David Lee King started the discussion; Andy Woodworth continued it at Agnostic, Maybe; and Nancy Dowd at The 'M' Word - Marketing Libraries adds a marketing perspective. They are all talking about highlighting the real people behind the books and buildings - library staffers who make our magic happen. Getting staff into the limelight and recognizing their substantial contributions to innovation, great service and great ideas is a wonderful way to connect to our communities.
In a reply to Andy's thoughtful post that was re-posted at LIS News I stated:
"I think librarians have suffered long enough in being the "behind-the-scenes" folks. Let us put faces and rock star status on all the champions of literacy, information and free access for all. I've seen it enough times in children's work - sometimes being that Pied Piper of books and info leverages more doors opening to do good library work than pretending it's just buildings and collections that make the library great. Visionary, enthusiastic, creative, idea-filled committed library workers are THE rock stars and DO make libraries great for the community. I have a secret thrill each and every time I see a librarian celebrated and/or noted as newsworthy. Librarians rock!"
I've been thinking alot about this issue since I got the call two months ago with the surprise news that I would be receiving the WI Librarian of the Year award. I've always considered myself a working grunt. I do the very best I can for my patrons. They are the most important people in my library work formula. But because I love them up with great service and programs, by the gods and goddesses, they love me right back and it translates into massive support for new ideas, fundraising and volunteerism. I, like many of my children's and teen librarian colleagues, get to be a "rock star" with the kids and parents because they see the face behind the building and collections. We rock our little world and it makes coming to work every day a little more special.
The award came with a different "rock star" status that has surprised me and made me think alot about our place in the larger library community. I was interviewed along with a collegue from the award winning Library of the Year on state-wide public radio - and we weren't being asked, "Why did we receive this award", but substantive questions about the state of all types of libraries and libraries' future viability. And the call-ins to that show! Oh my gosh, people loved their libraries...and very specifically, LOVED THEIR LIBRARIANS!! And I didn't hesitate to say in that forum that folks in each community bond with their library staffers and take great pride in the work they do.
So let's not hide our lights under bushel baskets. Do celebrate each other in libraries - our expertise, talents, innovations and dedication. We are all -each day, in all of our libraries - Librarians of the Year. So let's rock on!
Image: 'Alma Nativa' http://www.flickr.com/photos/11229881@N05/2659070334