My latest arena of professional guilt:
Around once a week now, I get email from a library school student asking me to answer five to ten questions about what it’s like to be a practicing librarian. (I see these as posts on the lists too, so I know I am not the only one.)
I want to go on record as saying–I can’t do this. (Well, maybe if I knew and loved the student I could, but really, I can’t.)
If they were the same questions over and over again I could paste from a standard document, but they’re usually not. Some are about collection and some are about management and some are about technology. You get the picture. And there’s this–I hate templates.
My guess is that the assignment is likely meant to be an interview, some kind of personal interaction where the student and I chat and there’s winky subtext and energy and dialog and all that really good stuff.
That just doesn’t happen when I stop for an hour to write a disconnected email essay.
My usual solution is to ask the student to phone me and I will talk as I wander around the library or I will talk at home while I fold the laundry.
And if they are local, I’ll invite them to visit. We have lots of visitors.
I don’t want to appear unflattered, or unhelpful. I visit many preservice classes, physically and virtually. I think the learning that goes on in these programs is critical. Practical exposure and professional connections are among the most essential elements of this learning.
I really want to help. But please, don’t ask me to write another essay.