What Do You Do?

By , December 6, 2010 1:24 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

When asked about our profession, do we always have the best answer, and are we able to clearly convey our day-to-day work activities? In certain cases, where explanations enter the realm of the overly abstract, I find that a good food analogy often removes confusion.

Have you ever had that perfect pizza slice or experienced the most wonderful cup of coffee, only to return in an effort to relive the magic and disappointingly, find a greasy piece of cardboard or water-downed mud, respectively. Too many factors can contribute to these mishaps: poor ingredients, a different chef or barista, their time and attention, your subjective perspective, and/or your expectations.

As librarians, we strive for consistency and quality. We look for reliable data and present unbiased results, and create digestible information. The dishes we serve are answers provided over the phone or e-mail and sometimes face-to-face. The setting we prepare is not only the resources that surround a reference-interview and the physical library, but also the atmosphere of service.

We keep our recipes fresh and inspired by staying on-top of new databases, Government data, structures for information storage and access, knowledge management, and librarianship in general. Paying attention to our customers is equally important. We learn their needs and deliver products with time and cost sensitivity. Being a librarian isn’t just about having fancy databases and books, just as being a chef isn’t just about having seasonal vegetables and rare herbs. Rather, it’s about the composition that results once our hands and minds are on it, creating true brain food.

One Response to “What Do You Do?”

  1. Jan Lawrence says:

    Really enjoyed reading this!

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