Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Back to the biblioblogosphere...

So. It begins again.

After several years of sojourning about the Asia-Pacific region and slowly attempting to wean myself away from the library industry, I am returning. Permanently. Full-time.

I will also be returning to study, and knocking off my Masters in Information Studies by the end of 2014.

I feel a little like the Prodigal Son. After repeatedly swearing that I would never return, embellished with various obscenities, here I come - a changed person.

The last year has certainly been a challenging and learning experience, with several months doing my show at various festivals, and the rest of my time working as an international development volunteer in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. It's all been an exercise in creativity, flexibility, resilience, networking, and generally being open to whatever gets thrown at me.

Then this opportunity came my way. In a library. Permanent. Full-time.

And I thought, "Yes. I want to do that." As simple as that.

I think a lot of librarians get caught up in worrying about "what it means to be a librarian". How are librarians perceived in the wider community / industries? What is one's professional obligation as a librarian, and what skills are expected? As a librarian, what things will or won't one do? And then there's all the whole "As a librarian, I want to do X, Y and Z, but my boss won't let me!"

I used to worry about all of that a lot. Call it status anxiety. Call it professional navel-gazing. Call it self-indulgent pontificating. It doesn't matter.

But what I realised is that saying "I'm a librarian" (or an ex-librarian) doesn't actually mean anything, and certainly doesn't achieve anything. I am not defined by my profession qualification, and whilst it qualifies me to do certain things, I'm certainly not entitled to anything.

I am, however, defined by the things that I do. I'm a creator, a reader, an educator, a designer, an information seeker-and-deliverer. I'm a problem solver, a capacity builder, a community developer. I engage with young people. I share the joys of culture and heritage.

This is what matters, whether it be in a theatre, a classroom, a museum, a park, a heritage site...

Or a library.