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« Miles’s Library: Annotated | Main | Happy 5th Birthday, Blue Skunk! »

You know you're a 21st century librarian when...

This came in the inbox this past week:

I retired 2 years ago and enjoy this list [You Know You're a Librarian in 2005 when... ] every time I come across it. Have you updated it?
Nope. But I'm going to start now! Just out of curiosity, how does five years fly by so quickly?

You know you are a 21st century librarian when…

You know you’re living in 200x when…
  1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
  2. You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.
  3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
  4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
  5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don’t have e-mail addresses…
  6. (15 more…)

So how do you know you’re a 21st century librarian? When…
  1. You have to remind kindergarteners to turn off their cell phones before the story starts.
  2. You know what an IP number is but not an ISBN number.
  3. You have a student who does a better job troubleshooting the circulation system than the district technician.
  4. Your students think both The Princess and the Frog and Meet the Robinsons were written by Walt Disney.
  5. You know more librarians in Texas than you do in your home state because of LM_Net, TL-Ning and  SecondLife.
  6. The best way to remind a student about an overdue book through Facebook.
  7. You don’t talk in the teachers lounge about a project because it is not tied directly to a state test.
  8. When answering a reference question, you head to an Internet terminal.
  9. You’ve started dressing like your avatar.
  10. Kids look at you funny when you call it the “the card catalog.”
  11. You have 5th grade girls who sport more tats and metal studs than a biker gang.
  12. You have more polo shirts with computer logos than you do book logos - and 25% of your wardrobe comes from vendor booths at conferences.
  13. Your students show you how to get around the district Internet filter so you can teach a lesson.
  14. Your aid spends more time troubleshooting the network than reshelving books.
  15. You never see anyone copy out of the print encyclopedia anymore.
  16. Your index finger has a callous from tapping the SmartBoard.
  17. You didn’t get your last grad class assignment turned in on time because the network was down and you haven't attended a F2F class in years.
  18. You’ve Googled the new teachers in your building - and all the kids have Googled you.
  19. You don’t remember the last time you’ve had to alphabetize something.
  20. You have all your passwords and PIN numbers are on your PDA - and you can’t remember the password for your PDA!
Add your own!
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Reader Comments (15)

21. Instead of asking students to use a quiet voice in the library, you ask them to turn up their laptop speaker so you can hear new music.

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarb Jansen

Some of your best professional development information comes from your PLN on Twitter!

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia Peterson

15. Not only do you not ever see anyone copying from a print encyclopedia but there isn't even ONE print encyclopedia in your library any longer - nor do you have Reader's Guide, a paper Almanac or Current Biography!

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGuusje

#7 is just to close to home. Add training is only good if it applies to reading and math score.

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

Great idea Doug, thanks for the push!

*students WANT to spend time in your library
*you teach how to hyperlink sources rather than APA/MLA
*you have a media "lab" that is always booked
*you lead PD sessions at your school
*Instead of jump drives you use cloud storage for your staff
*You have edited multiple wikipedia articles and used them to cite yourself. :)

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Wacker

You know you're a 21st century librarian when you realize you've been reading the Blue Skunk Blog for five years!

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary

You know you are a 21st century librarian when you realize bandwidth does not refer to the amount of street the school marching band takes up during summer parades.

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary


New music? I've lost track since the Beatles.



Hmmmm, this one might have to become permanent! I like it.



And I wonder how much longer paper for any reason will be in libraries with the rapid rise of e-books!


Hi Carole,

And it is getting worse.


Thanks for the much needed positive spin to this list, Michael!



I think my "bandwidth" went from 34" to 38" over the past few years.


August 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson
Added my own little addition to your theme after being inspired by your site. (See most recent post to Not-Your-Mother's Library.)
Thanks for the prompt.
The list lives on!

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoren've memorised the password to the iPad charger but can't give the Dewy number for "Spain" without looking it up.

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterConan

I love it! Thanks. (Although I have to say I am not sure I ever had the Dewey number for Spain memorized - 900s somewhere, right?)


August 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

When students ask where they can charge their devices instead of where they can sharpen their pencils.

March 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura


I love it! Just working on a guide for BYOD and 1:1 for librarians and this ties right in. Really appreciate the addition.


March 23, 2014 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Get yourself to Bath Central Library, where an Australian got slapped across the cheek, just for navigating the bookshelves. Where there are ample kippers and daydreamers. You will never be short of artistic material. If you want the real spooky - stay for a decade or two...


September 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBATH CENTRAL LIBRARY

OK, Mrs Yonder-Fiddle, this takes the prize as the strangest response I've ever received to a blog post in 12 years of posts!


September 22, 2017 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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