According to R.D. Lankes text, “The Atlas of New Librarianship,” “The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.” This statement is broad and encompasses the entire field of librarianship, from public to academic, from schools to special collections. Additionally, the definition of a library is currently evolving to incorporate more diverse collections of materials. Perhaps the solution for a librarian, whether new or invested in a position, is to have a personal mission statement.
I first encountered the concept of having a personal mission while I was pursuing my teaching degree. At Le Moyne, one of the tasks for preservice or student teachers was to develop a brief statement that encompassed our goals and who we were as teachers. I created the following statement at that time to summarize my views:
“My mission as a teacher is to help all my students succeed by providing them with every possible learning opportunity. I will strive to achieve this goal by teaching in ways that meet all of my students’ needs. As an adult and authority figure, I will apply the rules consistently and universally to my students. I will endeavor to treat all of my students with respect individually and culturally.” (Brown 2008)
Now, while my ideas have changed, I still view this exercise as critical to my development as a professional. Within my current viewpoint as a new library student, drawing on the new librarianship mission and my prior views, I would like to share the following as my new and evolving mission as a librarian:
My mission as a librarian is to facilitate access to information for all the diverse members of my library community as they each pursue their search for knowledge. I will work within my community to improve the state of our society by providing services and programs that my members need to foster their journeys. I will strive to create a welcoming environment for all community members. I will continue to grow and expand my knowledge in the field of librarianship to better serve each of my members needs.
While this certainly doesn’t address all of a librarians responsibilities, I believe that it does sum up their intention or purpose. I imagine that if you wrote your own mission it would differ from mine and that’s to be expected as each person is unique. I would however assume that they would all have something in common, some theme that would tie them all together. I hope you will be inspired to create your own mission and apply to your current role or use it as a guide to your continued development in the field.