Yes, the series is back! And with all new contributors! Every Wednesday from now until the end of the year, we will hear from a new librarian telling his or her story. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I enjoy posting them! Check out the three previous posts in the series here, here, here, and here. This is the last week of the series (sad!) but if you have ideas for another series you would like me to run, let me know!
I started figure skating at age sixteen. Skating became my passion, and since I started too late to become a serious competitor, the next best thing to me was to become a coach. My plan was to attend college while continuing to take lessons and tests, and then hopefully by the time I graduated, my skating and coaching skills would be at a high enough level to get me a job at a rink. Well in the meantime, I ended up applying for a work study position in my campus library.
I really enjoyed my work in that library. I knew every professor, and almost every student because everyone used the library at some point. It was a small library, which provided the opportunity for me to take on many duties and learn different skills. The staff pizza parties were fun too! My supervisors were impressed by my work, and suggested that I consider getting a master’s degree in library science when I finished my B.A. I smiled and said “we’ll see.”
Going into my sophomore year of college, I put skating on the back burner for a little while. I wasn’t so sure that becoming a coach would actually work out. I continued working in the campus library for three years. Then one day I heard about a great opportunity. A position opened for an administrative assistant at the non-profit organization that runs the Kids On Ice® community ice skating program in Washington, DC. I applied, and was hired on the spot. With that, I closed the door on my brief library career….or so I thought.
For the next four years I continued working for the non-profit. Following graduation I was taken on full-time, and eventually promoted to Assistant Skating Director. Skating was my life, and I was loving it! However, I had hit the glass ceiling with this organization, and I could not advance any further. Then came the economic downturn, and some of my co-workers were layed off. I knew my position was in jeopardy as well, and I started to look elsewhere.
After considering my options, I decided to go back to school. Of course I chose library school. I remembered how much I enjoyed working in my campus library, and was pretty sure I could be happy doing similar work as a life-long career. I also decided to apply for paraprofessional library jobs. Only one gave me an interview. In November 2009, I was hired by the public library system in Prince George’s County, MD. A few months later I received two acceptance letters for grad school, and chose The Catholic University of America.
By the time I started my classes in Fall 2010, I had been working in the public library for almost a year. I knew I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life. The children are rowdy and disrespectful. I have to work late evenings and weekends. Most customers only come in to use computers (at my small branch anyway). FAQs include “Where is the bathroom?” and “How do I print?” So I started researching options in special libraries during the winter break. I discovered health sciences librarianship and began emailing medical librarians (including Elizabeth!) to gain insight and advice.
By my second semester I had decided to become a medical librarian. Why? Because I desire to empower health professionals and patients to make the best healthcare decisions possible by providing information resources, training and instruction, and research and analysis. And plus I’m tired of these rowdy kids! Since that decision, I have striven to relate at least one assignment in each class to the health sciences. My school does offer two health sciences librarianship courses. I have also spent a day at two hospital libraries, and done an observation at the National Library of Medicine. Next semester I will be interning at a large academic health sciences library (which I am very excited about!)
I’m halfway through library school now. I’m still working in the public library, and will stay here until I graduate. I feel a little impatient though—I want my dream job already! However, I’m learning to just enjoy the journey.
Christian’s favorite thing to do is sleep! When she is not napping, she enjoys a good book, crocheting, and of course figure skating. You can follow her journey through the world of librarianship at her blog, Climbing The Stacks, and on Twitter.