Yesterday, at lunch, I was out on the street just down from my Library buying a hot dog. The guy who runs the cart–a wonderful character, much beloved–was on his cell phone, having a complex conversation with a health care network. He had a conversation with me after he hung up, apologizing for the delay, saying that he would have to try to track down a certain doctor so he could ask a question directly. I offered to look him up on my smart phone, and within a couple of seconds, he had the guy’s number. I told him that’s what I do–I answer questions, because I’m a librarian.
Another example from outside the library proper: I am a big music fan, and lately I’ve been going to a number of shows by a Marin County guitarist, Danny Click. It occurred to me, as both a librarian and a Deadhead, that there were no set lists for these shows. So, I started creating them, and I tell people–it’s the librarian in me that wants this information available and organized.
Same rock guitarist, different example: I wanted to know more about Danny Click, but there is a dearth of info about him and his career available online. There was, for instance, no Wikipedia entry. So I wrote one.
If, every time any one of us librarians in the world did something that we would be inclined to do because of our profession and then told the world that we were librarians, would there be a sense out there in the world of the value of librarians as an integral part of our society? As an asset?
A librarian friend told me, when I told her about the hot dog incident, that I was being an embedded librarian. That made me think–why can’t we equip our reference librarians with smart devices and send them out into the downtown, bustling neighborhood, ready to answer whatever question is sent their way? Something to consider!