Why are you …?

Torii gates 1

You answered, Why am I a librarian (or insert your favorite information professional title here)? Thank you for a set of fun responses. Why I did I open the question to all information professionals? There are a lot of unique roles in libraries. There are a bunch of names for those roles within libraries. Some people remind us to not take titles too seriously. Some are for reals. Still need more proof?

Next, I adhere to the be nice rule. Yes, I do not think we need people who are bullies -in their professional or personal lives. We need less sardonic, mendacious, apathetic, dejected and mean-spirited people in our profession. I still included those comments though.

Which reminds me of the time I got stabbed by a pen knife standing up to a bully. I stood there staring him in the eyes, unflinching. Then, he ran off scared. You are only as weak as you believe you are. Don’t let those comments dissuade. Fight the good fight. Say fair, good things about people you know; ignore the rest. They’re not worth your time. Snarky is so web.0.

“to be nobody but yourself in a world doing its best to make you everybody else is the hardest battle any human can ever fight and never stop fighting.”
-e.e. cummings



Your responses below



1. I prefer to call myself an “Information manager” because that’s what I do all the time: manage information and because I do not work in a Library. I like helping other people find what they’re looking for and design new ways of makes things more findable.

2. It’s an easy job

3. It combines my love of people with my love of the hunt (for information!)

4. I needed a job with a salary.

5. It seemed like a career in librarianship would give me a lot of options. At the time, I didn’t know where I wanted to live….My first job was as “Acquisitions Specialist” for a federal government contractor. About 2 years later, I was an “Internet Librarian.” Then I was a “Internet Terminology Librarian.”

6. I wanted a career with no stress. Being a librarian is totally stress-free. I’m a career-changer. I came from the corporate world. The library world <i>really is</i> stress-free compared to the “real world.”

7. I Need

8. See #2. [Respondent means the second question I asked. Post coming soon.]

9. I like the work, I find people’s questions interesting, and it’s different every day, which suits my attention span.

10. I wanted to be a professor but I liked too many subjects to pick just one. As a librarian you can study whatever you want.

11. Don’t know why you are a librarian. Let’s speculate: – you’re a huddled mass yearning to breathe free! – you lost a round of beer pong and the loser had to go to library school! – you won your library degree as a Publishers Clearing House.consolation prize!

12. I am an information wonk and I like to help people find all sorts of information.

13. I like to help people. My Dad is a Social Worker for the blind and my Mom is a retired Registered Nurse.

14. I am a librarian because I er ah … darn it I don’t know. It seemed like a good job at the time and I don’t think I’d like anything else quite as much. I feel like I help bring order to the universe.

15. Because I love the job. I love helping people find information, I love books, knowledge and libraries in general. I adore the fact that I can spend hundred’s of dollars on books for the library that people will enjoy reading. I enjoy working with children, sharing books, doing programs, helping with homework and thus chose to become a children’s librarian.

16. Schooling harms children by forcing them to deny their life’s passions, teaching them that learning has discrete end-points (final exams, graduations, etc.), and — worst of all making them intellectually dependent on expert teachers. I became a librarian to help children become more intellectually independent, to foster a love of self-directed learning.

17. Computers and books are fun. Getting paid decently is good. Sucky pay rules out chain book stores, but allows for librarian jobs.

18. In the end I had to give in to genetics. I’m third generation.

19. Gives me a chance to help people, make a little ey, and keep learning stuff too.

20. I love research. I like teaching people and I like books. What else was I going to do?

21. Because I like the work, parts of it anyway, and the pay is good. There are times I actually don’t mind helping people. Since I work in a college library I feel a little bit like I’m “doing some good” as well.

22. It’s an honorable career that suits my skills and talents and it pays decently. Plus I get to work with books.

23. I am a librarian because I am a people-person and a dilettante. I’m a smart person who couldn’t settle into one discipline.

24. I have my MLS and need to recoup my investment so I can become something else. I entered the field as an idealist.

25. The thrill of the hunt.

26. It presented itself as the best way to earn a living at the point that I finished an MA in my chosen field and needed to help support my student husband.

27. – couldn’t think of a better fit for my skills, interests, and previous work experience – wanted a job with continuous challenges (ie: you never know when the person approaching the desk is going to ask you a tough reference question), and variety of duties – I like people, and I like helping them – it’s not physically demanding.

