How I didn’t become a Librarian

by Guest Author on July 15, 2013 · 4 comments

in guest post, librarianship, life

While I’m out recovering from surgery, I’ve asked a few friends to step in and fill my shoes.  I hope you enjoy what they have to share with you!  If you like what you see, stop by their blogs and tell them!

Depending on how you look at it, I went to library school at either the right or the wrong time in my life.

East Asian Library: Reading RoomFor most of my undergrad career, I worked at my university’s East Asian Library. I won’t go into the details of my time there. (Though if Elizabeth lets me come back for another guest post, I’ll wax lyrical on my adventures as a student library employee.) Suffice to say, I loved it all: the good along with the ugly. There was never any ‘bad’. ‘Challenging’, ‘frustrating’, and sometimes just plain ‘crazy’, yes. But never ‘bad’.

So when I was looking for the next step in my life, I decided to go to library school. I applied and was accepted to a library school in Boston.

I packed up my four years in Japan (3 years of teaching English followed by a year off living with my grandmother) and returned to California for a few short months, then I was off to Boston with delusions of library grandeur.

The Melting CharlesI loved library school. I had inspiring professors and was taking courses that opened my eyes to a world of possibilities I never imagined. But even in my first semester, I knew something was wrong.

I had gone into library school blind, knowing practically nothing of the library industry nor the part I wanted to play in it. And instead of doing something about it, I let time pass by, hoping for an epiphany that would never come.

I still managed to graduate under 2 years with decent grades and with degree in hand, I had become one of those examples of what not to do when going to library school.

C.V. Starr East Asian Library Hindsight being 20/20, I know what I should have done was come back to the States, work at a library, and get experience first. Then I would have at least had a starting point and some sort of direction. Then maybe I wouldn’t have wandered and floated like I did.

I moved back to California completely lost and, in a library sense, I still am: back in Japan teaching English for a mediocre paycheck.

But regardless of this career mistake, I believe my timing was perfect.

The DDC Pinata

I would explain this picture, but it was a “you had to be there” moment. Let’s just say my cataloging classmates were awesome.

If I did work at a library first, I would have stayed in California and I never would have gone to Boston, which obviously means I wouldn’t have met the people, both in the classroom and out, who have become my dear friends.

After some time in California, I eventually decided to return to Japan because of my grandmother’s health. I took a job with mediocre pay, but extremely flexible hours. This flexibility allows me to visit her often and now she’s arguably healthier than I am.

Park on a HillI know I sound like I’m making excuses, but I stand by my choices.

I may not have become a librarian, not yet, nor in the near future, but rather than lamenting a wrong turn, I’m enjoying the view that can only come from taking the long way round and I welcome whatever I encounter next.

Melinda is an avid blogger of the random at Playing White Noise (usually topics are food, movies, and little snippets of her daily life). She’s also currently obsessed with Instagram and Vine (@luxvesperis). She lives in Nagoya, Japan.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth July 15, 2013 at 10:12 am

I don’t think there is anything wrong with pursuing what we are interested in at the moment. My educational and professional life have taken numerous turn, but all of them happened because that was what I needed to happen in that moment.

And there is nothing wrong with having a masters degree tucked in your back pocket. You never know when you might need it!


2 Mel July 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I have no regrets regarding the path I’ve taken, but there’s still a big part of me that can’t ignore the huge amount of money that went into going to library school with nothing library-wise to show for it.

But you’re right, having a masters will probably come in handy somewhere down the road. 🙂


3 LibGirl09 July 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I agree with Liz. I believe education is never a waste. You gain new knowledge, meet new people, and learn something new about yourself in the process. You never know how it might come into play later on. Thanks for sharing!


4 Mel July 15, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Thanks for reading and commenting. I definitely learned a lot about myself and until I moved to Boston I had never stepped out of my bubble of California and Japan (a big bubble, but a bubble, nonetheless). A change of scenery really does do some good.


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