When Karen G. Schneider (or K.G. as I’ve known her on Twitter) said that she wanted to interview me for an article about librarians and personal branding, I was confused. While style is something I think about a lot, I’ve never considered personal branding in regards to what it can do for a librarian. I thought personal branding was something Kardashians or Sonja from Real Housewives did. You know, like sticking your name on a diet pill or a toaster oven to get more name recognition.
After talking to K.G. and reading her well-written article, I started ruminating on the idea of personal branding for people other than rich lady reality TV stars. Why do librarians need to consider personal branding? Is it different from building a good reputation or cultivating your image? Is this something that should be taught to librarians?
All my life, I’ve wanted to be an introvert who dressed in black and beige and liked it. Maybe adorned with a piece of jewelry I didn’t change up too often. Maybe a gold locket? Something tasteful and simple. I’m serious. This always seemed like the ideal librarian and worker to me. This kind of person appears stable and hardworking. Everyone wants to hire this person. I didn’t think someone like me could really get a job. I don’t know too much about personal branding, but what I do know is that I got much happier once I let my weirdo flag fly and stopped trying to be someone else. A happier Ingrid made a better librarian.
The pink hair and glitter shoes helped me get remembered at conferences, but being memorable only gets you so far. All these unicorn brooches and dinosaur earrings and heart-covered dresses can project MORON if you’re not careful. I want to make my mark, but not at the cost of seeming all hair/crazy clothes and no substance. As They Might Be Giants have sung, “Don’t want to be known as the freak who just comes around to catch your eye.”
Totally unrelated, my neighbors at Queens Public Library are being everything librarians should be. It’s not just librarians and NY-ers taking notice: They got Boing-Boinged! Read about all their great work here. Want to support all their great post-Sandy work? Have you thought about donating children’s books or cold hard cash to Urban Librarians Unite’s Book Drive? Why not? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?
What are your thoughts on personal branding? How about librarians helping out in times of crisis? Remember, I need you to comment. My self-esteem lies in your hands.
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid