With all of my hesitation, complaining, and frustration with many aspects of library and information science, I think it’s important to note that there is one part of it that I completely love and that I would happily do ALL DAY LONG if I could find a job that allowed me to.
It’s actually two things that are sort of the same: booklists and libguides. Before I knew what these were, they were basically all I wanted to do, except I thought I would own an awesome bookstore and call them treasure maps or something, and they would be thematic and clever, because instead of “if you liked Twilight, try these,” they would be things like “nobody does angst like Winona Ryder” and “I paint with words,” which are simultaneously meaningless and yet more interesting and telling than readalikes for popular things. I suppose I have been doing these for awhile, since that’s basically what I do at AllExperts.com, which I joined before I had ever heard the phrase “reader’s advisory.” And sometimes family friends will ask me for a list of titles for their reluctant 12-year-old daughter or whatever, and I assume they are at least somewhat helpful.
Themes are fun, man! This is why I started blogging for work based on observance days and hot topics, not just telling people what we most recently added to our database. This is why I started blogging for YALSA’s The Hub blog, where thus far I have mostly done booklists and not essays on reading or author interviews. I will forever love the challenge of making a single word mean myriad things, like my latest assignment for class, where I created a double handout of great middle school and high school media titles that in some way reference the term “escape” and go from historical fiction to slave memoirs to futuristic fantasy and beyond.
There is nothing more fun for a mediaphile than putting together media lists, writing annotations, and coming up with a title. And there is nothing more useful, I hope, than recommendations for books, movies, and music that go beyond the things you could have figured out just by reading a book spine and realizing that it’s another dystopian knockoff. And libguides are great, because you give people lists of materials that might be useful for their research/interest in a certain topic, but you also teach them how to fish, as it were, and give them the skills they need to continue researching/searching on their own, which is great since so many people don’t know that libraries offer these things, and others don’t like to be taught in person, and libguides allow you to learn and find without interacting with other humans or setting foot in a library.
HOWEVER. Seeing as I do not yet work full time in a library, and seeing as how the booklists I made that went outside of school assignment and into actual library where I volunteer has not, as far as I know, been used yet, I have no idea if they are actually used very often. Like, if actual users of libraries like to take a look at them and find them helpful, or if they are yet another way that librarians are happy funtimes way excited, well meaning people who keep things to themselves too much (see: how librarians mean well but get it wrong sometimes).
This is just another way that going into libraries scares me, because I do not yet have any confirmation that what I think of as fun and interesting and important about library service is what actually works. This is just another reason that I am thinking that my career choice is not the career I should have.
But also, do you need some book recommendations? Give me a word.