Feeling a bit rattled at a recent exchange in which I felt I had been very much dismissed as a mere librarian by someone nearly one third my age – not a colleague, I hasten to add! – I expressed due thanks for the advice, then fumed and raged (mainly internally) for a few days until a thought occurred to me.
Have I not got a certificate of excellence from one of my professional associations? And a fellowship from another two? Okay then, here it is. May I introduce myself, modestly, as a virtuoso music librarian? No concert platforms for me. My postdoctoral research is shared with musicologists, librarians, book and library historians, and although I’m a published author, I very seldom – though by no means never – perform my research. But it doesn’t make me less good at what I do. I’ve been a music librarian for 34 years – I generally know my stuff. I have three music degrees, professional qualifications in librarianship and teaching and – surprisingly enough – a performing diploma in an instrument I no longer play.
Why do some people assume librarians are unskilled? I wouldn’t tell any of our community how to perform, compose or dance, but in my own areas of expertise I like to think I’m pretty competent as I approach my thirtieth anniversary at my workplace!