In the tradition of My Father the Dog by Elizabeth Bluemle, I offer this observation. I’m pretty sure library IT people are children’s librarians in disguise. Unfortunately, I do tend to agree with many of my colleagues that it can be difficult to communicate with the IT people that populate libraries. However, I didn’t realize until I had the privilege of working closely with an IT person on several projects that there are similarities between us as well. I just hadn’t looked hard enough. We have a lot of common ground.
Both groups spend a lot of time on the floor. IT people are crawling around plugging or unplugging electronics into outlets. Children’s librarians, they are sitting reading books in storytime or looking for a book on the lowest shelf of the lowest shelving units in the entire library!
Both groups like to play with toys. IT people have action figures and things from Thinkgeek.com littering their work spaces. Children’s librarians have piles storytime toys and puzzles and all sorts of interesting things for programs.
Both groups get excited when new things arrive in boxes at the library. IT people are hoping there are new computers or tablets or e-readers inside. Children’s librarians are hoping for new books or additional copies of popular ones.
Both groups spend quality time in costumes. IT people tend to frequent medieval faires, renaissance gatherings, or cosplay events. At all of these events, they are decked out in detailed costumes. Children’s librarians, they wear costumes for all kinds of programs. Everything is better with a costume piece of some sort!
Both groups have a penchant for celebrating holidays not found on standard calendars. IT people celebrate holidays like System Adminstrator Appreciation Day and Star Wars Day. Children’s librarians celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday and Banned Book Week. Interestingly enough, both groups embrace Talk Like a Pirate Day.
It’s so easy to focus on how different these two groups are, but perhaps with a little humor, we can see the similarities instead.
~Melanie A. Lyttle is a member of ALSC Children & Technology Committee and the Head of Public Services at Madison Public Library in Madison, OH. http://www.madison-library.info