My Library Route
(This entry is part of Ned Potter’s Library Routes Project. The idea of the project is to detail how you ended up in the profession: what made you decide on librarianship, how you ended up in the particular area you’re in, etc.)
I never grew up knowing that I was going to be a librarian. In fact, the thought never crossed my mind until I was 29. It’s pretty amazing that it took that long, considering my lifelong love for books and reading. It’s true that librarians don’t go into the profession merely because of their love of reading. They either love the public service aspect, or they love research, etc. But it makes sense that a love of reading is the first step into the field, right? Maybe that’s just me.
I fell into librarianship completely by accident. In college, I was an English major, and after graduation went into publishing. My first job out of college was at a legal publisher. The office closed, and I chose not to move with it. Next, I went to work for an educational professional development company. The job wasn’t moving in the direction I wanted to go fast enough. After that, I went to work at another educational company. This company wasn’t so much a publisher, as it was a creator of educational toys and teacher resources. Towards the end of my time there, I became very disillusioned with what I was doing. I was no longer a good fit for the company, and my boss and I both started to realize that.
So how the heck did I end up a librarian? Remember my disillusionment? I wasn’t the only one. One of my coworkers had left the company to go to library school and become a librarian. Suddenly, a light bulb went off. I knew that’s what I was also supposed to do. So, I did the exact opposite of what my parents have always told me to do. I quit my job without another one lined up. I applied for a job at a public library and applied to library school.
Thankfully, I got the job, and I was accepted in the Library Science program at Dominican University. Throughout grad school, I worked part-time at a public library. I started in circulation, and moved into Extension Services. I hoped to become full-time at that library. Considering the horrible economy, that didn’t happen. Suddenly, I was done with library school, and I had to find another job. I got lucky and found a part-time job in Adult Services at another public library. Instead of working full-time at one library, I’m working part-time at two. When I first realized that I would have to do that, the disillusionment started to set in all over again. But you know what? It’s turned out to be an awesome experience, and I wouldn’t change it.
Who knew that splitting up my time between two libraries would turn out to be such a good thing? And why didn’t I ever think of being a librarian? I don’t know the answers, but I’m really glad it turned out this way.