Hung Truong: The Blog!

Did Library School Change Me?

July 27, 2009 | 3 Minute Read

Looking back on my old posts from before I went to school at a hybrid Information/Library Science school, my opinions of librarians seemed fueled by a bit of prejudice. For example, in my visiting days post I wrote:

I sat down at a table whose occupants were librarians. Pretty much everyone there was an LIS (library and information services) specialist. This wasn’t really a great first impression, since I applied under the HCI (human-computer interaction) specialization, and to be honest, libraries aren’t really my thing.

What, exactly, did I have against librarians and libraries? I think I mostly felt that, from the school’s website (or the parts of the website that I studied), the program was more for people who were generally interested in information from a more technology-oriented viewpoint. So I was hoping to see more technological-minded folks at my table.

I still, however, decided to enroll. And I’m glad I did. Slowly, I think I started to understand what libraries are all about. I started using the local library. A lot. It probably also helped that I worked at a library my entire time at the school. I wasn’t studying to be a librarian, but I was exposed to the culture. Computer nerds and librarians make a good team.

So did library school actually change me? Or was I somehow intrinsically drawn to the program where computer nerds and book nerds collide? Maybe a little of both. I’ve always had a secret love for organizing and archiving things.

For example, pretty much no one in my family seems to care much about backing up files. I, on the hand, am a bit obsessed about it. I still have files from middle school preserved in their original file formats and directory structure in place. Who knows, some day I might want to look back on that stuff. I’m also kind of a nut when it comes to properly organizing and applying metadata (and preserving said metadata) from photos. Oh, and also backing everything up, both on-site and off-site (using multiple online services).

I also get really irritated when I go to the library and see something like this:

Infuriatingly bad organization!

Is that a Drama and Horror blu-ray disc I see mixed in with the Action ones!? Usually I will take the offending discs and put them in the right place. There was also that one time I saw Harry Potter in Comedy when it should have gone in Fantasy. The worst is when a DVD gets mixed in with blu-ray. That’s like the same as a book being in the CD section! Oh man, now I’m rambling.

The point is, I think I already had some Librarian/Archivist in me before coming to library school. Hanging out with like-minded people probably reinforced the behavior mentioned above. And probably for the better. If you’re a computer nerd, I suggest you check out libraries (and librarians!). If you’re a library nerd, I suggest you check out computer nerd stuff (and computer nerds!). Together, we can make the world a more information-y place.