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Special Interest Group Archive: Reference 4/27/2021

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

April meeting

The meeting was held on April 26, 2021 via Zoom and was hosted by Kristin Charles-Scaringi.


Imposter syndrome and vocational awe

Renewers group on Facebook – Low morale experience for public librarians. In that light, how is everybody feeling right now?

  • A: It is what it is, I’m stuck in the front instead of being able to work in the back. It feels lonely, even though you’re not alone. And that gets overwhelming.
  • K: Even 7 months into the new job, it still feels like the job is mysterious. The work you need to do can completely emotionally drain you by the end of the day.
  • M: Experience wise, being 3 years out of school it’s been great, but the pandemic has been draining. Going in twice a week and being on campus is lonely and quiet. Having people means enforcing PPE requirements, however.
  • K: I had to figure out a lot of my job on my own, and I didn’t feel prepared. Having a great reference class in school was not the same as doing it in real life.
  • M: Had been preparing to go into a music library, and was suddenly put into a job with engineers. But you have to roll with it.
  • K: it helps to admit that you’re not an expert. You do know how to search, though. That’s where you have the expertise. Teaching the library skills is also part of feeling better.
  • A: has no separate reference area, but often has trouble when patrons don’t give enough information to do a good search.
  • People don’t read signs – people go out the entrance – people come into the library even when it’s closed for covid – people don’t wear masks –
  • M: people see librarians as convenient punching bags. You almost need a social work degree.
  • You have to get comfortable with multitasking and prioritizing.
  • M: is the decrease in reference questions due to the pandemic, or other forces?
  • M: there will always be a need, and we’ve been evolving for a long time. Some people want the person, even though there are so many self-help options. There are people on chat who appreciate the assistance from a person.

Setting a follow-up meeting is on hold for now. Can we meet outdoors? Evolve this group?

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065