Really, it isn’t that my dreams haven’t worked out…it’s that I’ve realized my dreams are bigger and more broad than that.
I’ve had a number of friends (who aren’t librarians, since other librarians just “know”) ask me WHY I want to be a librarian. Recently, I came to the conclusion that I want to be a librarian for a billion and one reasons, starting with the fact that when I think of librarianship I think of OPTIONS.
I’ve had countless “odd” jobs and interests throughout my twenty-seven years. I think people are genuinely shocked when I tell them that I’ve had jobs where manual labor was required, such as Nevada Conservation Core or my two years at a Chicago bike shop. Or how about my summer as a counselor at a Jewish youth camp in upstate new york? Which brings me to the realization that once upon a time, I wanted to work with children. My undergraduate degree is in Art Education and during my schooling and short career as an art teacher I realized that I was always looking for non-traditional ways to use this degree leading to believe that maybe I would be better suited in another field.
In terms of my library experience, I’ve now had three different library jobs. During my undergrad I worked as a preservation and conservation assistant in my university’s library and would also occasionally staff the information desk. Then, after graduation I noticed a need for children and youth services librarian in my tiny hometown library (in Oregon, IL) so I offered to get programs started and marketed, organize their materials and supplies (which were previously arranged in nonsensical piles in the attic from the occasional rummaging volunteer), and fill in as best I could for the wonderful youth librarian I grew up with. Both of these jobs were incredibly fulfilling and gave me invaluable experiences. Now, I work in a small academic library where I help with reference and circulation, ILL, collection maintenance, and mail processing.
All three jobs could not actually be ANY different. It’s no wonder it is difficult for me to choose a “focus” in my program when I actually enjoy EVERY aspect of any library job I have held.
As I have meandered my way though my professional career options, I have realized this: Being a librarian means that I can be anything I want, really. I have considered other careers (such as artist/designer, curator, art or museum teacher, a high school art teacher, gardener, community center educator, etc!) but the one that I can incorporate several aspects of each into is librarianship.