A couple of weeks ago, on a road trip drive, I was listening to the local NPR station, where there was a discussion of specialists versus generalists. While I am sure that there are librarians that are specialists, I would be hard pressed to find a school librarian position that would benefit from having one deep area of knowledge instead of a wide range of knowledge. In fact, that is one of the reasons I love the library.
On any given day I can have a wide range of discussions and educational opportunities. It helps me to stay fresh as a learner myself, and I try and help students conduct a research search, and on the way find new information I have never been exposed to before. It also helps me to grow my empathy for a wider range of situations, as I try to read widely in my libraries, and find new materials for all of the various students that come through the doors.
What are your thoughts? Are you more of a specialist or a generalist in your field? Which do you prefer – and why?