learning to be a librarian: teamwork

Since I started my internship at SMU and my classes at UNT at the same time, I had a steeper learning curve than my intern peers when it came to understanding how to answer questions at the reference desk. In addition, I’ve been working as a freelancer for more than 10 years, a position where I needed to figure out things on my own without a team to turn to for questions or guidance.

At the beginning of November, I returned to my undergraduate alma mater, the University of Missouri, for a women’s leadership conference. As I listened to our keynote speaker, who had just retired from a long career as a television presenter to start a new business, I was reminded that starting over means that I need to acknowledge that I don’t know everything about my new field. If librarianship is complicated enough to require a master’s degree, it is complex enough that I will always be asking questions and discussing new ideas with my colleagues.

I realized that I had been struggling with asking my peers and my mentors for help while working the reference desk. I had felt that it would show weakness if I asked questions or needed guidance. On my return trip to Texas, I pledged to turn to my fellow librarians more in order to improve my work.

Postscript: When I had my end of term meeting with my supervisor, he mentioned that my work had greatly improved during the month of November. I was thankful to be reminded that it is better to ask for help and guidance as I learn my new trade rather than struggling through on my own. I will continue to remember that as I learn more — and challenge myself more — as a librarian.