I Am Not A Librarian


I work in a library, I completed an information management qualification and I am a member of  the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). But I do not identify as a librarian. With a background in photography, my library career has revolved around being a photographer (digitisation) but now my career path is shifting towards digital preservation and digital curation - what does that make me? A hybrid photographer/librarian/digital something or other? Because I don't identify as a librarian I often feel like an imposter at some professional events, such as the New Librarians Symposium. That is not to say I do not feel welcome - one of the things I like about this industry is the eclectic mix of both individuals, backgrounds and roles within organisations. I also find events like these to be relevant and a great networking opportunity.

I have always identified libraries as a comfortable space, whether it was in primary school where I volunteered as a Library Monitor or my first job after high school as a trainee at my local council library. Although I have never been much of a library user per se, I have always been drawn to them and have admired librarians but never aspired to be one myself. My job has a huge impact on my identity and I am always excited to talk about what I am doing at work. So when people ask me what I do for work, or what I was studying, I sometimes struggle to find an answer. "I work in a library, but I am not a librarian", "I am studying information management, but I don't want to be a librarian". I wonder whether people outside of the GLAM sector even understand what I am saying with words like "digital preservation" and "digital collecting" and I generally keep talking in the hope that something makes sense.

This post is my contribution to the GLAM Blog Club July 2017 theme: "Identity".

Cover image credit: Yes, I still have my library monitor badge.

Matthew Burgess

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