May 22, 2022

Link of the Week: ‘You’re not really a librarian’


Ah, Twitter. Among the fast moving mini-bites of news and other information, you’ll find a link, every so often, to a piece that really resonates. Such is the case with “You’re not really a librarian.”

A February 6 post from the blog “K-M the Librarian,” it’s by Sara Kelley-Mudie (@skm428), who works at the Forman School, a 9-12 boarding school in Litchfield, CT. While technology is noted here as an element that’s changing the profession, the post addresses a greater shift that involves more than bits and bytes:

The other day I got into an “argument” with a student about whether or not I was really a librarian. His position was that I wasn’t a librarian–I was actually a teacher who happened to have an office in the library.

It was a weird discussion to be having. As the conversation continued, it became clear that he was, in no small part, trying to annoy me. But I don’t think the original statement was meant just to taunt me. We ended up trying to pull in other students to make our respective cases–his that I wasn’t a librarian, mine that I really was. The general consensus seemed to be that I was definitely a librarian. And probably also a teacher.

I was thinking about the discussion I had with him, and with other students, in light of one of the phrases I so often hear when it comes to changing the perception/image of school librarians:

“how do we make them see that librarians [fill in the blank]”

 Continue reading…


Photo by Enokson.


Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (, @kishizuka on Twitter) is Executive Editor of School Library Journal.


  1. I hope more posts like this will get featured and receive more attention. It has really bothered me for the last year that I have received hundreds, if not thousands, of emails and phone calls about our Kindle program and ebooks/ereaders, a very small piece of my program, yet I’ve had less than a dozen inquiries–if that—about our Media 21 program and other learning-focused initiatives that embed the librarian and elevate our role as co-teacher and are the heart of The Unquiet Library.

    Thank you for putting the spotlight of Sara’s fabulous post.

    Best, Buffy Hamilton

  2. Allison Williams says:

    I am equally concerned about teacher misperceptions about the role of the librarian.

  3. You are SO much more than a librarian, and librarians are more than teachers! Perhaps the confusion stems from the fact that simply, “library” is becoming an insufficient description of your ‘office’…? Just saying. PS: If you were really just a librarian, you would have told him, “Shh..quiet, please!” :)