“In order to be really good as a librarian, everything counts towards your work, every play you go see, every concert you hear, every trip you take, everything you read, everything you know. I don’t know of another occupation like that. The more you know, the better you’re going to be.” -Allen Smith
Often, a job evokes certain images, stereotypes and assumptions. For example, my roommate when I was in grad school (the first time) lamented that people had such a narrow view of her major. She earned her Bachelor's of Fine Arts, and whenever she told people that she was an art major, they'd say something like "Oh, you want to be a famous artist?". That's like assuming that someone who majors in Literature intends to write the next great American novel. Sure it's a possibility, but there's a vast scope of possibilities that can come from that choice of major.
Similarly, when I tell people that I work in a school library, they probably conjure up images of me reading aloud from a picture book, and shushing students, and in fact I rarely do either. My chosen job has me performing a number of responsibilities in different roles; saying that I enjoy my job simply because "I like to read" is a huge understatement. My job is not one dimensional, and neither am I.
I love that all of my interests and talents can converge and work together, like cogs in a clock. When I watch the 1940 rendition of Little Men, not only am I indulging my passion for classic film. But I'm also adding to my knowledge of Louisa May Alcott, her body of work, transcendental themes in American literature, and cinematic techniques in Hollywood's Golden Age. When I take a day trip to Littleton, I'm absorbing the atmosphere, but also thinking about how this town and its native author Eleanor Hodgman Porter are responsible for the classic story Pollyanna, and educating myself on New Hampshire state history.When I create Peter Rabbit's burrow in 1:12 scale, I'm not just making another dollhouse, I'm tinkering with different materials and engaging in a trial and error learning approach. If something doesn't hold together or achieve the look I'm striving for, I'll try a different technique. That's the philosophy that serves as the basis for the new Makerspace revolution.
I love that every NPR program I listen to, blog I subscribe to, movie I watch and new place I explore are informing my chosen career.
It's not reasonable to expect every librarian to know the answer to every possible question, but I do think that a librarian should have enough diverse interests and knowledge in different areas to be able to help patrons/students with any type of request.