Librarians have been expertly trained to help people. We spend 2+ years on our Master degree, learning how to find the most useful information for our users. We learn to evaluate resources. We learn to become expert researchers and writers. We learn copyright laws. We learn how to organize information. Do you know all the tag numbers necessary to catalog all the various items in the library? Most people do not realize how very much there is to learn about information organization. We learn how to curate the best collection possible specifically to meet the needs of our patrons. And let me add, we do this with a teeny tiny budget. We learn so much I can’t really begin to tell it all in one post. Neil Gaiman sums it up perfectly.
“Google can bring back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you right one.” ~Neil Gaiman
I’m now in a class (INFO5600) that is teaching us about how users think and make decisions and how they search. This is just one little thing we are learning in this class. Believe it or not, I’m reading a 17 page academic paper on this topic. It is far more complicated than anyone could possibly imagine. And yet, there are people for which all this is intuitive. Some people have a heart for helping people. Often they have a gift for understanding people and how they think.
I have been in the service industry my whole life. I don’t believe I would survive or be successful at this if I were not one who understood these things intuitively for all these years.