Librarian Philosophies to Discover Meaning in What We Do

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Fuhr, Justin
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Canadian Health Libraries Association/Association des bibliothèques de la santé du Canada Annual Conference
Introduction: Similar to teaching philosophies, librarian philosophies are reflections of librarians’ approaches to the profession. A librarian philosophy is a summary of a librarian’s professional practice and their standards and values, based on personal and professional beliefs. Description: In Summer 2020, I wrote my librarian philosophy based on personal and professional experiences. I reflected on what is meaningful to me and how I approach my work. I came up with four areas of emphasis: community building, meaningful work, lifelong learning, and supporting others. Outcomes: As an early-career librarian, I want to ground my decision-making early in my career. With my librarian philosophy, I frame current and future action on my personal beliefs and standards, giving me increased confidence. Having a document based on my values allows day-to-day values-based decision-making. My librarian philosophy is posted publicly, and it has guided me in my decision-making and goal setting. Students and faculty can publicly view how I approach librarianship; this gives transparency to how I provide library services for my clients. Librarian philosophies can also provide direction to your career and prevent burn out by intentionally infusing meaning throughout your work. Discussion: Reflection allows librarians to change their practice based on experience. In doing so, librarians clarify the work they do and why they do it. This guides future action and leads to a meaningful career. In developing a personal librarian philosophy, you chart a sustainable path, one that aligns with your values, and you can be an active participant in intentional and engaged librarianship.
librarian philosophy, reflective practice