I admit that a lot of things escape my notice. I don’t read all the email messages that come over the GeorgiaMedia distribution list, I don’t attend every conference session, and heaven knows that (after grueling days at work) I sat through many a grad school class in a state of semi-sleep. However, in my twelve years of working in public schools, I can’t recall any significant discussion about how library media specialists are recruited into the field.
Certainly, there are a number of fine graduate programs that offer great programs to those who are interested—but what makes one interested in the first place? What makes a teacher decide to earn a master’s degree in library media instead of administration, counseling, or their current curriculum area? I’m sure it has something to do with the fine examples set by the library media specialists in their schools, but I’d like to know more specifically what it is.
Why is this important to know why library media specialists choose this field? It’s important because we need to become active recruiters—headhunters, even—for the profession. In order to be successful as a library media specialist, one must have a great deal of training, but there are some essential traits that cannot be taught. (I can teach someone to catalog, but I can’t teach someone to love children.) Consequently, it is in the best interest of our students to identify the specific traits that are necessary for success and to actively recruit people who possess them.
So I ask you, fellow library media professionals, how do we recruit the best people into our field? What made you choose this profession? What are the attributes that you feel are most essential to success? What are the best ways to identify the people who have those attributes? What are the best ways to convince those people to pursue the Greatest Job in the World?