Librarian love

This topic this week in the MOOC : Atlas of New Librarianship is all about community and credibility. I was pondering the thought of what exactly makes a community and how the boundaries are defined for different environments. And what are the factors that make a librarian credible? There are certainly some things to think about and most of the discussion in the lectures and the text are about serving the library’s users. Librarians as a profession are a community, and librarians who work together are a small community, serving at least one community.

The first word that comes to mind when thinking about what credibility is, is the word “believability.” Like, is the resource or the link or the information I just gave the person on the phone believable? The information and resources people get from the reference desk or the library’s website, or from the librarian chat box, should be reliable, trustworthy, evaluated, and reviewed. The information and programs should be beneficial, not bullsh*t. Very often the first question a person will ask a librarian behind the reference desk is not the question they really want to ask. But what they are doing is first testing the librarian’s credibility and his or her overall power to be believable. Once a trust is established, then the real questions are asked and a dialog takes place. During the entire transaction, the librarian is establishing and having to maintain credibility and included in this credibility is a genuine concern for the needs of others. Which also gets me thinking, roving librarians seem to have more credibility than ones who sit at a desk.

As I read through the text and then some of the discussion, I found myself looking for the word love. This is the bridge that connects the community to its librarians. Librarians cannot serve their community effectively unless there is an element of love for it and its people. Love establishes credibility. When a librarian is genuine and sincere, he or she will do whatever it takes to meet a need. People know when they are loved and they know when they are being patronized. In a library group on Facebook, there was a post from a librarian making fun of the way a person pronounced the word ‘library’ and mocked the fact that he wanted a library card but his only form of identification was a jail ID. This librarian’s disregard for the community was evident and resulted in justifiable chastisement from her peers.

I’ve always thought that libraries are kind of sacred institutions. Michael Gorman said this so well in his book, “Our Enduring Values.” There is another book written on the sacredness of libraries, and I cannot remember the title. In a sense, librarians minister to the needs of the community. They listen and they seek out for a person what they could not find on their own. “The mission of librarians is to improve society though facilitating knowledge creation in their communities” (Lankes). When librarians are credible and when they love their community, they make the world a better place. The librarians that get lots of love from the community are the ones who love their community the most.

Thankful for friends and tradition

This Thanksgiving will be different from any other one that I have celebrated. A recent move to the east coast has put us far away from everyone that we know and love. We’re grateful to have been invited to celebrate with friends and I will be bringing a traditional gluten free pumpkin pie and my favorite sweet potato casserole. I also made a dairy free, crustless pumpkin pie.

The sweet potato dish is a made every year, both for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Special Sweet Potato Casserole is one of those dishes that even people who don’t like sweet potatoes will try. I think most people have learned to dislike sweet potatoes because of the syrupy marshmallow topping, that even as a child turned my stomach. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, and piling extra sugars on top is simply overkill. Most sweet potato recipes you’ll find on the internet call for at least a half cup of sugar, but this recipe only uses 2 tablespoons. I have made it without the sugar and I like it even better. To cook the sweet potatoes, simply place in an oven for about an hour on a foil lined baking sheet. Lightly coat with shortening or coconut oil to prevent skin from sticking. When cooked, the sweet potato will easily slip out of the outer skin or you can peel it off before mashing.

Special Sweet Potato Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
A favorite sweet potato casserole with pecan and coconut streusel topping.
  • 4 cups hot, mashed sweet potatoes
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • Streusel topping: ⅓ cup chopped pecans, ⅓ cup flaked coconut, ⅓ cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons melted butter.
  1. Mix cooked sweet potatoes, butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and milk. Pour mixture into a 1½ - 2 quart casserole.
  2. To make the topping, combine pecans, coconut, brown sugar and flour. Stir in butter.
  3. Sprinkle topping mixture over sweet potatoes. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 231 Fat: 12 Saturated fat: 6 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 31 Sugar: 16 Sodium: 103 Fiber: 3 Protein: 3 Cholesterol: 55