As an online MLIS student, I tend to be online and searching about library topics quite a bit. This week, I came across an infographic designed by Library Connect (@library_connect ) and Joe Murphy (@libraryfuture) called, “I am a {Social} Librarian.”

LC_SocialLibrarian_infographic-2This infographic struck a chord with me for several reasons. The first is that it doesn’t just prescribe the infographic to outreach librarians, or the library staff who work with social media.

It emphasizes that being social and providing services in a way that promotes the library and your role in it should be a part of who you are as a librarian.

As librarians, we have the choice between being active or passive in our positions.

Are we making the services and programming our libraries offers known?

Do we actively seek out patrons to see if they need help when they look lost?  

Do we regularly treat the people who approach you with questions with respect for their time?

Do we treat patron interactions as opportunities for mutual learning or as chores?  

There is a website called Some e-cards that has endless categories of funny postcards, but also allows for user-generated content. One of the e-cards that has been circulating around the internet is this one:

Books Not PeopleWhen I first saw this e-card, I got a little indignant. That’s not true! I thought, I want to be a librarian because I love connecting people to the information they need! 

There’s the thrill of the hunt, and the nuance of researching a previously unknown topic to make discoveries you otherwise never would have thought about. Being surrounded by books is just a perk.

I would never say books aren’t lovely, but without people to read them and bring the author’s words to life, they are no different than any other object.

So I asked myself, is this e-card a result of misconceptions the public has about librarians, or is this how some librarians really feel? 

As so many like to acknowledge, times are changing…but the change isn’t as drastic as some might think.

There was a time when oral communication was the only form, and Socrates spoke out against writing for fear that human memory would be ruined. A multitude of platforms were then used to convey information–stone tablets, clay tablets, papyrus, reed books, vellum codices, and finally the paper-printed codex known as the book we use today.

Technologies change all the time, and the digital expression of information is just an extension of an ongoing process.

Where does that leave us, the librarians?

Not everyone in the library needs to jump on board the social media or technology bandwagon. Not all libraries have the budget or energy to staff large digital services or social media campaigns. The biggest takeaway from this and the infographic is that we need to be social; active members of our communities serving our community.

Communication. It it important to communicate with library members and staff about what is going on in the library.  To be intentional in the way we seek out opportunities to help members, and not leave encounters to chance or treat them like a chore.

If you enjoyed Library Connects’ infographic, you can download it to share at your library at the Library Connect website here.

What are your thoughts on being a {social} librarian?  What else can we do as librarians and paraprofessionals to better serve our communities in an active way?