Why I want to be a librarian when I grow up (or, Things 10 and 11)

I’m still working away on my 23 Things for Professional Development and for Thing 10 I have to write about why I got into the library field, what I’m doing now, and what I plan to do next.  As I just spent two weeks trying to explain these things to my extended family, I feel well-equipped for this discussion.  Luckily, I can skip the “yes, you really do have to have a master’s degree to be a librarian and that other master’s I got won’t hurt either” portion of the evening.

It’s taken me awhile to get to the library field–in a way, I wish there was a day in school when they pulled aside the lonely nerds and explained that librarianship might be a viable career option, and in a way I’m glad that I’ve done some other stuff.  After a great undergrad experience as an English/women’s studies major, I had the professor bug.  Before grad school I spent an amazing year doing Americorps  in Asheville, NC with the I Have A Dream Foundation.  I started the English graduate program at UNCG in 2008 but decided to call it quits after I got my MA (one can never have too many English degrees).  Although English majors are often integral to solving national crises, I realized that the field just wasn’t for me about a year after I started–and luckily, I knew a few alumni of the UNCG LIS program who started telling me how awesome it was to be a librarian.  I started the LIS program in the fall of 2010 and it was like meeting someone I wished I had been friends with my whole life.

I’m exactly halfway through the MLIS degree right now.  This year (which starts tomorrow!) I’ll be a reference intern at UNCG’s Jackson Library and I’m doing a practicum with the first-year instruction program.  I’ll also be heading up LISSA, our student association, applying for jobs, and (oh yeah) taking classes.  This semester I’m taking website design and library management.  I’m really excited to start my final year of library school!

As far as the future goes, I’d really like to get a job in reference and instruction, either at a small liberal arts college, community college, or larger university.  And ideally, I’d love to put my English and women’s studies background to use by being a subject specialist.

Thing 11 is about finding a mentor, and right now I feel like I have a good support system of informal mentors between alumni, the reference internship, and the practicum.  I didn’t even have to ask for most of them–they just sort of showed up and wanted to help me.  One of the reasons I like the library field is that people are generally extremely nice and generous.  I think I have found my home. 🙂