Pimp Yourself

July 13, 2007 at 10:00 am 6 comments

Please don’t be offended or turned-off by the title.

I know there have been a few occasions where “pimp” this or that has been a problem, but just try to get past that for a moment and consider this ….

The other day I attended a wonderful workshop and one of the suggestions in that workshop was that as librarians we need to stop being so quiet and shy about ourselves and start boasting about ourselves, our libraries, our profession, etc.!

Well, I have heard this before and embrace it wholeheartedly!
However, the group attending this particular workshop seemed especially uncomfortable with this suggestion.

The specific suggestion made that really got them squirming was to “use your credentials on everything.”

I personally LOVE this and started doing it as soon as I had heard it.
I put my MLIS on everything I can – in my e-mail signatures, when I sign things, on my business cards, etc…. Some may think it is even excessive, but I don’t care! I paid for the MILS, I earned the MILS, I have an MLIS and it does mean something!
(I was in the first class of students who graduated from SCILS at Rutgers with the additional vowel “I” – it stands for Master of Library and INFORMATION Science – boy, do I LOVE having that extra “I”!)

Several attendees really seemed aghast about this and I was sort of surprised. I can understand that it may go “outside your comfort zone” to boast about yourself or your library, but adding a few letters to the end of your name!?

Other professions do it all the time and no one thinks anything of it! Or, they have a prefix to designate their qualifications and/or professionalism, i.e,. “Dr.”, “Esq.”, etc.

We as librarians need to do this as well!

Sometimes this suggestion is met with, “Well, no one knows what that stands for anyway!”

GREAT! That gives you the chance to TELL THEM what it stands for, what it means, why you have it and what it means YOU CAN DO!

C’mon, as far as “pimping things” goes, this really is one of the easier ones (and free too!)

I challenge everyone who doesn’t use their credentials to make a commitment to doing so as a “first step” toward becoming more comfortable BOASTING about how awesome we are! (Cuz we are!)


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  • 1. Cynthia  |  July 13, 2007 at 11:24 am

    This is exactly the type of thing that needs to be done if we want to end the slide into the use of para-professionals instead of MLIS holders in many library jobs.

    Look at the job postings–few if any are for full-time employment in public libraries. I suspect that much of that is because of the use of interns and para-professionals.

    As I struggle to change careers, friends, family, and co-workers are all amazed that to be a librarian you need a Master’s degree. We should market ourselves and our skills far better.

  • 2. Josh  |  July 13, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Another thing you could do is hang your degree up in your office, or cubicle, or whatever desk space you have. This is so common in other professions but I dont think I have even seen a librarian with their degree, or other certifications, hanging up in their office.

  • 3. Amy J. Kearns, MLIS  |  July 13, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Actually, Josh, that exact thing was also mentioned and this also made them quite nervous – but I agree and I’m really glad you added it – I will do that in my new office in fact! 🙂

  • 4. Liz B  |  July 14, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Using the MLIS is something I’ll have to think about. I do think we need to be more visible about the degree and the value. And if people don’t know we have it …


    As for Pimp… at the next NJLA conference, after a few drinks, I’ll sing my version of “it’s hard out here for a pimp”, but with lyrics revised to “it’s hard out here for a librarian.”

    And c’mon, you know that as soon as you talked law stuff I’d be here! I’m sure there was a bet going on about how long it would take me to comment & how long that comment would be.

    Usual disclaimer, as with any legal stuff, the below can vary based on state law, as well as the exact degree earned.

    Esq: a bit of a debate about whether or not it’s proper to refer to oneself as Esq., or whether it should only be used about someone else (ie I write a letter to John Doe Esq but don’t sign it Jim Doe Esq.) It can be looked at as very “look at me, look at me.”

    The arguments for using it for oneself are mostly about the Esq indicating the right to pratice law, rather than “just” having earned the degree. (Yes, earning a JD is a major accomplishment, but its not enough to practice, so people have to be very clear about this in how they use or don’t use JD. Hence the “just”.)

    And, just to stir the pot some more, a lot of usage of Esquire is traditional (but not always, a few states may have codified it) and some still think it cannot be used by / about a woman.

    Another debate re JDs is how one shouldn’t call oneself doctor, even tho a doctorate had been earned (JD.) (NJ, of course, has an entire legal opinion on when one can and cannot call themselves a doctor based on the juris doctorate).

    I guess law wise (and possible MD wise) (I’m not sure about PhDs) part of the reason for the alphabet soup after a name is to let people know not so much the degree earned, but the legal right to practice.

    Liz B., BS, JD (retired), MLIS.

  • 5. Liz B  |  July 14, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    OH, just read Josh’s comment. I think public libraries are a place where we should promote the degree like he says; but since many public librarians don’t have an office, their own computer, or even any wallspace, it’s hard to do. I’d be interested in creative answers to that, especially answers that let the patrons know about the MLISs!

  • 6. Amy J. Kearns, MLIS  |  July 14, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Liz, wow I didn’t know any of that stuff – thanks for the info…

    I also agree about the lack of wall space, etc. for librarians to hang their degrees, certificates, etc.,….

    I’m not sure about it either – I had them hanging in my house before I moved – now they aren’t hanging anywhere – but I’m thinking of putting them up in the office.

    My idea/suggestion for how to let patrons know about the MLIS is to have name tags and to have that on them and also titles on them.

    (I know there are a few different opinions on this and some people aren’t comfortable with their last names being on the name tags at work and it’s kinda weird to put something like Amy, MLIS instead of Amy Kearns, MILS, and personally my position is keeping your last name off your name tag isn’t really going to “protect your identity” if that’s what you’re after cuz you are in many cases a public employee and blah blah blah)

    ooh sorry for that – take a breath, Kearns!

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