Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Roving with Elegance: The Solution to the Nametag Dilemma?

A few months ago, my library system informally polled us about our feelings on wearing name tags. Like the librarian blogosphere overall, I felt divided. We should be approachable - but we should also be professional, not like waitresses or cashiers.

Luckily, here at a medical library, I had an easy way out - I opined that we should just wear the same official hospital badges worn by everyone from the surgeons to the janitors. Technically, the library staff is already supposed to wear them, but since we're not around lootable pharmacuticals or confidential patient records, no one really bothers. I'm not sure what conclusion they've come to on the main campus.

But for those of you on the fence about nametags, I have a lovely suggestion:


I got this as a graduation gift for my MLIS from friends, who found it at the gift shop of the Vancouver Public Library. It's made by a delightfully traditionalist British firm, Thomas Fattorini (who also make badges and crests bearing titles like Games Captain and House Prefect*).

It is an elegant thing, with a nice weight to it - not chintzy or plastic. It clearly indicates a professional title. (I hold a hope that this might distinguish me from the undergraduate student assistants, something my own appearance is apparently insufficient to do.) I'm half considering wearing it to ALA in the hopes of starting my networking on the plane trip or in the hotel: wearing it inside the convention hall would, of course, be stating the obvious.

What do you think? Is this still too commerical? Is it so discreet as to be pointless? Or could this be a useful compromise?

*They will custom engrave badges, so if anyone is still doing Harry Potter programs, I bet they'll make you one that says Quidditch Captain.

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Libri & Libertas: Books & Freedom in a Web 2.0 World by Laura H. Wimberley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 3.0 United States License.