Am I still a librarian?
When people ask what I do, I can’t say I’m a librarian, because the next natural question is: “So, what library do you work at?” The conversation only devolves from there. I can tell people I’m a consulting editor with ITI Books, and they nod: “Oh, so you’re in publishing.” I can tell people I write for library-related publications, and they say: “Oh, so you’re a freelance writer.”
So, does my MLS make me a librarian? Does the fact that I worked in libraries for 10+ years make me a librarian? Does the fact that I write for the library literature and acquire manuscripts for an LIS publisher and speak at library conferences make me a librarian?
I was talking with Meredith at the CIL conference a couple of weeks ago, and she mentioned several people (me, Michael Stephens, Jessamyn West) who no longer work in any particular library, yet still do work related to libraries. A few examples don’t make a trend, but this is somewhat interesting. It’s also interesting in terms of all the talk about upcoming retirements. Were I a library administrator, I’d start thinking pretty hard about what I could do to retain good people, attract good people, and prepare them to take over the zoo at some point. (Although, the fact that I’m not a library administrator says something in itself!)