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On the Lighter Side
Sr. Librarian Relations Consultant
While I don’t necessarily consider myself a funny person, I do understand and appreciate the value of humor. On those days when absolutely nothing seems to be going right and I’m feeling overwhelmed, or when I realize that I’ve been taking myself too seriously, I know a little laughter will lift my spirits. I’m not talking about lawyer jokes here, rather the opportunity to provide encouragement, to excite, invigorate and motivate those around you.
Encourage interest with humor
Many of you have recently completed some form of recognition of National Library Week (NLW). While I am certain this included numerous training session and much serious information, I also know this is one of the most highly publicized and visible opportunities for librarians to shine. Perhaps this included such activities as reference scavenger hunts, legal crossword puzzles, even an opportunity to match partners with their pets’ photos. I know, some of you are saying, “that’s just silly!” Exactly! All of these activities elicit at least a chuckle. And at the same time, you are reaching portions of your organization that might not typically utilize library services. Don’t limit this visibility and marketing experience to just one week a year.
I am constantly and pleasantly amazed at the creativity of law librarians. We are all experts in our areas, yet we also develop unique ways to present that information. Law schools frequently utilize examples of unusual caselaw to pique student interest and keep them engaged. Many of you find you own niche in linking celebrations to the library. St. Patrick’s Day seems to be a popular time for the “Wearin’ O’ the Green” in many locations. Whether this takes the form of reference leprechauns, “little folk” returning those missing library books, or four-leaf-clover cookies, I applaud all of you for your inventiveness. And talk about presentations! Just review the titles of many of the upcoming AALL presentations in St. Louis this year and it is apparent that librarians have a great sense of humor.
Reduce stress and tension – Build trust and rapport
For many law firm librarians, the arrival of summer associates will soon commence. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to provide insights, guidance and relief for this group. Yes, I said relief. There is great pressure placed upon these individuals, some of it self-imposed. Here’s your chance to build respect and at the same time instill in these future attorneys the value of our skills and expertise.
Let them know that the library and the library staff are their safe haven. Encourage them to approach you with any questions they may have, library-related or otherwise. The staff of one library distributes a roll of Life Savers to its associates. The idea is to use their lifelines, the librarians, whenever they need assistance. Another library sets up its orientation in the form of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. Again, the associates are instructed to utilize the librarians whenever a question, any question, arises to which they do not know the answer. This gives the associates permission to approach the librarians, eliminating any artificial barriers that may be present.
So, whether it’ Dilbert or “The Lipstick Librarian” that tickles your funny bone, keep the humor visible in your life. And remember….
Laughter, and a smile, really are the best medicine.
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