The Secret to Being a Good Public Services Librarian

Ok, so this might not be the only secret. But I’ve found in my first year of being a librarian, more than anything else, the number one method to success for me has been saying YES. I know, we’re supposed to not say “yes” to everything because it’s important to budget our time and all that jazz. But by being involved in my community and saying yes to things, I’ve made more connections (and friendships) on campus and in the community than I ever could have hoped to if I had said no.

A few examples:

-the Americus Arts Center needed volunteers for one of its major fundraising events and I said yes. The coordinator of that event also happens to be one of the marketing and outreach people at GSW, and she now often promotes my library events.

-the local theater group was putting on White Christmas this past December and needed players for the pit orchestra. I said yes. Now I know many of the students involved and have collaborated with the music department chair to promote library services.

-a teaching circle leader (teaching circles are professional development meetings held on campus) asked for help promoting her teaching circle about professional publishing. I said yes. She is also the faculty advisor for a group that, at her urging, helped me enormously in distributing and collecting boxes for our book drive.

-when I first came to Americus I had some extra time and learned that the public library could use some extra help. I said yes to volunteering for a couple hours a week. Later, when I needed to market my Money Smart Week event, the public library was happy to help out by letting me put up signs and by promoting the event to patrons.

-a couple of my fellow faculty members wanted to form a band. I said yes. We recently performed at a local coffee shop open mic and I both met and was impressed by the talents of many GSW students, who I now say “hello” to in the library.

There are many other examples, but you get the idea. The awesome thing about this, is that many of the things I said yes to weren’t even library related. I just said yes to getting involved in my community and the results were that the people around me were willing to collaborate on library projects, making the library a more present part of the larger community. The other result of saying yes is that I’m so happy to be working here among people that I know–people I perform with, volunteer with, create with. When I walk around campus I find myself saying hello to so many people who I know to be talented and kind from personal experience. Being happy to give back to your community means that you’re happy being in your community. Maybe that’s the real secret.

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