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Many people are not aware of what it takes to be a Librarian. All three Librarians at Keene Memorial Library (me, Laura England-Biggs, and Elisa Cruz) have a bachelor’s degree and have completed or almost completed our Master’s in Library Science or related field. My 2nd master’s degree is in Information Science and Learning Technologies. It goes beyond librarianship to include IT and trending technologies. I have enough education I could work in an IT field coding, web designing, or developing online Learning platforms.

We also must continue our education to earn continuing education credits (CE) for our accreditation process. We earn these credits by taking classes, participating in educational webinars, attending conferences, or teaching/hosting classes or webinars. Last year I earned most of my credits through my coursework at UNL where I am obtaining my educational doctorate, Ed.D. I also obtain CE credits by attending our annual library conference. Each year it is held in a different Nebraska location and this year it will be held in La Vista! Good for us because that is day travel instead of having to spend the night.

At this conference, we will attend sessions on items that include: diversity, collection development, privacy rights, problem solving, staff training, how to stretch our tiny budget, infographics, data analysis, customer service, library technology, internet coding, creative supportive work environments, strategic planning, photo editing, leadership in libraries, ILS maintenance, building digitally inclusive libraries, literacy development, intellectual freedom, teen development, serving patrons with disabilities, ESL, cataloging, and more

Staff can choose which sessions they attend and I encourage them to attend as many as possible during the three day conference. Usually staff comes back after conference with new ideas, ways to tweak current practices, and ways to make processes more efficient. We like to try new things and see what happens. Sometimes the changes are for the best and sometimes, we have to return to the old way. Constant learning and utilizing what we learn is a huge percentage of our job.

Our profession is unique in that it rolls many different hats together. For instance, my education and experience lends itself to business, management, leadership, strategic planning, marketing, annual reporting, Information Technology, Office practices, Customer Service, and librarianship to name a few. I literally could go out into the workforce and apply for 15-20 jobs all with different fields of focus. This can better be described as the “hats” we wear each day: customer service rep, technologists, social worker, security personnel, trainers, marketing specialists, social media gurus, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and librarians. We do a little bit in many different areas.

When people ask, “what do you do” or “what skills do you have to be a librarian”, that answer takes up a better part of my day. You can’t describe what we do in one sentence as far as skills. In general, we help community members and the community. How we help is a much, much longer explanation!

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Tina Walker is Director of Keene Memorial Library.

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