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5 Ways to be a Better Librarian this year

"New year, new me!" is often the mantra once another new year starts. People resolve to make resolutions to better themselves (usually related to weight loss). A new year is a great opportunity to assess yourself, where you have been the past year and what you can do to make the most of the next. Optimism abounds when a year begins.

Aside from personal resolutions, we can also try to be better professionals and librarians. Here are my own new year's resolutions as a librarian.

1. Be Proactive.
The common librarian stereotype for those who are not familiar with library work is the strict librarian who "does nothing" in the library. Because of this, I think librarians should go the extra mile in providing services to debunk the damaging image. Sometimes stereotypes can be difficult to change, and their wrong notion about libraries may deter them from getting to know the library. We should also go to them, and not wait for them to go to us.

2. Always be learning.
Is there an opportunity to take a Master's degree? Grab it! If you missed college life, graduate school may be for you. Grad school is a great place to gain new friends in the same profession and it keeps you from getting stagnant.

There are also many learning opportunities provided by your local librarians' council and PLAI. This is not only for CPD points but to keep your knowledge fresh and get to know other librarians in your area.

The IFLA WLIC 2019 (International Federation of Library Associations - World Library and Information Congress), an international librarians conferece, will be in Athens, Greece this year. There are many grants available to those who want to attend. Also be on the lookout for other opportunities and try to apply if you're interested.

You can also check out the events near you through Facebook events. I have been doing this for the past couple of years, checking out what I might be interested in and going if I have the time. I've went to many free and affordable seminars, events, and also met amazing people who became good friends. They are not always related to librarianship, but other interests like writing, blogging, or art. You can expand your network and talk about libraries to those who may not be aware of the amazing things in the library.

If you already work in a library, why don't you browse the shelves and read another book? As librarians, I'm often surprised that we don't really have time for reading with all the work in the library. Use your librarians' borrowing privileges and learn something new.

3. Reach out.
Gone are the days where the librarian is alone in a silent library. Even if the rest of the institution outside the library thinks this, do what you can to reach out to them. Find a way to let people know what the library is doing and what's new. You could set up something as simple as a bulletin board, or start a social media page to promote the library to the school or organization, or an e-mail newsletter.

4. Contribute.
You can volunteer or help out in your local regional council of librarians. If you have a great idea or a paper to present, why not try to be a speaker in a seminar? If you are working on research, why not try to submit a paper to an academic journal? Is there a library that needs help? You can give advice or be a consultant. Are you a writer? You can blog. There are many ways for you to contribute, even just a little, to the profession.

5. Explore.
Your job title may be a librarian, but you are more than that. Step away from the library for awhile and see other places. You may learn a thing or two for yourself, and bring back what you learn to the library.

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