Librarians tend to be nice people. I know some patrons who fear the withering glance of the bun-wearing spinster might disagree, but in general it's true. Librarians want to help people, and usually they don't mind getting little reward for all that help. Money's not that important. A piece of chocolate and a kind word every few weeks keeps the librarians happy.
As the etymologically inclined among you undoubtedly know, "nice" didn't always have the bland but generally positive connotations it does today. When the word appeared in English in the fourteenth century, it meant, according to the OED, "foolish; simple; silly; ignorant." Now how do we feel about being nice?
Librarians are nice in all sorts of ways, but mostly because they want to help. They want to help people by sharing what they know, and sometimes they do know things. If we believe Francis Bacon that knowledge is power, it's a wonder librarians don't have more power. These days the pundits are apt to opine that information is power, or the control of information is power, or some such thing. Those who have more and more timely information have an edge over others. If this is true, then librarians should have more power, it would seem, and yet they don't. Why? Because they're too nice, in every sense of the term.
So do you want more power? Then don't share what you know. It's that simple. Don't tell your patrons everything you know. Make them come back to you. Hold them captive to their own ignorance. If patrons were so smart, they wouldn't have to come to the librarians for answers, now would they? No, they wouldn't. Don't teach them to fish. Don't tell them how you found that information they were looking for. If they want the secrets of information mastery, they can damn well go to library school and be bored to death like the rest of us. Is that too much to ask? I didn't think so.
Some librarians are even nice enough to share what they know with their colleagues. This just shows how selfless, and, dare I say it, nice librarians can be. Let's be honest. What incentive do I have for sharing my knowledge with my colleagues? I keep my knowledge to myself and use it to my advantage. If I'm at a meeting and some backwards librarian isn't hep to the latest library jive, I'm happy to hint at how much I know, and thus how superior I am, but I'm hardly likely to start giving workshops entitled, "Things I Know But You Don't Because You're Too Lazy to Learn Stuff on Your Own." If my colleagues want to know about the latest twopointopian gobbledygook, they can slog through the blogs like I do. So what if I'm younger than them. It's not like I graduated from library school yesterday. Things change. Keep up, but don't expect me to help drag you into the new millennium.
And for the younger colleagues, my only incentive to share what I know with you is to make you my minions in case a power struggle ever breaks out in the library. You might think you know a lot, like those Library Student Journal folks who think they know more about libraries than I do, but there's plenty you never learn about in library school. For example, I never had a class about power struggles in the library, but I learned everything I needed to know from Machiavelli, who would have made a fine assistant library director.
So if you want to look for advantages instead of like suckers, remember: knowledge is power. Don't share what you know.