28. I got the degree so what else am I going to do, huh?

29. I like to read, to learn and to discover. I like helping people.

30. I believe access to information is one of the most important things nowadays. And I think there’s no other professional who cares more about how the user will access and use this information than librarians.

31. I enjoy helping people, organizing things, and being able to use my liberal arts background. I don’t have to work with food or business people; I enjoy being at an academic institution.

32. Good question.

33. I like helping people and some of the other traditional roles (doctor, lawyer, accountant) didn’t seem as good a fit.

34. This is a “straight” answer. I wanted to teach (and coach sports) outside the context of the classroom, and a high school library seemed like the best way to do that. After early experiences in high school libraries, I was fortunate that the public library job opened in the low population rural area where I wanted to live. Getting to share with people of all ages and interests over the last 33+ years has been exceptionally rewarding … except for the pay and benefits.

35. I am a librarian for a lot of reasons. Mainly, I enjoy helping people. But I also like earning my living doing something that that helps further knowledge, that supports education and openness and equality, and that doesn’t exist solely to make rich people or corporations richer. I am a librarian in an academic library because I believe that access to higher education can change a person’s life for the better and because I enjoy being part of a collegial and inquisitive environment. I am a library manager because I want to inspire at least one person as I have been inspired and create opportunities for growth and learning for my staff as opportunities have been created for me, and because I want to prove that a woman can excel in leadership positions traditionally dominated by men.

36. So I can participate in useless pseudo-academic nonsense like this survey.

37. Because some mean, public “librarian” would not help me find information when I really needed help.

38. I am a librarian because I have this unquenchable thirst for finding information. Also, I like to work with books and other reading materials. Indeed, my intent was to stay in academics for a lifetime by working as an academic librarian. After earning other post-secondary degrees that could never guarantee any job whatsoever, I decided to earn a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree for practical work skills. As for my career prospects, they are rather slim because I compete with other librarians for a limited number of librarian jobs. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as a “librarian shortage” whatsoever!

39. because I get to tell stories to 4 year-olds, 84 year-olds and everyone in between……… and get paid for it!

40. I went to the careers office at my undergrad school less than 2 years in. I talked with someone there about what I could do and what I wanted to do, and she suggested the possibility of being a librarian. I had never thought about it before, but it really seemed like the obvious thing for me to do. Throughout most of my life I’ve been better and using libraries than other people my age and I also love using them.

41. Librarianship was just a perfect fit for me. I was told by several teachers and professors that I should go into teaching, but I didn’t have a passion for it like I did for libraries. Now I work in a college library and get to collaborate with the professors and teach the odd online research skills course.

42. Because it pays slightly better than my other job options, and has better hours.

43. It allows me to work with information and also help people access and understand information. In my case, the information is local history and preserving history.

44. i love books and reading.

45. Because I ENJOY interacting with library staff (I’m in a consortia that offers services to libraries. Have been in consortia work for 24+ years). [Email me.]

46. Because there is no one other field where u can be a book lover, gamer, techie, geek, and love your job.

47. I am a librarian because I get to help people (I am an academic/instruction librarian), play with technology, work with very nice people AND, best of all, I do not have to sell one thing to make a living…

48. The usual — loves books & libraries.

49. Public librarianship manages to link up all the things I like to do with the things I believe I ought to do. It allows me to combine my feeling of responsibility for my community and/or craving for social justice with my liking of books and technology.

50. I’ve always been a Librarian – it was my favorite game as a kid; better than school or store or house.

51. Because no other profession would have me. Also, I am obsessive and picky.

52. For the money.

53. At first it was a job at a college, now it is part of my life mission to help others get a college education.

54. I seem to have an affinity for finding things, although I am not very organized….

55. To make sure people find the information they need.

56. Because I wanted to be one, I like the work.

57. I like solving problems and thought I could do so at the reference desk.

58. I love finding answers, people and books!

59. I got an undergraduate degree that would have required a Ph.D. to do anything with. I picked librarianship because it was a “safe” choice (short, easy degree program; could complete via distance education), and I didn’t know what else to do.

60. I enjoy working with people, I like to read, and I love discovering new information.

61. I love books, and I love working with kids. It’s perfect.

62. What other job offers such variety of work?

63. Because I really believe in libraries. I believe libraries are about the last institutions in the world to offer free education for anyone who wants to learn.

64. It was was that or a career as an archaeologist. And when I discovered that being an archaeologist wouldn’t include searching for treasures like Indiana Jones (yes I was very young) I decided searching for information would be the best choice. The proximity to all the books was an added bonus.

