Magazine article Texas Library Journal

Ignite Your Passion

Magazine article Texas Library Journal

Ignite Your Passion

Article excerpt

Like many librarians, my path to librarianship as a profession was rather circuitous. I developed a love for reading as a child; and as a graduate student in music theory, I gained appreciation and respect for the support libraries gave to the academic process. My decision to pursue a career as a librarian was a rather practical one. Libraries were hiring, my job prospects were dismal, and I was newly married - to a librarian's daughter. I soon found myself in library school.

As a newly-minted librarian equipped with a shiny MLS, passion was not something I associated with my chosen career. Yes, there were glimpses of passion in a few classes: I will never forget Dr. Betty Carter teaching us about privacy and intellectual freedom. As a systems librarian I found satisfaction in creating reports and writing scripts to automate everyday tasks - but this was not passion. Even now, as an adjunct instructor teaching cataloging, I am still mystified by the thought of someone feeling passion towards a MARC record.

Early in my career, my participation in the Texas Library Association (TLA) was limited to conference attendance, and I therefore assumed that membership was all about continuing education. After several conferences, I began to observe the passion others felt for our profession and those we serve. I started to get involved, and then someone tapped me on the shoulder and said it was time for me to apply for TALL Texans.

Like many Texas librarians, I can say that my participation in the TALL Texans Leadership Institute kindled passion for our profession and association. Service on Gretchen McCord's 2006 Conference Program Committee (Libraries: Igniting the Passion) strengthened these feelings. I learned to put aside my school library filter and consider a holistic view of librarianship.

But exactly what is passion? Oprah Winfrey said that "passion is energy.. .the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." You often see passion defined as a powerful feeling of love, hate, anger, or sexual attraction. Within the context of librarianship, I like to define passion as intense enthusiasm. It is the fire you see in a librarian's eyes when you mention issues such as equity of access, censorship, or relevance in a technological age. It is the pride we all feel when we hear of the actions of librarians in Ferguson and Baltimore on behalf of their communities, and it is the satisfaction we experience when we realize our work matters.

"To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable." This quotation, attributed to Beethoven, gets to the gist of the issue: without passion, librarianship is just a job. …

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