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 last week’s post from Benji here.
In December 2008 I graduated with a B.A. in history. In the midst of an economic downturn, I was graduating with little experience, having completed a degree with no marketability in the working world. I had several options, including law school, culinary school (I had dreams of opening a bakery), or library school. I spent early 2009 trying to find work. In the mean time I went ahead and applied to the library master’s program. Still having found no options for what I considered “desirable” work, I was accepted into the program and began taking classes in June.
I loved my master’s program. I met some amazing people, got to stay at the university I loved, in the town I loved, getting a degree in a subject I loved. While I was in library school I became engaged, and then married in August of 2010 the weekend after I graduated with my master’s degree. My husband and I moved to Austin, TX where he attends a Presbyterian seminary. Honestly, the first few months were difficult. I had no friends or family in Austin and I was unemployed. I lucked in to a part time job at the seminary library as a circulation attendant. While the work was often mind-numbing I told myself that I was at least getting experience in a library and getting out of the apartment, instead of wallowing in self-unemployed-pity. At the same time I was applying for jobs. I applied for all types of library/information jobs, even ones I knew I didn’t qualify for. There are several universities and colleges in Austin as well as a very large public library system. I probably applied for 20+ jobs in the area within the first 3 months. I only got called back for one, a part-time library technical assistant position at a for-profit college. I took the interview, was offered the position, and began working there in October.
I worked both part-time jobs for several months. My schedule changed every month and was different every day. It was not easy for me, as I am one of those people who prefer routine and normalcy. Because of the changes with leaving my home of 23 years and navigating the newlywed “1st year”, I experienced bouts of extreme anxiety and panic as I let the stress build up. I continued to look for full-time work and went on one interview for a professional position during this time, but was not offered the job. Finally, in the early summer of this year, my boss at the for-profit college informed me that they would like to offer me a full-time position with the company, and I gratefully accepted. On August 1, I was officially a full-time employee!
I really enjoy my job. My work space is located in the center of the library, at the main circulation desk. I sit across from our incredibly talented student workers. My boss is the library director and we are a one room library with only about 8,000 items. My typical duties include reference, circulation, cataloging, instruction, collection development, and whatever else needs to get done! I have lots of responsibilities and every day holds a new learning experience for me. I also have my routine back, and my stress and anxiety level have subsided drastically. There are some downsides though. Since the college is for-profit, there are lots of rules, regulations, behaviors, and a culture I was not aware existed. I could write a post or two on that alone. I plan to stay at my job unless some incredible opportunity falls in my lap. I feel so blessed to be employed- I won’t be willingly giving that up. As far as what the future holds, my husband and I will probably be here through May of 2013 (when he graduates), and then we’ll be moving somewhere new. I know this experience has prepared me to tackle such an undertaking again, and shown me the amazing things that can happen if you just have a little patience, and a lot of faith!
Braegan lives in Austin, TX where she works in the for-profit education industry. She is an avid reader, foodie, church nerd, and TV junkie. Her current obsessions include dystopian fiction, college football, and TV on Netflix. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @bcabernethy.