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Reflections on Two Years as a Librarian

andy holding up the number 2

Today marks my second full year as a librarian and I’m still in love with this profession. My job is to assist people who are curious like me, people who want to learn, and I get paid for it! There have been a fair amount of changes around here recently, like the fact that we’re getting a new librarian, but it keeps things fresh. I posted at this time last year a few reflections and am still learning things, so I wanted to post some lessons I’ve learned this year.

  • Go with the flow – Sometimes things are going really great. You sometimes come across one of those moments that make it all worth it. Other times everything seems to get fouled up, or everything hits your desk at once and you get overwhelmed. This is true in any career and in life. Don’t dwell on failures because they’ll soon turn around. You’ll learn from your mistakes and be successful. On the flip side, don’t get too caught up with your successes or start boasting when things are going well. You don’t stay on top forever. There are lots of highs and lows in your career. Enjoy the good times and learn from the bad ones.
  • Give back – If you want your job to exist in 5, 10, or 20 years give back to the profession. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and join an ALA committee (though that’s an option). It does mean to give back in a way that’s meaningful and works for you. I helped organize a virtual version of the ACRL New England Chapter conference for Vermont librarians who couldn’t make the actual one. It was a great learning experience for me, benefited other librarians and the organization, and was a lot of fun. Giving back could mean presenting at conferences cool ideas your library has tried, it could mean mentoring a younger librarian or MLIS student, or it could mean volunteering with your local library association. With our actions we’re creating the future of librarianship; make sure you have a say in that future.
  • You can’t do everything – This one is especially hard for me to remember since my interests are really varied and I love trying new things. But sometimes you have to drop things. This goes for libraries in general as well as each of us in our personal careers. You can’t serve on every committee, take on every interesting project, write every paper, or teach every class. The same goes with libraries. They can’t try to be all things to all people. Once you start getting overwhelmed and stretched thin you have to think about what you can drop. Take time to reflect on what’s important to you and your career and concentrate on that.

I’m still a new librarian and am constantly learning. But I don’t think I can get away with saying, “Oh sorry, I didn’t know, I’m new,” anymore. This year’s been a good one personally and professionally. Now I have to look forward to year number three.

Andy Burkhardt

4 Comments

  1. You were one of the organizers for the virtual conference? That was awesome! I was at the real one, but it was fun knowing that we were interacting with this invisible community beyond the site, and hearing their questions come in.

  2. That's cool to hear you thought it was awesome. It's a long drive for some people in Vermont down to Holy Cross, so it was nice for some people here to still be able to participate. We got to talk with other Vermont librarians, but also still be a part of the ACRL-NEC. Though we didn't get to have the cocktail hour afterward like you folks did. :)

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