The Curiosity Business

Today marks Library Support Workers day in Canada.  For those who don’t know, it’s the third Friday of October usually marked by well-wishes in the library.  (Hopefully, also marked by food as it always goes well with said well wishes.)  For those in need of something official, have a look at CLA President Pilar Martinez’s proclamation for this auspicious day.

Usually I find out about the day AFTER the fact.  It’s understandable as I found myself split between one place or another for the first three years of my career.  It’s not too uncommon for Library Technicians, especially in Manitoba, to work in two places.  The same goes for clerks as full-time is few and far between.  Those posts do happen, yet it’s enough to shake up a level-headed person with the question Why am I doing this again?  Why not head back to school, get a Masters, and be a library.  The answer depends on the person, and I can’t speak for those people.  For me it’s combines timing, money, and I really like what I do. In fact the third one plays a huge role.

I get asked what Library Technician do versus what Librarians do.  After I groan a little inside, I try to explain as best I can without denigrating one or the other.  For the past few months I discovered a new answer, and Librarians feel free to use it as well.  What do I do?  I am in the curiosity business.

Books, databases, e-books, magazines, serials keep curiosity healthy.  It’s our collective responsibility to keep access open, like a blood vessel in the body, to keep curiosity healthy.  Google and Wikipedia are fine, in little doses, much like a chocolate bar. What happens if you eat too much of a good thing?  The body doesn’t feel right, and I feel it happens much the same with curiosity.

My business involves some entrepreneurial spirit.  Talk to any school Library Tech as they gauge what will stay like The Hunger Games versus what will catch fire then quickly flame out with their young marketplace.  Collection development money, some would say, can easily make more with less.  Tell that to investors of multimillion dollar opportunities.  Why don’t they cut back and see what happens?

In the curiosity business the word ‘just’ does not appear before the words ‘Library Technician’.  How can I put such an adjective in front of something I left the familiar to go back to school at 37?  How can anyone put the word ‘just’ as they help kids sign out their books?  To show someone searching a database somehow leads to always searching for one answer or another?

I enjoy what I do.  To the Library Technician and clerks make sure to do the same.  To the Librarians thank you for recognizing talent to nurture and keep.  We are in the curiosity business and our goods are priceless.

Happy Library Support Worker Day!

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