Things have settled down for a bit now, though every few years librarians, especially those in schools have a panic attack about what we’re called. Rest assured, I will never argue because I will never want to be called anything other than a librarian. The only qualifier I’d add is “school” librarian (versus public librarian or academic librarian) but even then, I’ve put too much effort into it.
The panic can be attributed to two events: the infusion of technology in schools and the recession. The former called in to question what the role of the librarian was (or wasn’t) and the latter slashed jobs in reaction to tightening budgets at the expense of students (along with programs like music and art). So we wanted to keep relevant and with that came the need to reinvent ourselves a la Madonna or Sean Combs. Madonna did it with her music and fashion choices while Combs did it with name changes. Librarians followed Combs’ strategy. What if we called ourselves school media specialists? But we’re also instructors, so what about teacher librarians? Many couldn’t fathom staying librarians without a name change to go along with our changing role.
But I’ve never had this crisis. I’ve been a librarian for ten years and I will continue to be a librarian well into the future. Is it because I know what I’m about and therefore don’t need to fuss about a name? Probably and also it’s confusing to change names. Maybe that’s why many more women are also choosing to not change their names when marrying– there’s an ownership over who you were for years before meeting a significant other. I own being a librarian. I love being a librarian. I even had this conversation at a Board of Regents presentation several years ago.
And, it simplifies things when I go to work at the library every day. I’m a librarian and I work in a library? Mind blown! Plus, it translates well in their non-student lives because they have access to other libraries now and in their future and aren’t we about the same things? We’re sharing print and digital resources, providing community spaces, engaging in conversations and advocacy, and bringing people together.
That’s my mission, my passion, my job, my title. Period.