Why I Became a Librarian: Kenny Nero Jr.
I’m a second generation librarian to the former Chief Law Librarian of National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Law Library. My pops also worked part-time at the local public library. While he never imposed his career onto me, he wasn’t that kind of parent, I was able to observe the relative stress free professional life he enjoyed and, more importantly, the joy he received from helping others achieve their information goals. Also, as a fellow book nerd, it was easy for me to transition from being a library page and from the circulation desk throughout high school and college to a professional librarian shortly after earning my B.S.
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Librarianship is in my blood. A career that’s often written off at the dawn of emerging technologies ranging from the ubiquity of the internet to the popularization of Google, the staying power of librarians speaks to the importance of our role in society. The internet of things served to only broaden the scope of what we offered in our walls and how we communicated and organized our information such that it became accessible even outside of them. Google, while useful, underscored the problem of too much information. Who’s to navigate the people in the right direction among the sea of misinformation, disinformation and straight up lies? We ain’t going anywhere.
This might sound counterintuitive but I’m an older millennial that grew up at the dawn of the information age and I decided to become a librarian because of that. I love customer service and because we are information stewards, those two interests are incredibly congruent with one another. Finding a book for a patron that they never knew existed, is an amazing feeling. It’s like introducing them to a new world or industry and expanding their perspective as a consequence. Helping someone complete an assignment that they’ve been stressing over by assisting them with and teaching them how to locate authoritative sources is quite the experience! How many of us have been plagued with burning the midnight oil because of, ok aside from procrastination, a seemingly insurmountable assignment? We librarians are like superheroes to those folks! This is just a tip of the iceberg as to why I became a librarian. I’ve had the pleasure of working as a public librarian, k-12 media specialist/librarian and in academia (colleges/universities). All of them bring their own unique challenges and experiences but one thread that ties the family of librarians together is that we all add to our respective communities and provide a space where everyone is equal, nobody is judged and ideas, quirks and information can all be explored in relative peace. Although we librarians may not have all the answers, we damned sure will point you in the right direction.
Thanks for reading,
Kenny Nero, Jr.
Ron Brown College Preparatory High School