Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Don't Love Books

I recently read a post by JP's 8 Bit Library Blog, entitled What Type of Media Belongs in a Library?  The article reminded me about something that I have always thought was a touchy subject, but is one worth talking about.

I don't love books.

I know so many librarians who are bibliophiles.  They live, breathe, and eat books.  While I too appreciate the ambrosial smell of a well-loved book, my passion with books really ends there.  I don't love any particular manifestation (to use the RDA term) of media.  I love stories.  I love data.  I love information.  I especially love dissemination.  But books, I can take or leave.

I'm not terrified that the book is dying.  If the book
dies, then the book dies.  I wonder if there were scribes somewhere panicking at the thought of the death of the scroll when the bound book was introduced.  It's just another type of technology, that's all.  I don't care of it's a Kindle, an ipad, a laptop, or a smartphone.  I'll read anywhere on anything.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I will always cherish some books in their bound format.  I appreciate the way they look and feel and the memories they trigger as a result.  Books will always have a place in my heart as a cherished commodity.  I simply don't believe that a progression of technology, from a bound book to a digital format, foreshadows the apocalypse.

The reason why this is such a difficult subject for me to discuss is because it happens to come up in interviews, and I'm at a loss of how to respond.  I always seem to be interviewed by bibliophiles who want to hire librarians who want nothing more than to sit around absorbing the essence of books through osmosis.  That's not what I want and that's not what I'm about.  I want to help people learn.  I want to help PEOPLE find information, not help people find BOOKS.  Etymologically speaking, I don't want to be a LIBRarian so much as an INFOrarian or an EDUrarian.

It doesn't sound so unreasonable.  If anything, I thought I always spoke to the core of what librarianship should be about.  I expected to be lauded for my thoughts.  But instead I'm always stared at like I have seven heads.  I'm treated like a pariah, cast out of the religious order of book huggers.  Is it such a crime?  To be a librarian, do you have to love books?  Or do I have to pretend to love books to get a job?

2 comments:

  1. It's brave to think differently and to let your different thinking be known. I do think that you'll need to curb your different-ness for interviews though. People like to see reflections of themselves looking back at them over the interview desk. Sad but true.

    I once interviewed for a job that I was perfect for. The guy even said, "You're perfect for this position". He didn't hire me because I refused to take my nose ring out. I thought, if he can't accept me for who I am, it's his loss. Well, it was really my loss. I ended up taking a lesser paying job in a crappy environment that didn't care if I had a nose ring or not.

    I don't think that you are alone in your thinking at all. I just think that may be easier to say what you have to to get your foot in the door and then try to change the system from the inside.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That must have been a difficult situation for you Theresa - being asked to compromise something about yourself in order to find a happy job. I've actually felt that way much of my life. I've often admired nose studs on people or tattoos (I personally find them quite beautiful) but I've always feared that it would negatively impact my career. I wonder how my choices may have changed if I never had to worry what others think. On the other hand, you can always be true to yourself, no matter what you're wearing.

    ReplyDelete