Thursday, July 23, 2009

I don't want to be a reference and research services librarian anymore!

Well, I think I've done it. Given ridiculous restrictions on what words I could use in my new job title (web and digital are out, because we already have a 'web services librarian' and plan on hiring a 'digital initiatives librarian'), I think I've finally come up with a title that works. The thing is, I feel this new title actually helps me out in terms of focusing on what I really do here, what I am good at, and what I can bring my workplace that is unique and necessary. Ok, so here goes:

Communications and New Media Strategies Librarian.

There you have it. Wordy, sure, but aren't most library-related titles? I'd actually love it to be 'Communications and Digital Strategies', but as I mentioned before, I can't use the word digital so that it can be used in a title for a job that doesn't actually exist yet. But don't get me started on that, this is a positive post, dammit!

Aaaaanyway... The reason I'm mentioning this here at all (especially since I haven't actually pitched this to my boss yet, though she knows I want a new title, and is open to it) is that it really helped me rethink exactly what it is I do here. I feel like I play with technology all day, trying out new tools (read: web 2.0 crap) and sometimes I feel like it's not important or appreciated at all. But that's not really what it's all about... Technology is just a medium, not a message. Sure, I'm good at researching and using new media, and that's necessary for what I do, but the most important part is the message.

The message is that the library is not dying; that it's a vibrant and useful place, full of helpful people and services. So that's my job, that's what I love doing, and what I am good at: evangelizing on behalf of the library. Getting the word out to everyone in our community, however possible, about all the great things we can do for them, and that they can do with us. The technology just helps me do that, because you need to get your message out wherever you can, to reach people wherever they may be.

The funny part of this whole thing is that I feel like I've come full circle career-wise. I was a mass communications/advertising major as an undergrad, and got my first masters in media production, and those are areas that are intimately linked to what I do now, which is, in some form, marketing. So I feel like this new title and (semi-)new role really make sense for me. I know this stuff, and I've been using that education all along, I just didn't realize it at the time.

So yeah, this makes me very happy, and I hope my boss goes for it, because I really feel like I can be an asset to my library if given the go-ahead to move full-force in this direction.

Anyone have any suggestions/advice regarding how I can convince my boss this is a good idea, and that marketing, especially with social media, is vital for libraries at this point? I have some pretty good points worked out so far for the pitch, but I could use all the ammunition I can get!

Update: I totally forgot to mention the "you can't say no to this idea" phrase I will use in my pitch: building and engaging a community around your brand. Um, doesn't every organization need someone to do that? Oh, and that community will advocate for us. I think that pretty much hits all the buzzwords directors love to hear, no?