For most librarians, their first year working in a library is the biggest learning experience of their career. I remember coming into my first library job so clueless about, well, everything and feeling a year later like a completely different person: a professional. But that time in between was filled with cringeworthy mistakes and a whole lot of anxiety.
At the same time, I felt like I had unlimited stores of passion, energy, and ideas that year. My colleagues took me seriously even though I was green, and some of those rookie ideas became services the library still offers, like chat reference. I frequently hear about new-to-the-profession librarians who are treated by their colleagues as if they need to “pay their dues” before they
and their ideas can be given consideration. I can’t imagine how quickly my passion for my work would have waned had my ideas been met with cynicism and dismissiveness.
This attitude is not only harmful to a new librarian’s morale, it also prevents the library from taking advantage of an opportunity to get a fresh perspective on what it does. There is a golden period when someone new to the library can see everything that might be strange, confusing, or problematic. In time, we all become accustomed to our surroundings, and those problems become the barely visible flotsam and jetsam of our everyday work. We should make the most of that magical newcomer vision. I always make a point of asking new colleagues to keep track of problems they see because those fresh insights can push us out of our comfort zones and create positive change for our patrons. We want to encourage these audacious ideas, even if they’re not all feasible. Read more…