Recently while responding to a Reddit posting, I whipped out links to books on a certain topic, complete with references to publishers who catered to this under recognized, specialized area. Perhaps it was because I had done a paper on it in grad school or perhaps because the topic was near and dear to my heart, but I couldn’t just let it go. I had to inform the person that there were resources available to her to educate herself on the topic.
This afternoon, I found myself in a similar situation when I found a friend in need. I sat and researched his situation and found resources for ways he could get help.
But I realized something. He had never asked for my assistance.
I paused for a moment and thought: Did I become a librarian because I like to help people get the information they need or did I do it so I could ingratiate myself in to people’s lives even when they don’t ask me to?
99% of the time it’s the former. Today it proved to be the latter. And I have to remind myself that people can only be helped when they ask for it. I can make myself as available as possible and remind them how valuable my services are, but in the end, it’s up to them to seek out assistance.