A future librarian’s promise – A TTW Guest Post by Carlie Graham 4

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

4 thoughts on “A future librarian’s promise – A TTW Guest Post by Carlie Graham

  • Karl Ericson

    I feel like I should have already seen this list, or if I’ve seen it, it has long disappeared from consciousness. I’m so glad you’ve brought this to light (again?) for me. I’ve just started a new position and it feels like an important time to reassess what kind of librarian I am. Thank you. I’m pinning this to my board(s).

  • Peggy

    Great post. As a librarian with decades of experience it makes me happy to hear from the dedicated people still entering the profession.

  • David Wright

    Right on, Carlie! Thanks C & MS for sharing this). It is the dedication, and – more challenging I think – the periodic and continual RE-dedication that are so absolutely necessary in this profession. A dozen years on in librarianship, I will gladly and gratefully (and somewhat vampirically) recieve the nourishment of your ideals and resolve.

    I was trying to say this to a library student the other day and not saying it very well, but over time many librarians who share similar resolutions to this sustain bruises and wounds along the way, which can develop into a sort of psychic scar tissue that restricts our range of movement – what we feel we can do or effect or even imagine. Refreshing ourselves with these kinds of resolutions helps to break up the bureaucratic ossification – a continual process of renewal without which we die on the vine.

    Beginning, and beginning, and beginning again. Very well stated, Carlie – thank you!

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