Follow-up: A New Librarian’s Promise – A TTW Guest Post by Carlie Graham

Note from Michael: Carlie will be a Participatory Learning Guide for the #hyperlibMOOC this fall. She was a WISE student in my classes at SJSU SLIS. Her ideas below resonate with my teaching and views. Enjoy…


As a recent LIS graduate I really don’t feel different, but looking back I think I had an exponential increase in library and life knowledge throughout the second half of my graduate degree. It’s been almost a year since I shared the promises of a then future librarian, so I thought it couldn’t hurt to share those of a new one.

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

Stay curious.

Seek out lessons from other industries, related or not. Find everyday examples that could make libraries better.

Stay humble.

Remain open to new ideas and ways of seeing. It’s reassuring to think there’s always someone out there better than me at something—it means I will always learn.


Go beyond connecting people with collections, and move toward connecting people with people, people with ideas, people with communities, and people with creative tools and spaces.

Save people’s time.

Condense, focus, and seek context when sharing ideas. (And those who know me know how many lines I wrote in school for talking in class. This will be a challenge.)

Add value.

That may be adding a quick video capture or screen shot when demonstrating a database, or being mindful of what I share on social media. More holistically, seek out ways to implement services and programs that add value to community members, and measure that value to make iterative improvements.

Prioritize doing awesome things for my community over pondering philosophical musings of the profession.

That means I will do both, but I will put the community first. That also means taking action. Choosing to focus less on pondering the future of libraries does not excuse me from being a righteous project planner.

Let go of perfection.

Being paralyzed by the fear that a new program won’t measure up to an unseeable future library will most definitely lead to stasis. Being informed and brave, trying a new service, measuring outcomes, then making it better will bring about a positive library future. Mistakes happen; own them and learn.

Be nice and work hard.

That might sometimes mean holding back to preserve the esteem and ideas of others and finding a better time to share my perspective, or maybe even not at all. It also might mean quietly fixing someone else’s mistake because I know they were having a tough day instead of pointing out their error. Not everything needs to be a teachable moment.

Find balance.

I want to bring my best self to serving my community.

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 begin my career.



Carlie Graham of Carliebrary Consulting is a Knowledge Management Strategist for ITFO, a communications company in Victoria, British Columbia serving global Fortune 500 companies. Prior to that, Carlie was the manager of Music & Media at the University of Victoria for 11 years, responsible for the creation and development of the Library’s Media Commons. You can find her on Twitter @carliebrary and on her blog