Week 7: Things 10 & 11

Thing 10: Route into Librarianship

I found it fascinating to read through the options available toUKlibrarians. I don’t know that my path would have been much different than the one I chose here in the US, but it seems as though the LIS community is perhaps more welcoming and supportive of new librarians. From the few posts I’ve seen this week on this topic, it appears that many of my fellow participants found themselves working in a library almost by accident and then decided that they enjoyed it so they pursued a degree in the field.

I am almost the exact opposite, where I decided to become a librarian and get my Masters degree without ever having worked in a library. Although I’ve never worked in libraries, I did grow up in and around them. My Mother is a retired librarian, and she was the Library Media Specialist in my high school. I have many distinct memories of running through her library as a child, and we took weekly visits to the public library together. In high school I’d hang out in the library in my free time, and I’d usually jump on the computer and help my classmates check out and find books.

I got my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a topic that grabbed my attention in high school, and one that I still find exciting. I decided toward the end of my undergraduate career to take a few years to work before I decided what type of post-graduate education to pursue. It took longer than I expected, but I finally found my current job where I work as a crisis counselor. This experience helped me realize that I didn’t want to be a therapist, and although I love Psychology, I didn’t want to be stuck in a lab researching and experimenting either. I almost started a program to get my Masters in Women’s Studies, but at the last minute I realized that it wouldn’t have the practical focus that I was looking for. I went through a bit of an identity crisis but gave myself time to explore my interests, evaluate my strengths, and decide what my next step would be.

My favorite part of my undergraduate work was always doing research and reading new articles. I didn’t necessarily love writing the papers that followed, but I loved the hunt for information and the satisfaction of finding just what was needed. I know that I am skilled in working with people, and that I love being in libraries. It took some internal struggle to accept the fact that I was technically following in my Mother’s footsteps because I’ve always been one to try to blaze my own trail. Now that I’ve completed my degree I’m quite pleased with my decision and can’t wait to start working full time as a librarian. I mentioned in my last post that I’ve started volunteering at a local university, and I absolutely love the work I’m doing and being in a library twice a week. My only regret is that I didn’t pursue any opportunities for library experience during my degree program, and I’m hoping that it won’t be long until I can be making a living as a librarian!

Thing 11: Mentoring

Mentoring is definitely something I’ve been considering lately. When I graduated in June I began reaching out on message boards and found the reassurance of seasoned professionals to be incredibly helpful. I went on the ALAConnect website and used their mentoring section to reach out to several librarians, but unfortunately I haven’t received any responses. This is certainly something I intend to follow up on, but with working part time, volunteering just as much, and full-time job hunting it’s been less of a priority.

My time volunteering so far has been fantastic, and the librarian I’ve been working with has been very open about her experiences. I already feel a bit of a mentor/mentee relationship developing between us, and I may consider asking her to make it more formal once I’ve been working at the library longer. Another benefit of volunteering there is the librarians I’ve been talking to in the lunchroom! There is another volunteer who is already working as a librarian and she is considering taking classes at my alma mater to brush up on her Digital Library knowledge. It was nice to be able to share my experiences with her and get her perspective on the information I’ve learned. I have also been able to chat with a few other librarians at the university, and am considering reaching out to them to look for more volunteer hours. I had a great conversation with my Mom about the experience, and she agreed that the collegial relationships she built as a librarian were one of the most rewarding aspects of her career. I’m looking forward to meeting more librarians at different points in their careers and learning as much as I can from them.

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