This entry is sparked by Neil Gaiman’s blog entry of today — someone asking about becoming an editor because she loves to read and being an editor, in her mind, will be all about reading. Gaiman posted a really good response from a TOR editor, and it boils down to the fact that, no, an editor’s job is not reading all day.
Same thing that I often experience when people talk about wanting to become a Librarian because they love books and reading and in their mind, Librarians seem to be doing nothing but reading. The truth is, at least in my case, I almost NEVER read on the job. I read on the way to and from work on the subway, I read at night, I read brushing my teeth in the morning, I read on the weekends, I read in bed, and I read on vacation. But, if I can steal 10 minutes in any given day to read a chapter or so, I’ll count myself lucky! There is a lot of data management, program preparation, PR, reference assistance, readers’ advisory, reading list compilation, finding resources for patrons and for the web pages… all those little “tasks” that take up all the time in an 8-hour day that a passionate reader will definitely find frustrating if he or she got into this profession thinking that they wouldn’t need to do much else. (HA! Think again!)
I am fortunate that I love to read AND love to do all the other things that come with the job (umm… maybe not that much chasing down overdue books, cleaning my desk, or shelving…) and I’d recommend anyone who wants to be a librarian thinks about this job as a service profession, as a PR profession, and as an Information Management profession, on top of a Reading Profession.