By Guest Blogger Laura Hobbs, Media Specialist at Lincoln Park Elementary in Pensacola
If you are like many librarians today, you find the number of duties you are required to perform multiplying each year. Cutbacks in funding have many of us writing grants to cover the renewal of our current collections, as well as the inclusion of new materials that reflect our changing society and schools. In addition, you may find yourself doing the work of two people or more, lugging books home to process, writing grants on vacation, and using your off days to explore and learn about new technology or makerspaces for patrons. Some days it may seem like you are alone.
As much as we would all like to be wise to the new policies adopted by our state legislature, the current trends coming down the line in collection development, available grants, software, and so on, there is not enough time in the world to keep up with it all. It seems like removing something from our to-do list would be helpful; however, sometimes adding the right thing can save time and effort.
What we all need are some like-minded people to share the load: to help advocate for libraries in your district or city, to share ideas and knowledge of current trends, to share lessons that work, and experiences with companies, vendors, or technology that you may be planning to incorporate. Your local or district Library Association can be that support for you.
Usually Library Association meetings are after hours, and monthly, so there is a minimal time requirement. Association dues may also be a consideration. The minutes from meetings are a valuable resource for planning and executing your program. More experienced librarians can become unofficial mentors to new librarians. In addition, participation in a professional organization can be documented as part of your professional evaluation. Benefits can be diverse, both professionally and personally.
As a bonus you will meet some incredible people who have the same goals. Differences in experience from one library to another help us all to see and develop solutions to issues in practice, advocacy, and resources. Other librarian’s experiences can save a lot of effort and stress. Along the way, you may even pick up a few good friends.