65. Because I love connections. I connect people with information, people with people, people with answers, people with books.

66. I enjoy helping people, but can’t stand blood, so I couldn’t be a doctor or nurse. After working in some bookstores, I discovered that I like helping people find information (I am a confirmed bibliophile), so I went to library school.

67. When I was in high school, the librarians were amongst the most influential staff when it come to fostering a love of reading, and appreciating literature. Once I graduated from my undergraduate humanities degree, it seemed like the obvious choice, where I’d be able to share this knowledge with other people who are just as passionate about books and reading.

68. Because I matter (make a significant positive difference) to the people who ask me for help or who accept my freely offered help.

69. I like the ability to work independently, and I like the diversity of projects I can undertake. I also like to help people.

70. because I love to get people to information, organize everything, and break barriers at any given opportunity.

71. Because I have learned one of my best strengths is as an intermediary and facilitator of information and people.

72. For the variety of questions I am able to answer at the reference desk and the variety of things I get to work on (collection development, programming, etc.,).

73. It provides an intersection of thinking and using my intuition that I find satisfying. It’s about the intersection of people and systems, and you really have to become familiar with both to do the job.

74. I chose to become a librarian, because I wanted to help others engage with information and encourage a passion it. I also had a love of knowledge and research and wanted to find an occupation that allowed me to pursue this daily.

75. h.

76. I’m very nosy and want to know it all. And want to know what others want to know.

77. it’s a combination of a love for learning and helping people…and fate..haha!

78. It is the best job in the world. I get to learn something new every day and help others to find the information they are looking for. I like meeting new people and doing different things. I love that everyday there are always new things happening at work.

79. I really like helping people find information.

80. I am a librarian because I love research and learning, and as such I love helping other people find interesting and useful information on a daily basis. That and of course I am a self-professed bibliophile.

81. I like to handle data and help people find data.

82. Because I love what I do and I love going to work every day (and I’m pretty good at it). I find new challenges & opportunities each day, giving me the variety I want from my work environment (never a dull moment).

83. Because it allows me to do three things I love: help people, explore new things, find solutions to problems.

84. Because I recognized that libraries were in a time of exciting change. I wanted to be a part of it – especially the technological change.

85. i thought i would be an academic and then realized i would be miserable. i slouched around in lame jobs for a couple of years and then decided that librarianship would keep me close to academia. I was right!

86. I love helping people and I love knowledge– I have to wonder if I would like this profession as much as I do know if I’d been been 20 in 1950, before we had such instant access to information. I am really not a fan of those old green books.

87. Because I don’t always deal with huge amounts of stress very well, and the audition to audition life of a musical theatre performer would have obviously not been a good fit. So – I needed to get a degree in something that would actually get me a steady income at my day job (vocal performance degrees aren’t really good for anything) Music librarianship sounded interesting, and librarianship in general was surprisingly appealing to my personality.

88. I like finding things and helping people.

89. I like libraries. I have OCD, so I like things to be in order. I like helping people. It seems like a stress-free job, and pays fairly well. It is something I can do as a second career, and I can probably choose my location.

90. I love books and I wanted to help people.

91. Because it paid 3 times what I was making before I went to library school.

92. I worked for ten years in the admissions office of a psychiatric hospital. I decided I wanted to work someplace that people WANTED to be.

93. Because those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Because I do love a cracking good story and like to make sure others like me can find them. Because I like helping people without needing to know their history or their business.

94. Because I think making information available to all, no matter who you are, what you look like, how much money you make (if any), is important and a good thing to do.

95. Essentially I am a librarian because I have a strong love of books. But that’s not all. I am a librarian because I like finding things and helping people find things. That’s my favorite part of the job. The books are an added bonus. I love finding difficult information for patrons and helping them figure out where to find information.

96. I like helping people.

97. I have nearly insatiable curiosity about almost all things. This really lends itself to reference work and reader’s advisory.

98. Helping myself and others make a clearer sense of information in the world.

99. After all this time…mainly inertia.

100. h.

TTW Contributor: Lee LeBlanc

3 thoughts on “Why are you …?”

  1. I’m currently a MLIS student and I enjoyed reading this fascinating range of responses. Thanks!

  2. In the immortal words of Lloyd Dobler, “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” And unlike Lloyd, I’m not so good with the kick boxing…

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