Librarians & information professionals may often work alone without any additional staff. Working alone, regardless of the profession, presents its own unique challenges. Solo librarianship is common in school and special libraries. When you work alone, it becomes even more important to reach out and connect with others who are in similar situations. Librarians are generally good at helping people, sharing ideas, collaborating with each other and developing best practice. Here I’m gathering thoughts from solo librarians who are happy to share their ideas on the profession. Please contact me if you would like to contribute.
What is your favourite thing about being a librarian?
“The variety, plus where I work I get to know so many people well. As a solo librarian I am in a position to make changes. There are opportunities to do new things. I have been working as a solo librarian for 7 years and I’m learning all the time. Also, I have worked with some wonderful library volunteers, including one who has stayed for many years. I often seek her opinion before implementing changes; it’s great to have another person’s perspective!”
- Grace Hillis, Librarian, Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services / Mental Health Commission, Dublin, Ireland.
‘I enjoy helping library users find the information they are looking for and also showing them how to use the library resources.
It is also very rewarding to receive feedback from users letting you know the help which was provided to them benefited their work.
I also enjoy the variety of tasks involved working a solo librarian – each day there is always something new to learn.
Working as a solo librarian has also provided me with the opportunity to personalise the service and I think by doing this it has resulted in users coming to the library more regularly requiring assistance with their information needs’
Fiona Lawler, Librarian, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Harold’s Cross, Dublin, Ireland.
‘Librarians tend to be curious and formidable beasts who like to get to the bottom of things. That curiosity and interest in learning new things fuels so much of what we do. It also means the profession has become fantastically diverse as information and the way we access it branches out. It may differ depending on the type of library environment you work in but for most librarians there is an intrinsic sense of being future focused and ready to incorporate new technology trends in their work. Librarians are increasingly involved in technical and digital projects and in some ways have become translators of sometimes complex technical information across our organisations.
This constant adaptation to change can be challenging but librarians seem to thrive on it and it makes the job interesting. In a single role, or even in a single day you can span the breath of the knowledge seeking and generation cycle; searching, evaluating, synthesising, disseminating, creating and teaching’.
Laura Rooney-Ferris, Information & Library Manager, Therese-Brady Library, Irish Hospice Foundation, Dublin, Ireland.