Last year at a conference, a newly qualified EdD suggested to the new EdD and PhD students in his audience that we should all befriend a librarian. I already had a couple of librarian friends through work, so it was nice to be ahead of the game for once. Always interested in my studies, my librarian friends have always been a go-to group, but it’s only recently that I’ve realised just how helpful they are. Perhaps, given that I’m currently doing my literature review, it’s obvious that librarians will be useful, but it’s not just with literature that librarians are good.
When you think nobody is interested in what you’re studying, speak to a librarian. They’re interested. They don’t pretend to completely understand what you’re going on about when you’re explaining some obscure methodology, but they listen, and they make you feel like you know what you’re talking about.
When you are in a panic, speak to a librarian. They’re calming. Perhaps it’s because they work in quiet rooms – you cannot be panicky and whispering at the same time. The quiet seems to have an automatic calming effect, and it’s the librarians who keep the place quiet.
When you’re upset, speak to a librarian. They’re gentle. No matter what’s happened, they offer a shoulder to cry on. They don’t try to fix things for you, they don’t get involved, they just let you get whatever it is off your chest.
When you need a proofreader, speak to a librarian. They’re better than spellcheck. No matter how good you think you are at spelling and grammar, you cannot proofread your own work. Librarians don’t try to change what you’re saying; they just help you to say it more clearly (without making you feel stupid).
When you’re surrounded by 9,746,458 journal articles, and you’re starting to think you’ll have to read them all, speak to a librarian. They’re the literature ninjas. One word from a librarian can make a huge difference in a literature search – yes it’s probably a word that you should have thought of yourself, but sometimes the obvious things are the hardest to notice (the word in my case was abstract, doh!).
So, having been working on my Masterplan over the last week, it’s coming along nicely. Thanks to my librarian friends my search is under control and my new strategy is starting to look like it could be effective. I know it’ll evolve over time, but for now I feel like I have a good starting point and I know where I’m going with it. I haven’t quite figured out the note-taking part yet, but I’m less worried about it now that I have the other bits in place. Plan for the coming week? Get the strategy written down in a format that others would understand and work on the note-taking part of the strategy.