Why, yes, I am a librarian, thank you

For someone who has been trained in organization and classification, I am sometimes frustrated by labels. I see it in the genealogical world and in the library world. We are sometimes quick to label people or — what really frustrates me — reserve labels because a person doesn’t quite fit the mold we have constructed in our minds.

When I was first hired at Archives.com as Genealogical Content Manager, a few of my friends and acquaintances said, “Huh? I thought you were going to be a librarian.” Apparently, to them “librarian” is a title reserved for those who work behind a desk at a library.

They apparently haven’t been to a library or a library website lately.

In any given day, I might be evaluating a new potential collection, working with the engineers to prepare a new collection for publication, writing collection descriptions, or writing educational content for the site. Hmm, that sounds remarkably like selection and acquisition, organization, metadata creation, and instruction.

I have to have an understanding of the users, what they are looking for, and how they expect to interact with the materials.

In short, I’m doing things that I was trained to do in grad school.

The Mummy (1999). I knew someday I'd be able to work this movie into a blog post.

I do not work in a traditional library setting, but for those who say, “Huh? I thought you were going to be a librarian,” I relay one of my favorite scenes from The Mummy. Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) is talking with Rick (Brendan Fraser) and trying to tell him a little bit about herself, which is not an explorer, a treasure-seeker, or a gun-fighter:

Evelyn: …but I am proud of what I am.

Rick: And what is that?

Evelyn: I <pause> am a librarian.

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7 Responses to Why, yes, I am a librarian, thank you

  1. Said in my best ‘Matt Smith as the Doctor’ impression: Librarians are cool. :)

    • Jen Alford says:

      Love it!!! Stephanie.. i love that you are a Doctor Who fan!!! My office coffee mug and lunchbox are both featuring a Tardis.

      Amy.. you are a cool librarian!

  2. Amy says:

    All three of us are Doctor Who fans?! Wow — we’re even more awesome than I first thought! :)

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  4. Make that four for Dr. Who. Oh and I love that scene in The Mummy! For more laughs see Its A Wonderful Life. Clarence: You won’t like it George….she’s about to close up the library!

    • Amy says:

      “It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of my favorites, though I have to say I’m not very fond of that particular scene. ;-)

  5. Katie says:

    I went to grad school for library science and don’t work in a “traditional” library setting, either. I often get the “why don’t you work in a “real” library?” question. Frustrating! P.S. Working at Archives.com sounds like my dream job — I’d love to work in genealogy!