School Librarian Identity Anxieties

So I was talking to my friend over the weekend about paths in librarianship and all that. And she mentioned that with the whole Minnesota Institute thing and the fact that I can’t seem to pass up a conference without proposing something for it (womp) that I’m sort of setting myself up for academia. And it’s just like… I? Do I want that? Is that a bad thing? I am so conflicted. I love being a school librarian. It made me so happy. But I feel like librarianship values academics….and only them. But at what point have I been out of the school game too long to talk about it? 5 yrs? 10? Is it possible to keep my ties to K-12 and be an academic? Don’t get me wrong. I love my current rotation. And health-wise academia is 100% the best play. I want to make a difference. I want to be a part of a community that changes libraryland for the better. And with how ALA is set up, the conferences most benefit those in academia. They def give more funding that schools. Taking a week off work just for professional development is more doable for academics than it is for schools. I mean this year Mid-Winter was like 4 days after Christmas break. There is no way I could have gone if I was a school librarian. And even Annual takes place during the school year. Those are a lot of days to have to get a sub and set up lesson plans and have the students be unable to check out books. And although things like #critlib helps build a community without physically changing locations, gaining power in librarianship is still mostly tied to “being in the room” as it were. But then I see things like the New York Collective of Radical Educators and I’m so envious! But I also remember the emotional exhaustion that came with being a school librarian. And the parents! Lord, parents are the absolute worst part of that job. And so I’m also worried that it’s a “grass is greener” situation that is happening. Basically, I’m all confused and anxious about what happens next after this residency.


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