Being a traveling librarian who works on the vendor’s side of the business has produced some interesting comments from my fellow librarians and clients. The first myth is about the travel. I would say “I was at ” and the response would be “Oh you were there?! Did you go see .” My response each time, is more of a puzzled look and “Er, my company pays me to go see clients, not to play tourist.” I had to admit the question took me by surprise when I heard it the first time around. On a rare occasion, I have made a visit to a “tourist” site. I saw President Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL after my last appointment of the day. It was three blocks from my client, how could I not? (Ok. If this works, you will see a picture of me at Mt Rushmore, I stopped by there too.) But more times than not, I just pass by all the road signs pointing towards the tourism sites.
Another myth about being on the road goes like this: I wrap up a meeting; it is maybe 2:30 in the afternoon. The client asks “Where do you go next?” I say “Back to the hotel, you were my last appointment of the day.” The moment I udder those words, I see a far away look in my client’s eyes and a small little smile. I am not sure exactly what they are envisioning but I suspect it is something like seeing me going back to the hotel, put my feet up (fluffy slippers, anyone?) turn on the TV and eating bon-bons. Or on a nice warm day, envisioning that I am at the pool side being served drinks by a cabana boy. I agree, that does sound appealing. Sigh. But in reality, I go back to the hotel and do some more work. I am answering emails or phone calls, doing follow-up request from the visit and type up my notes from our visit. Sorry to burst anyone bubble about the “glamour” of being an EBSCO librarian. If it helps, I do get a free snack or bottle of water from a lot of hotels.
To be honest the most “touristy” thing that I do, is try local restaurants. My friends and family, who have access to my Facebook page, do see “mini reviews” of my finds. It is a pleasure to find a restaurant that serves wonderful food, nice ambiance, etc. I will often ask my clients for recommendations, where do they eat that is not chain restaurant. I find the Urban Spoon web site also helpful in helping me select a place to try. Yes, there are times when it is McDonalds, because I am in a rush, or because they have Wi-Fi I can access for work. But at the end of the day, when I have time to call my own, it is pretty nice to go to some outdoor café in historic St Charles, or Microbrew in Quincy, IL that local musicians play Celtic music on a Thursday night makes it traveling still fun.
Meanwhile, I need to get back on the road.
Carol Doms, your Traveling Librarian