“It’s just libraries, nobody dies”

“It’s just libraries; nobody dies.

I’ve been saying that since 2001, when my first Director said it to me when I was freaked out that I missed a deadline. I was a brand new professional, and that missed deadline seemed like a pink slip. Nope, Karen said. Not a crisis. Just fix it.

I’ve lived my whole professional career balancing between my own high standards for performance and the awareness that it’s just libraries and nobody dies. And for the last 6-8 weeks I’ve been suffering through some writer’s block on two new job ads. We decided to nuke our job ads from orbit and rewrite, reflecting the personality and reality of our libraries more effectively to the job market. I wanted to have them posted last week. They aren’t written yet, because I’m blocked. But it’s just libraries. Nobody dies.

Except then I got news from a friend writing to share the story of a family medical challenge, saying, “Sincere gratitude to all the medical researchers who post their works open-access and to hell with the rest of you. Pubmed is great. But I don’t have the kind of library access that lets me read all of this stuff and the stakes are pretty damn high for me right now.

One of the ads I’m writing is for a Coordinator of Technical Services and Metadata. The other is for an Electronic Resources and Discovery librarian. Know what those two positions do? Among other things, they are the library staff who ensure easy access to information, promote open access, and advocate for better vendor-user relationships.

Nobody dies, huh?

I’m going to go write, now.

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