The title of this post I borrowed from a reader comment left on an article written by Char Booth entitled Librarians as __________: Shapeshifting at the periphery. I appreciate this article for the words used to draw a map of the many places librarians show up and the many masks we wear while doing our jobs as, teachers, liaisons, researchers, mediators, super heroes, “plumbers”. Thanks Char! Excerpt:
We have always been professional chameleons, using different tools to play different roles for different patrons in different organizations in different states and so on, ad infinitum. The more we recommend to each other that we become the someone elses we see fit, the more we risk missing that the deceptively prescriptive identity/utility question is being answered descriptively. Our new reality is like our old reality, only a little more adaptive and a lot more self-reflexive (or vice versa, you tell me). Librarian as ________ analogies are useful in exploring our response to a critically transformative time in the trajectory of our profession, but their function as metaphor should not be overlooked lest we creep too far from our own (rather amazing) archetype. Despite the ways we might recast ourselves as individuals, our collective identity can and should still revolve around a solid practical and conceptual core of “humor, verve, and grace,” to borrow a phrase from Cory Doctorow. Under shifting shapes, librarians remain the singularly knowledgeable, radically neutral, and openly accessible mavens of the information world.