January 30, 2006
A View from the Stacks: Are you a librarian? A law student? What do you do here?
It seems that I have developed quite the love/hate relationship with the term “Library Technician.” On any given day, sometimes any given hour, library patrons like to inquire about my “library credentials.” An example if you will:
Patron: Are you a librarian?
Patron: Law student?
Patron: [confused] Should you even be behind the desk? I think that sign says staff only.
I have worked at King County Law Library for about 4 years now (killing time until American Idol/ Jeopardy finally calls), and after hearing this question asked more times then “Where is the restroom?” I decided there was only one thing to do about it: Lie.
Turns out I am bad at lying.
I had to adopt a new approach. But then it dawned on me that maybe it was time. Time to settle down and fill out the paperwork. Time to realize that my initial dream of reality TV stardom may not be in the stars and that a master’s degree may be more rewarding then getting rich quick eating some internal organ of some dearly departed animal.
This decision has made my mother and coworkers very happy. My mother is happy for obvious reasons (master’s degree=job promotion=daughter not asking for money as much). And I think my coworkers are happy that post-MLS, I can now stop the inquisitive patron after their first question of “are you a librarian?” with a confident sounding “yes”.
Or a nod. I may be smug at that point. Who knows?
Which brings me to this writing thing. This whole master’s degree decision has brought up a lot of questions. Questions about the process, about the work, even about the decision itself. Will libraries be obsolete in 20 years? Will West and Lexis really give me money to go to school and not just pens that light up and coffee mugs? I have lots of questions, and by writing about them, hopefully I can get some answers.
Stina McClintock, Library Technician, King County Law Library (Seattle)
Editor's Note: I'm pleased to announce that Stina McClintock will be writing the "A View from the Stacks" column for Law Librarian Blog. The column will appear on Mondays, every other week, give or take a day, a week... If you don't recognize Stina's name, you probably recognize the above image of her. If you don't recognize the image, you must have been in a coma for the last three months.
Stina is "the girl in the photo." Stop the PC nonsense! This is how Stina has referred to herself in this context. The photo won first place in the Best Overall category in AALL's A Day in the Life of the Law Library Community Photo Contest." See the December 2005 issue of AALL Spectrum if you can find a copy. I've been collecting as many as I can to sell on eBay (hereinafter as "my retirement plan").
In addition to wearing heels while explaining to patrons why she can be behind the circ desk, shelving books in the stacks, replacing pocket parts, and all the other library tech stuff we "professionals" dump on our grossly underpaid assistants, Stina is preparing for library school. I'd hire Stina right now even without a MLS degree but then so would any 50-something, balding, overweight, married with teenage step-sons, true blue American male. [Note to self: I'm going to catch hell from some humorless 1970s feminist for that statement.]
Stina has an off-the-charts LSAT score, a degree in feminist studies, if I recall correctly, and a great sense of humor about herself and her world. In discussing the publicity generated by her award winning photo, she wrote in an email to me the following:
You know, notoriety can be a fickle thing. When I was in the third grade, a haiku I wrote on leaves made the local paper and I got an extra cupcake from my teacher on "Fun Friday" that month. Later in life, I had an essay published in the local paper, and strangely, no cupcake.
LOL. Did I mention, Stina also judges home brews contests! If Stina represents the future of law librarianship (and I hope she does), I will die a happy man, albeit sooner than I care to if my wife reads this post.
For earlier posts published in this blog about Stina's award winning photo, taken by Tina Ching, Reference Librarian (Arizona State) and submitted by Kimberly Ann Ositis, Reference Library (King County Law Library), see Winning Photo in AALL Contest (Oct. 20, 2005), The Girl in the Photo Speaks! (Nov. 14, 2005) and The Girl in the Photo (Dec. 6, 2005).
God bless America.
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If only I could be more like Stina McClintock... I think Stina should do a column on library appropriate shoes!
Posted by: Tina | Jan 30, 2006 9:32:20 AM