26 August 2008

How did I get here?

I'm a bit late to the party and although I wasn't tagged I thought I'd jump in. The meme, started by Superstarachivist, is how did you get to being a librarian?

So how did I get here? I guess it was fate or destiny or the fact that I just liked to read led me to become a librarian. My first real experience with libraries and librarians was in High School, when one of the librarians started recommending books to me. She even brought books in for me that she thought I'd like! So that kinda of stuck in my mind when I started looking for work study when I went to college. And lo and behold the library contacted me!

I worked in Circulation and learned the in's and out's of access services pretty well. I was able to help with shifting, shelving, and just about anything that came across the Circulation desk. I remember my first year there pretty well, mostly because I was made to clean toner bottles. Not sure why, but that was something they made all freshman did (mostly for torture I think). But I stuck with it and I switched to working weekends and getting hours outside of work study money. I struck up a friendship with the student that was my boss and learned even more about libraries (he eventually went to library school.) When he graduated I got to train the person that was my boss on the weekend and we ended up becoming pretty good friends (I was in his wedding last year.) We supervised the student assistants on weekends, wrote their evaluations, and made sure basic tasks and duties got done, and that the building was opened and closed on time. And when he graduated I took on that job for the last semester.

I was art education in undergraduate and had a bad teaching experience so decided to go to grad school. And of course it was in Art History. But it never sat right. Even when I was at the college's main library I would want to show their staff and student's the right way to do treat your patrons (never did, but wanted to). A professor even asked why didn't I go into it. So I left after a year, without the degree and went to work at the library at Johns Hopkins University.

Here is where I had a boss tell me all jobs in the library were boring, but I worked with a great group of people and met really cool librarians. I worked the evening/weekend shift and in stacks/building maintenance. During these hours I really had a chance to work with students and help them find materials. I got to find out what librarians really did and how tech services worked. I knew that I wanted to stay in libraries, but the questions was where? I had great ideas on how to improve services, but sadly I wasn't really listened to at Hopkins for various reasons. I decided enough being a peon, I wanted my MLIS so I could implement change! And my friend from undergrad (the one whose wedding I was in) had just finished his MLIS and I thought well if he can do it, so can I.

So I left Hopkins, moved back to SC and attended University of South Carolina via Distane Education. I met some great people, had some interesting professors (that's another post in it's entirety!) and finished my MLIS in one year. During that time span I worked at a two libraries PT and gained experience working on the reference desk at one of them. I decided to stay in public services and began looking for work and landed my current job a couple weeks before I graduated. These first two years have been interesting and I've learned more about myself and what I'd really like to do as a librarian.

Here are a few other people who have shared their stories.

1 comment:

Bluestalking Reader said...

I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog. I'm an MLS grad student (returning student, I must add, after *muffle* years after getting my BA). I currently blog at http://bluestalking.typepad.com. That's my blog from my book reviewer days. As I proceed through school I'll shift focus to the other blog I'm starting up, Librarian, Uncensored. My focus will be on intellectual freedom, fighting the banning of books, etc. But for now I'll be lucky to survive the fall semester!

I'm having fun reading your older posts, and I've added you to my Library Links blog roll.

Glad to "meet" you.