Monday, October 22, 2007

deep thoughts for a monday

our department got a request from the dept boss, you know her as my friend KT! Here is the request:
I have been asked to speak at ------- University's English Major Forum about my life as a SuPrEmE BeInG (I mean librarian). Anyway, what aspects of English Major-ing do you see in your role as a librarian? Obviously the reading part, but we do a lot of communicating and writing too, wouldn't you say? Do you have any thoughts you would want to share with fellow English Majors about librarianship?

Now, I've been perking this for a few days trying desperately to figure out why I believe my English major has uniquely equipped me for librarianship...or did it? Was there something essential already present that this particular avenue of education merely strengthened? How would I really know for sure without a Delorean and a flex capacitor?

Anyway, here's the answer I sent back to KT:
-community outreach, like this venue for instance :), requires excellent communications skills not only to impart information, but also to make that information interesting, dare I say entertaining.
-my English major comes from a heavy duty liberal arts college so the range of literature I was
exposed to has come in handy many times...whether the patron is looking for Marie de France or Zora Neale Hurston, I can usually relate with them on any literary level.
-I believe that the English major curriculum gives a student the opportunity to become an acute observer of the human condition. So many of the assignments I remember required virtually an engineer's or a scientist's skills at breaking down elements into their most common
denominators. Iambic pentameter, the hero archetype, new historicist critical theory....the ability to use literary elements like these as a microscope with which to examine and "learn" people. This education leaves many students ideally suited for a life of ferreting out "just" what it is that people want since it certainly isn't what often first emerges from their mouth :)

Is this too esoteric? Too weird to use? I find it somewhat difficult to verbalize what I think concerning this question.

What do you guys think? I would like your opinion even from the non-librarians and non-English majors among you :) If you have a degree that may be ideally suited to, or at some sort of odds with, your current occupation, how does your chosen avenue of education contribute/not contribute to your job?



Erica said...

hmmm. good question. i definitely feel more capable of answering certain reference questions with my history and french degrees. i've actually had people say, you don't speak french, do you? and be super surprised when i say yes, and can help them with stuff. and the lit classes have helped with some reader's advisory stuff, but not THAT much since i'm dealing with kids' books for the most part.

Holley T said...

for the record, KT was pleased with my responses so I felt moderately less like a more than usual anyway.

~E, don't be that way...those lit classes have definitely allowed you to separate the wheat from the chaf within the kids' books. Think about all the crap that's out there! Your Dis-A-Book discussion series get the kids to see that books aren't just for reading, they are also for exploring ideas and situations that may not come naturally in their surroundings/upbringings. That's very important E!