Why did you particpate in the Library Day in the Life Project?

Was is self promoting narcissism? Desire to share the most boring mundane details of your life with others (wake up, make coffee)? Or something else.

Sarah Faye Cohen shares why she didn’t participate and she’s wondering why others did. A legitimate question, actually one I’m curious about myself. The first two rounds of Library Day in the Life were small, I think less than 30 people total, then somehow this one took off, I’m not sure if it was David’s post or the mention on LISnews or what, but all of a sudden there were loads of people I’d never interacted with doing it (over 200 last count). Whoa. Awesome. Scary. Exciting.

I can’t speak to why everyone did it but I can speak for myself.

“who we are writing these memes for.”

Well, the whole thing started because I look at my blog stats and the search terms used to bring people there, the most popular ones were: librarian’s day, what it like to be librarian, what’s it like to work as a librarian, you get the idea. I assumed, because how could I know, that these were searches done by people considering librarianship or just curious.  So I thought I should blog my days, give the people what they want right? But there are so many of us doing so many things, my days wouldn’t be a good representation, so I tried to start the meme. I didn’t give it a lot thought, I just picked some people doing new and interesting things and linked to them.  I hoped people would share what they did and give insight into all different aspects of libraryland and they did!

So I wrote this meme for the people who wonder what a librarian’s day is like. Who are those people? I don’t know, I generally don’t ask patrons why they want information, I just give it to them.

I wrote the meme for myself too. I wanted to know what other librarians were doing, there are so many new exciting positions out there, I wanted to know how are they spending their time?  I’m selfish like that. ;-)

After the first round I got a lot of email from professors, librarians and lots of other people saying what a great resource it is.  Lets face it if you’re considering being a librarian today there aren’t a lot of resources for you, the last book is from 2003 and my job didn’t even exist in 2003.  I’ll admit some of the blog posts are more informative than others and I’ll be suggesting a better format if there is another round. But over all it accomplishes what I’d hoped for; a wide range of library people, not just MLS holding librarians you don’t have to have an MLS to work in a library, writing about their average day.

She next says:

But this meme leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth in part because I don’t see the meme itself having a role in our relevance, or our creativity, or out sociality (is that a word?!).

Who says that was the point? There are a lot of people working hard on our relevance, creativity and our sociality, I like to think I’m one of them.  But the purpose of the meme was to share what our average days were like, with each other, with students, with potential library workers everywhere.  It did that.  Doing this meme didn’t stop me from working on our relevance, creativity or sociality, and in face it might have helped me do those things better.  I understand Sarah and Amanda’s point, but you can be talking about something AND doing it at the same time, the acts are not mutually exclusive, but that’s another blog post.

I could go on and on but in I think Meredith Farkas has written a reply that covers most of what I’d say and I’m sure she’s written it better than I could. :-)

But at the end of the day, in a nut shell, why did I do? Because its my blog and I could.

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9 comments for “Why did you particpate in the Library Day in the Life Project?

  1. August 5, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Bobbi, this is a great post. It’s great to hear how an idea comes into fruition. And you have put together a compendium of resources for potential librarians and for current librarians looking for ways to reconsider what they do, how they do it. Awesome. And that in and of itself is the creativity, sociality, and relevance I was looking for.
    As I said to Meredith, these reply posts have made explicit what, for you, was implicit. But as you well say, that is another (forthcoming) blog post.

    Thanks for the response. It has been valuable to me, and I hope to others, in hearing you, Meredith, and others think outloud about this and share why we do what we do, in our blogs and in our days. I’m glad for the discussion and for the resource!

    • August 5, 2009 at 1:19 pm

      Great post! It clearly articulates why I participated in the past (I was on vacation this year, so I’ll probably do it another week) and why I am thankful that you started this project. On another note, I wrote my book (just came out in July) to be exactly the resource you described for people considering being a librarian today. Of course, it’d be best in conjunction with this project. :)

    • August 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks for asking the questions Sarah. The project got so big this time I’m not sure everyone who posted even understood the purpose. :-)

  2. August 6, 2009 at 10:03 am

    I suspect “Why I participated” could become a meme in its own right, and I’m sure many people had many different reasons. I know most of my blog readers are family and friends, and I just started a new job, my first as a professional librarian. A lot of people have asked me how it’s going and what, exactly, a Systems Librarian is and what I do all day, so I figured this Library Day in the Life thing was a great way to tell them. I had no thoughts of people who might find it randomly. And in the end, it turned out to be a pretty neat thing for me, too: Being very new in my job, it was nice to be able to look at the end of the week and say, “Alright, I am doing stuff.” I’m looking forward to doing it again next year, when I’m more settled and hopefully accomplishing more than learning the ropes.

  3. August 9, 2009 at 8:05 am

    It is interesting to think of the justification behind participating: at the time, I didn’t think very hard about it. I liked the idea, so I did it.

    I guess what I liked about it was the behind-the-scenes component, which is often a mystery to non-librarians. And even though I was at a public desk for the entire day I was recording, I’m sure at least half of what I did went unnoticed by the public.

    Not that I think the public reads my blog, but I know library students do, and many of them commented about how much they enjoyed it. So that made it worth it right there.

    But back the behind-the-scenes part – I think it’d be a great idea for something of this nature to be a regular feature on library blogs/websites or newspaper particles. Lexi the Intern is doing something like this, and I like the idea of giving the public a more full picture of what we do all day, instead of just checking in and out books.

    • August 9, 2009 at 10:11 am

      Ah so you’re suggesting that library staff blog about their day for the public right on the library site? Interesting. I’ll keep this in mind and play around with it.

  4. August 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I think this is just a great idea. We all know this feeling that at the end of some days we are just not sure anymore what kept us busy all the time. So to once in a while keeping track of what was going on is helpful for me – and maybe interesting for my colleagues. It took me a while, but finally I participated:
    http://blog.goethe.de/librarian/index.php?/archives/184-A-Day-in-the-Life-of-a-Librarian.html

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