As a consultant, I don’t adhere to one type of library over another. In fact, I tried to stick with the most generic track I could while working on my Masters so I wouldn’t get pigeonholed. Librarians have a really bad habit of pigeonholing what we do and each other! That said, most of my experience is with public libraries.
I like to follow school librarians though because they give good tech tips and could spark an idea for programming. What we do is so similar. And yet… I would hesitate to consult a school library being as green as I am because they are such different worlds.
Recently the Annoyed Librarian pointed out (in her usual snarky way) that ALA only really promotes public library interests.
It’s National Library Week again, and once again it annoys me. It’s not the week itself, but the pretense behind it and the vague “celebrating” that doesn’t seem tied to anything real.
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.
Yeah, well, not really. It’s implicitly an acknowledgment that as an organization the ALA really just promotes public libraries. Academic and school libraries at least have ALA divisions. Those special librarians don’t even want to have anything to do with ALA.
That made me pause… but I suppose there is some truth in it. I suppose this is true of TLA, too? Is it that there are so many more public librarians?
Earlier this week I posted a list of Twitter chats for librarians and educators that I put together. I have recently started joining some of these several nights a week and find them to be a great opportunity for learning from librarians from a wide-range of backgrounds. But I was struck by something strange… there doesn’t seem to be one dedicated to public librarians. Counter to the idea that big library associations are only supportive to public libraries, this wonderful tool that basically allows a mini library conference each night of the week isn’t being used by public librarians. Is #libchat enough for our needs? Is it that being a public librarian encompasses too many different facets?
So I thought… maybe I should start one. What do you think? #publibchat? How often? What night of the week? Around 8pm seems like a popular time. Of course, this is going to pigeonhole me for sure…
I am still toying with the idea and have asked Natalie Binder, founder of #libchat, for some advice. If you have any, please weigh in!!
UPDATE: I attended two Twitter chats for librarians (#txlchat and #libchat) on Tuesday night and kind of lurked in a third (#critlib). There seem to be plenty of venues for librarians to interact and learn from each other on Twitter. And #libchat seems to be the space where public librarians meet. So… I am putting this idea on hold for now. I want to spend more time in #libchat first before trying to reinvent the wheel. But please feel free to weigh in if you have thoughts!