Now that the obligatory introduction post is over, I thought I might dive into the idea of “Beta Librarian.” First of all, it’s not my idea. I’d like to take full credit, but, alas, I cannot. That honor belongs to LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, who wrote about the concept in The Start-Up You. Of course, this being the age of the blogosphere, that’s not even where I discovered the idea. Instead, I read about it on Kim Dority‘s blog, Infonista. Back in May, after I had built up a massive blogroll of librarian blogs in my quest to get the ball rolling on my path to librarian-hood, Kim posted a blog entitled The Permanent-Beta Career. The title alone tickled my fancy, but the concept shocked me with how closely it aligned with how I already approached my first career.
Dority summed up the concept:
Building on the familiar business approach of “beta” signaling a product not yet complete but ready for testing, Hoffman and Casnocha define permanent beta as 1) to always be starting, and 2) to forever be a work in progress.
It’s a concept I think applies to all fields, and one that I already applied to myself in my work as a journalist. In fact, thinking of myself as being a “work in progress” has directly affected my success in the field. By constantly seeking to improve myself and take on new skills, I went from being a junior copy editor at one paper to being the chief designer at another. That wasn’t something either of those companies offered training for, yet I’ve managed to make the transition anyway. In fact, that’s sort of the point of this blog.
I want to use this space as a place where I can collect all my experiences in one place, making it easier to review the lessons I’ve learned and to improve when I failed to apply those lessons to my career. I’ve always thought of myself as a lifelong learner, a term also applied to librarians. This blog is just another way I will continue learning, about myself and the field I’m preparing to join. I’ll always be in beta, constantly starting anew and working to improve myself, but that’s exactly the way it should be.