I’ve enjoyed reading stories about how people became librarians, and now Iris wants me to share mine . I am a lazy blogger, and thus I will just say that my story is exactly like Iris’s, but with the following differences:
- for English major, substitute Classics major
- for MA in literature, substitute MFA in nonfiction writing
- for "they’d take me back into the Ph.D. program," substitute they wouldn’t accept me into a Ph.D. program
Our stories otherwise are eerily similar. I, too, had never thought of being a librarian, had never asked for help from a librarian, had never considered what kind of education a librarian had. This is embarassing on a number of levels, since I visited libraries of one sort or another probably four out of any five days for most of my life, and since my great aunt is a library director. I, too, had a mother who said, "Have you considered being a librarian?"
I did actually try off and on to get part-time work at a library, because it seemed like a good kind of part-time job, but I had no luck whatsoever until I started library school. After a semester there, I got a youth services assistant job at a library in the Chicago suburbs. It still cracks me up that, after I got there, someone said, "Oh, we were so glad to get your resume, because everyone else who applied for the job had just worked at Starbucks." I had applied to work at Starbucks stores in various places three times in that decade and had never been accepted. You’re always wrong until you’re right.
I started library school with the goal of becoming an archivist specializing in activist and labor history. How I ended up where I am is another story for another blog post.