On being a generalist

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?

 

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