The Elephant in the Room: Imposter Syndrome & Librarian Researcher
In embarking on my own research this past year, I encountered periods of extreme self-doubt about my abilities. Librarians of all ages and experience levels have spoken frankly to me of their own impostor syndrome moments, most tied to research. I’ve observed, and experienced, an ability to find a niche in professional practice with much more ease than settling into the researcher persona. I see librarians undertaking more complex research, far beyond a former role as bibliographer. As a profession, we are receiving grants, conducting sophisticated research studies using multiple methodologies, and producing professionally published results. Yet many librarians I’ve talked to minimize these achievements and remain unsure of themselves as researchers. My doubts stem from inexperience—I’ve never supervised a student or written a graduate thesis, and took a single solitary course on research during my MLIS. The prevalence of impostor syndrome among librarian practitioner-researchers has piqued my curiosity, and I’m wondering if there are some ways we can support each other and build confidence as researchers throughout the profession. And thought it might start with talking about it out here in the open, with an audience full of practitioner-researchers, and share some strategies and ideas with each other.
Presentation given at the C-EBLIP Symposium on October 12, 2016.
C-EBLIP, impostor syndrome, librarian researcher