For School Library Month, librarians all over the Internet are sharing their stories of why they became librarians with the hashtag #whylib. For me, becoming a librarian was more of a why not? than a why. I didn’t really know what to do with my English degree other than write, and I knew I needed something to pay the bills while I wrote my novel. I’d always loved libraries, so it seemed like a natural fit for me to be a librarian. I started library school with my only expectation being he hope that I could support a writing career by the end.
Along the way–between classes in reference and instruction and other library staples–I discovered Young Adult Literature. I knew very quickly that this was it for me. Teen fiction and library services to teens was my professional heart. My first job out of library school was focused on teen services at a public library, and it was a tremendous learning experience for which I am incredibly grateful.
From there, I went to work in the book industry–first for one book distributor/library vendor and now another–where my focus has widened from teens to the whole range of K-12 education. This was a new perspective for me, and I didn’t really know if I would take to it.
After almost ten years on this side of the library world, I can say that I have gained a strong appreciation for the power of libraries–and librarians–along with a knowledge of children’s literature from picture books and easy readers to the teen fiction I still love.
I may have begun my career with a why not?, but every new experience has given me more of a why than ever. The twenty-year-old me who started library school would never have guessed that I would end up being as passionate about picture books, storytimes, and children’s programming as I ever was about teen fiction.
I have learned a lot. Mostly about connection, community, and the power of stories. That’s what libraries are all about, and that’s why I am a librarian.
- 6 Things I Wish I’d Known – I wrote this post after listening to an MPR segment with a similar theme.
- Reflections of a Book Reviewer – My post after eight years of reviewing books for Library Journal.
- Remember Your Why – From the Letters to a Young Librarian blog.
- #whylib – Follow the hashtag on Twitter.
The Post Script is that I have not yet written a novel, but I still dream of doing so one day. In the meantime, I had an article in last month’s VOYA Magazine. ;)