This post is purely self-indulgent. It isn’t going to give you a snappy list of titles we have in our collection. It isn’t going to direct you to something useful on our website and even though it is in fact National Goof-Off day, I am not going to carry on about how you can kill a few precious minutes messing around on icanhascheezburger.com.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics “over 2 out of 3 librarians is over the age of 45.” An article in the Journal of Academic Librarianship called it the “graying of librarianship.” Here at DCPL it has become a vivid fact. Last week we honored a colleague who served DCPL for 23 years. This week we will do the same for another colleague. We lost several library “elders” last year and will be losing several more later this year.
We miss these folks, we notice empty chairs at meetings for a while, and call their names during discussions. Patrons ask after them, sometimes stunned by their seemingly abrupt departures. Their absences create gaping holes in the fabric of our community but they leave us all, staff and public alike, with an extraordinary gift. Each one of our retirees spent countless hours during her career coaching and coaxing young, dangerously enthusiastic librarians in the fine art of Service to the Community. They took the time and considerable trouble to share hard won knowledge. They pushed where pushing was needed to get talented support staff headed in the direction of library school (www.ala.org in case you, too, have an interest in joining the ranks.) They did everything in their power to bring up the next generation of library leaders and to ensure that the provision of services to the public would continue in an unbroken line.
It is easy to be passionate and joyous at the beginning of a career, before the day to day reality destroys all the pretty ideals of library school. The greatest legacy from our retirees is this—they demonstrated that librarianship is not meant to be just a job, but a career that will sustain not only one’s self but that is meant to enrich the lives of the people we are privileged to serve. They have retired, they are retiring and they will retire, but every last one of them still displays the passion and joy, now tempered by time, that this profession can bring. Thank you, my friends.