A future librarian’s promise – A TTW Guest Post by Carlie Graham

Note from Michael – Carlie is a WISE student taking my Hyperlinked Library course. Carlie wrote this post as part of her course blogging.


I’ve been reflecting on what kind of librarian I wish to become, and in the process, I discovered the social media guidelines I developed form a beautiful basis.

As a future librarian, I promise the following to members, colleagues, and to myself that I will:

Be curious.
My learning will never be finished. I want to learn from colleagues and members, and promise to never be afraid to say “I don’t know.” I will give others the benefit of the doubt that their intentions are positive even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment.
I will read outside the boundaries of library literature.

Be appreciative.
I will be grateful for all the positive things librarianship brings to put into context the few negative interactions that will occur.

Be a valued member.
I will contribute to the profession, and create meaningful learning opportunities for members. I will be mindful as I navigate my community to look for opportunities in disguise that the library could easily fix. I will also pay it forward and support MSLIS students just as I have been mentored by amazing librarians.

Be collaborative.
I will continue to enjoy group work, and will task myself (and for those who know me, you know what a huge task this is) to listen more and talk less.

Be participatory.
I will speak up to create engaging, meaningful, and fun library that demonstrates to members the library cares. I will set aside funds to attend favorite conferences.
I will work to counteract hierarchy by building networks.

Be proud.
I refuse to say “librarian” apologetically or to accept library stereotypes. When I see other librarians exhibiting them I will be curious and engage in a dialog that helps move the profession forward, respecting tradition and people.

Be authentic.
Of everything on this list, this one feels the most important. I know I will do work that I don’t absolutely love, but if I think it’s moving the profession or the library in the wrong direction, I will be brave and speak up.

Be respectful.
I will treat others as they want to be treated. I commit to create a truly inclusive library. I will honor the skills of all library staff, and will never belittle anyone for not having an MLIS degree, because I know what that feels like.

Be responsible.
I won’t waste the time of others, and won’t use my powers of reference skills to hold members hostage as I show them how to search at times when they just want the answer. Sometimes, it’s OK to take shortcuts if it’s for the right reason.

Be transparent.
I will consciously seek to make sure my physical and online presence matches, so that when members meet me, they’ll feel like they already know me.

Be empathetic.
I will stop myself when I leap to judgment and try to remember to reach for empathy instead.

Be creative.
I will never stop looking for ways to innovate to bring truly cool and useful things to library members. I promise to work to bring art, culture, beauty into libraries, and will seek out simplicity.

Be a curator.
I will continue to research my interest towards curation as an alternative to searching, and I will think like a museum professional when I look at the physical library too.

Be funny.
Because it’s awesome. And it’s good policy not to take oneself too seriously.

I know I will stumble, and promise to learn from my mistakes.
I hope others help me to continue to learn and grow as I enter the profession.


Carlie Graham is by day a manager at the University of Victoria Libraries in British Columbia, Canada, and is by night a distance graduate student at the Syracuse University iSchool, polishing her brain to become shiny new librarian. You can follow her on Twitter @carliebrary