Friday, October 11, 2013

On Impostor Syndrome

Okay, so I can't stop thinking about Cory's amazing post on the Storytime Underground blog: Privilege, Intention and Impostor Syndrome. Seriously, go read it now. You will not regret it. I will wait.

*hums to self*

Done? Okay, good. The reason I can't stop thinking about it is because it resonates with me and with how I feel some of the time (less recently, which is good, but still sometimes and occasionally A LOT). Also, I feel like it should be required reading for all youth services librarians. Maybe all librarians. Maybe everybody everywhere.

CONFESSION TIME: I missed the original Guerrilla Storytime at ALA last summer kiiiinda because I was crazy busy with all the things, but also a lot because I was intimidated. Get up in front of all these amazing people and answer questions about storytime that are thrown at me?! What if I don't have a song for that? I don't feel amazing enough... I wouldn't have anything to contribute... I'm just an impostor...

And I have been kicking myself ever since. I missed out on my chance to hang out with all these awesome, welcoming, helpful people and jam about storytime.

It is so easy to fall down that rabbit hole of my-felts-aren't-as-awesome-as-Ms-Katie's and I-don't-do-as-much-STEM-programming-as-Ms-Amy and I'm-not-as-good-an-early-literacy-trainer-as-Ms-Melissa and I'm-not-as-connected-to-my-community-as-Ms-Marge and OMG-I-CAN'T-MAKE-A-BOOK-STICKER-EVERY-DAY-LIKE-MR-SCHU.

Climb up out of that rabbit hole.

Because there are some truths that you need to know:

1. Just knowing about and reading about all the awesome things being done by librarians around the country (including but certainly not limited to those mentioned above) is a GOOD THING. It's an excellent thing. It is a thing that not all librarians do.

2. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. By that, I just mean that ideas will keep. There are so many awesome things going on at libraries everywhere. Now the blogosphere has brought us together so that we're all aware of these things. But that doesn't mean you need to do EVERY IDEA RIGHT THIS MINUTE. You do the things you can. The rest will keep. If it keeps being something important to you, you'll get to it: when you have time / when your administration comes around / when it's the right thing for your community / when you have the right staff to get it done / etc.

3. You are doing good things. You are serving your community. You've been trained for and know what you're doing when you plan storytime, answer reference questions, visit schools, etc. etc. etc. Instead of wishing that you could be three people at once, own what you are doing.

4. SERIOUSLY, OWN IT. Don't be intimidated to go to Guerrilla Storytime. You'll miss out on all the fun*. And you do have things to share. And you have things to learn; own that, too. We're all learning all the time.

And it's okay to balance work and personal life whatever your situation may be, wherever your passions may lie. For me, personally, I do feel like librarianship is more than just a job. But it's still not my whole LIFE. And that's okay.

I know that Cory really said all of these same things in her amazing post. (DID YOU READ IT? YOU REALLY SHOULD READ IT.) But it's something that we ALL need to hear every now and again.

Take a deep breath.
The kids are alright.

* Wah :(