working place. I truly do think that optimism is simply a way of looking at your world. I mean, I like the idea of the glass half full! So, Thank You for helping me work that way.

    • dwakimoto permalink*
      December 12, 2008 2:41 pm

      Thanks! I totally agree that optimism is simply a state of mind and the world looks much better if you’ve got rosy-colored glasses. Besides which, optimists have a lot more fun! 🙂

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