WARNING: LENGTHY LIBRARYLAND JOURNEY RECAP AHEAD.
GS-1410-09. That is the federal government’s way of saying I’m an employed librarian! I’m no longer a future info pro, but a current one (blog subtitle change time)!
I have had an amazing journey through Libraryland thus far. Here is my pre-library school story. I began at UA SLIS in January 2009, working part-time at the university writing center and taking classes part time. I was thrown head-first into one of the most challenging, most feared classes at UA SLIS – Information Sources and Services (Reference) with Dr. Margaret Dalton. I wrote 35-50+ pages for every assignment in that class. When I made an A, I was proud of my blood, sweat, and tears, and also realized that I loved reference and research. I loved helping people and finding answers. I decided reference would be my niche.
After my first semester, I made one of my lifelong dreams come true by spending the summer with the U of Southern Miss British Studies Program. Not only did I get to stay in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Paris, I visited some of the most amazing libraries and archives in existence. I cemented my passion for both librarianship and travel that summer, and made some fantastic friends.
That fall, I received a year-long graduate assistantship, and also landed a job working 2 nights a week (overnight) at the campus science and engineering library. Overnight, you say? Midnight to 7:45 am, indeed. I worked both jobs for two straight semesters, and took classes full time. In the meantime, I was elected to the Student Advisory Committee, practically lived on campus, and formed a close bond with many of my fellow SLISers.
In the spring, in addition to all of the above, I worked on an amazing independent study project that turned into one of my summer jobs, co-presented two posters at a local conference, and took a Special Libraries course that completely opened my mind to new job possibilities. My SL professor, a retired federal librarian who is one of my many fantastic mentors, encouraged me to pursue the internship that led to my new position.
While I waited for the internship to become available (it was advertised in May and didn’t interview until August – welcome to the government!), I began the summer of 3 jobs, 2 conferences. I also started this oft-neglected blog, not knowing how my library student journey would turn out, but hoping for the best. In spite of the neglect, these posts helped connect me to my fellow librarians and library school students on Twitter, and I discovered the power of social networking in libraryland.
In what I thought was meant to be my final semester in school, I took classes, held 2 new student jobs, did a volunteer internship in a neighboring city, presented a poster at another local conference, started writing a journal article with my poster buddies, and started applying for jobs. I found out I got the internship in October, stopped applying for jobs, delayed my graduation, and volunteered at a fantastic conference that December.
You know of my truly amazing co-editing/writing gig with Hack Library School, which began in January. That deserves its own update post sometime soon. Words cannot express how honored I am to collaborate with these enthusiastic, brilliant emerging professionals on a daily basis.
Also in January, I began full-time work at the internship, and loved every minute of it. One of the best things about the SCEP program is that if your employer likes you, they can hire you immediately after your graduation. My supervisor told me a couple of months in that they were interested in hiring me permanently, and I was beyond thrilled. I knew that nothing was official until it was official, especially considering that there could be a hiring freeze, but I was cautiously optimistic.
I finally graduated in May, after 2.5 years in grad school. Everything looked good. My bosses were trying to get the paperwork rolling, but I still needed an official, degreed transcript. So we waited. Then — and this is the part you last heard about on Twitter — Air Force hiring freeze. Technically, it was a 1:4 hiring control, but it looked as though my hiring was cancelled — two weeks prior to receiving my transcript. Needless to say, I was devastated. I started applying for other jobs, and knew that everything would be okay, but I was still sad about what could’ve been. In the meantime, the library director promised to do what he could, and my bosses said that while they still had a little hope and didn’t want me to leave, they understood that I had to apply for other positions.
So what changed, you ask? We don’t know! (welcome to the government, part 2) About a month after the bad news, word came from HR that I could be hired. I wanted to believe it was true, but I waited cautiously for yet another month and barely spoke of it to anyone until I knew it was official. So if this is the first you’re hearing of this, please don’t be offended… I just didn’t want to do the “yes I got it oh wait no I didn’t” update yet again.
But now… it’s official, and I am the happiest, most grateful I have ever been. I get to start out in a profession I love, at a job and workplace I already know and love.
tl;dr I apologize for the ridiculously long post. It’s been a crazy ride, and I wanted to relive it. A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has enriched my libraryland life along the way! This is only the beginning of my involvement in the profession, and I’m so excited about that.
I want all current library school students, and all unemployed and underemployed librarians to know that you WILL GET A JOB. You may have to work crap student jobs or crap retail jobs and make $10,000 a year and volunteer all at the same time, and you may not even end up in a library (this isn’t a bad thing – talk to me about special library jobs!), but if you keep working at it and do not give up, you will utilize your MLIS degree and be an awesome librarian/info pro. I believe in you. This profession needs passionate people, and you’re going to #makeithappen.
On that note… no matter who you are or what stage of the libraryland journey you’re in, you can contact me any time and ask me anything. I have had so many unbelievable mentors that I am ready to pay it all forward!