Am I alone in feeling like we put on our librarian hats eons ago? That eon actually sums up to just about 6 weeks! Yet, I feel like we are building a strong foundation in reference and librarianship. In constructing this foundation, we have worn many hats. Our first day, we walked in and put on our librarian hat; looking at how good service could be help us be better baby librarians. We constantly had on our dutiful student hat as we made our way through the readings. Our hat growing larger as we absorbed the information. Then customer service paper research really thew us into the deep end of the pool where we treaded water under the weight of multiple hats: patron and researcher. Later, when we wrote the paper we left the patron hat behind and put back on the librarian hat to analyze what we had learned. With each new iteration of each hat that foundation becomes stronger and we delve more deeply into the pool of librarianship.
There are all the hats, and narwhals swim in water (which is like a pool!), get it?!
In class last week we put on back on our researcher hat to look at the Customer Service Project Data Dump. When I looked at everyone else’s experiences, I was left with a single question after noting that there was a single score of one in the overall interaction rating and it was mine. Did I meet particularly horrible people or am I way way too harsh in evaluating staff performance? Writing now, I could just as easily ask “were my fellow classmates too easy in their evaluations?”. I do not think there is a correct answer, but what it does show is the relative nature of just about everything. My evaluation as the patron was one, but if I was the staff or reference librarian perhaps I would have rated the interaction differently. Amidst the flurry of activity the staff face on a daily basis, perhaps I came at a busy time when they could not give me all their attention. As the staff, I would base my performance rating on how well I was able to efficiently and effectively assist patrons; I would detract points for spending a half hour with one patron while six others waited. If I helped all six people even a little in a reasonable time period, I would consider it a job well done. As one of those patrons, who wanted a fuller answer to my question, I may consider the interaction just so-so.
Just because we are wearing one hat, doesn’t mean we have to take off all our other ones. I can be a student reading our assigned chapters and a researcher noting questions to look into more depth later. I can be a patron at a library with a time consuming question, recognize it is busy, and set up a time to with a librarian more in depth; I can put on my baby librarian/good service provider hat while already wearing my patron one. Wearing multiple hats allows us to improve. When I put on my service hat while wearing my patron hat, I become a more considerate and understanding person. If I have my baby librarian hat on and am brainstorming ideas for best reference practices, like we did later in class, putting on a researcher cap can help me synthesize information to make better suggestions or my student hat to add insights from readings.
These different hats allow us to see how different aspects of the world interact. Going with my analogy of the pool – thrown into the pool of librarianship, looking at the customer service aspect can provide a island on which to stand and explore the surrounding waters. As we continue with our studies, we will have the opportunity to put on more hats, those hats will yeild islands, and soon we have bridges to show us how the large idea contained within the pool connects to other subjects in the world. I am excited to see how librarianship connects to reference (and how that relationship will evolve!), in addition to how reference interacts with the different subjects from communication to research.
HelloHappy. Kawaii Cartoon Grunge Narwhal with hats. N.d. Redbubble.com. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.