Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Library Assistants and Workers Express Themselves via Blogs

When the PCC library Technology blog started in 2006 there were at least six other library assistant/worker blogs. By the end of 2006 most of those blogs had disappeared. There was good reasons, burn-out, overloaded with the day job or not being sure that what they had to say was of interest.

I'd check from time to time but outside of the Library United for the Library Media Technicians Community (and the post seem to have stopped in 2007) it was hard to find folks or blogs that consistently talked about working in libraries that were not librarian or librarian students.

Well, Catherine kind of gave me a good kick in the pants to see if I could find contemporary examples of folks working in libraries and how they felt about it. This is just a quick look and I'm expanding this to people who blog who are not necessarily writing about being library workers but include it as part of their life experience.

Amanda at the Bell Jar
Amanda at The Blog Jar has one of the coolest looking blogs I've seen in a while, from a book junkie standpoint. I love her graphics and her sidebar challenges. This woman reads and reads a lot. Much goodness here.

Pink Roses and Chocolate has a gratitude list and one of the things she is grateful for is the opportunity to work in a library:
"Working here has been the best possible job for me. I am so grateful for the kind coworkers who genuinely care for one another, for the faculty and students that I am able to develop friendships with, for the work that I do that is not only interesting but also fulfilling."
I also like her sidebar where she had a list of quotes from famous people that end with a graphic of "Proud Bookworm".

Over at Live Journal's Library_grrls: Queer Library Staff there is gratitude for getting a Library Associate job and a bit of a fashion dilemma over what to wear if you are (her description, not mine) a "chubby queer."
"i'm wondering what is the most appropriate thing to wear? my interview clothes are a little more feminine than my average taste and are certainly too dressy for a first day, but i am worried about a false presentation."
The comments section was really supportive and offered her a variety of tips to handle being honest with her clothing preferences and balancing the dress code of the library. The work Kakis seem to come up a lot.

Speaking of clothing, there seems to be an issue of uniforms for library workers. NottGirl at Nottingham Is Crap (UK) writes about a situation of library assistants being forced to wear uniforms. You can read the news story/interview that explains the point of view of Barbara, who has been a library worker for five years. This is an extract from the article:
"...It means we can't use our initiative as much and it makes us feel like clogs in a machine. And the ultimate of this is that they want us to wear uniforms. Which means we will be just part of a machine and there will be no individuality left at all. And I think the informal, individual atmosphere of the libraries is one of the good things about them. It also means that people who are excluded from a lot of other places feel more comfortable in them. Teenage boys, asylum seekers, people like that who really don't want to be in places where there are uniformed staff. [...] They feel comfortable now but not anymore if we are uniformed."
In the article, Barbara goes into detail about her job, the patrons that visit and some of the changes that is occurring in the UK library system.

Well that is what I have come up with and it took 1.5 hours to find these folks. It is still a challenge to find library worker/assistant specific blogs but that doesn't mean they don't exist. If you know of a library assistant/worker blog that specifically talks about their working world drop a link in the comments.


Catherine Chambers said...

Fabulous sites, and thank you so much for searching them out! I'm fascinated with the idea of uniforms for library assistants (pages, or equivalent). That's a great topic for discussion and as a public library page, I have to say that I don't know how many times I'm approached with "do you work here?" Why should they have to ask? If we are a service provider and we are there to facilitate the patron's use of our services, why the heck not have something readily identifiable as a library employee (ok, maybe not a full-out uniform), but why make the patron wonder? While I'm on the subject, how do folks feel about formal greeters at libraries?

Gena said...

Well, I think I could live with a badge or photo id around my neck but I'm not a uniform kinda of person.

It took me long enough to understand that plaids and stripes don't mix so wearing a uniform everyday would just be asking for trouble. It would never look the same way twice. I'd see to it. ;-)

A greeter? Like at Wall Mart? Well, I'd have to think about that one. It might be an excellent idea for those that want assistance right away. The greeter could direct patrons to Ready Reference or a certain section of the library.

On the other hand there are some folks who might feel it is a screening process to keep them out of the library. So if there was a halfway point between a greeter and free range wandering that could be a possible answer.

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