Should a public librarian live in the community she serves? The obvious answer seems to be,
Yes, a librarian should live in the community she serves.
If so, I am guilty. I don’t live in the community I serve. I live across the river, in very a different city, in a very different province (more on this later).
In theory, living in the community she serves will allow a librarian to better serve her patrons (and potential patrons).
2- Connect with patrons who are less active in the community by chatting them up at the park, in line at the grocery store, while waiting for the bus.
At least, this is true of small town living.
Has this dynamic changed now that more of us are living in newly amalgamated cities that have doubled, tripled and quadrupled in size? Now that we are serving community members (rural and urban, rich and poor) with very different needs and very different realities
Keeping in mind this one certainty, living in the community she serves will NOT help a librarian better understand the needs of her patrons, UNLESS she makes a particular effort to ask the right questions and be open-minded about the community’s responses,
is it safe to say that a librarian doesn’t need to live in the community she serves in order to serve her patrons well? As long as she prioritizes getting to know the needs of her patrons?
I like to think so. Then again, it could be my guilty conscience is trying to defend itself.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
Read up on community led libraries :
Community led libraries toolkit (PDF), http://bit.ly/p7xPdy
Librarians Matter, http://bit.ly/5mSF1