Why My Job Is Awesome

I have an awesome job. I’m a librarian.

There are a lot of things I do as part of my job. When I’m teaching students, I like to tell them my job description:

“I do three things as part of my job. I sit out on the reference desk, which is just outside this room there, and help students with their assignments. I teach information literacy sessions like this one to help students with their assignments. And I buy books and other resources…to help students with their assignments. You’ll notice a bit of a theme…”

It’s a good job.

One of my favourite parts is sitting on the references desk, answering student questions. No question is too small or too stupid, and most are interesting in one way or another. Last week, Tuesday was a particularly busy day, and over the course of my two hour shift I never had the chance to sit back and just breathe. After about forty five minutes of steady questions, I suddenly thought it might be super interesting to write down the types of questions I was asked that particular day. I’ve seen bloggers or tweeters do this over the course of a reference desk shift, and I can see why it’s a popular post topic.

So here are the topics I helped students find answers/resources about:
- Latin origin/meaning of the scientific name for a particular type of yeast/fungus ‘candida albicans’
- type of metabolism used by rickettsia rickettsii (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever)
- historical relationship between Acadians and Aboriginals in Canada
- APA citation style (this would’ve been the second day in a row I helped this student with his APA citations - I hope he gets an ‘A’ on his paper!)
- how to colour photocopy children’s book illustrations to create a puppet show
- history of tattoos
- Cold War and the Berlin Air Lift
- reliable print source for a particular Aristotle quote so the student didn’t have to cite the Wikiquote*/Wikipedia page they actually found it on
- gap year travel and the correlation to postsecondary drop out rates
- nursing care management
- proper undergraduate English writing
- printing money not appearing on an account after using the deposit machine
- MLA citation style
- slow internet/no connection (stupid servers)
…and I also loosened a student’s finger bandage so it would stop cutting off his circulation while he was typing. Seriously, his finger was purple, poor guy.

A most interesting two hours, agreed?!

A friend asked me if I actually learned anything about those topics, and the answer is no. I never learned or read up on any of them, I just helped the students find related information or resources for their own assignments. My friend was disappointed and wondered how this could be so interesting if I didn’t actually learn anything about the topics. I find these sorts of questions incredibly interesting, and often wish I could write the papers so that I could actually learn about the topic! And sometimes I do read up a bit on the topics.

Or at least I wish I could read up on them. Years ago, a student wanted to find information about Sesame Street type programming in Israel to analyse if it projected certain propaganda (sooo interesting). We found nothing. She went back to her professor, and told me later that he couldn’t find anything either, which meant there was a gap in the research. The professor suggested the student do a Masters thesis, or even a PhD dissertation, and she was considering it. Even though we found nothing, I still feel like I helped her on her educational journey.

My job is awesome.

*Why didn’t anyone tell me about Wikiquote? It’s like Wikipedia, but just for famous quotes! Very interesting, but still not acceptable to cite in a university paper. Come ask me and I’ll help you find the particular quote in a reliable, citable book.


  1. I love Wikiquote... its a good way for me to make sense of movies that I watch in theatres because of no subtitles.

  2. I finally got around to reading this post (I had starred it way back when). Some days (like today) I wonder why I quit the library tech program at MacEwan. *sigh*


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