This, I believed, was a good move because not only would I finish grad school sooner but the change would also give me more breadth in knowledge thus making me more marketable. After I graduated I learned that my decision was a good one because the community colleges I applied to wanted me to be able to teach any of the history classes they offered.This was a great learning experience for me because it led me to take a broad approach during my library school studies. Many told me that this was a mistake and that I should specialize as that was what potential library employers were looking for. Nevertheless I stuck with the approach I began with and was able to secure a position as a reference librarian.
The broad approach I took paid off and I find myself utilizing a wide variety of skills in my daily routine. As time went by I began noticing that multi-tasking was the norm. The lines between librarian, library assistant, circulation assistant, and “shelver” became blurred. In addition to my wide range of “librarian duties,” I often work at the circulation and audio-visual desk and shelve books.What is multi-tasking in the library world? For librarians it means having the ability to perform any task in the library. We check out books, collect fines, clear printer jams, address patron complaints, answer directional questions, plan programs, supervise and train volunteers, trouble shoot computer problems, and the list goes on and on and on.
The point is that in today’s library climate, with ever shrinking budgets (California Governor plans to zero out the state library budget: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/02/funding/brown-proposes-zero-state-funding-for-california-public-libraries-for-second-year-in-a-row/ ) and doing more with less, it is vital that librarians, indeed all library workers, be good at multi-tasking. It is critical, however, for library administrators to carefully consider which tasks should consume library workers’ time. Service should be the priority. Programming should be reassessed with emphasis on children’s and young adult programs. Obviously, what works for one library may not work for another. This is why it is important to be in tune with your community’s needs and wants. A successful library is one that involves the community it serves.So, how is your library multi-tasking?