Student Snippets


More On Why I Came To Library School

So apparently, sitting around and talking about books is something librarians actually do, because that's exactly what we've been doing in collection development class! On Saturday half of us presented our genre/topic discussions, in which we gave a brief overview of a book genre and talked about what's hot/what's not. Except in my case, it wasn't a book genre. It was board games (a rising trend, wouldn't you know it)! Someone brought cupcakes to celebrate her birthday, so the whole thing was basically a librarian party. It was pretty clear that everyone there loved discussing and learning about books, many of us becoming nostalgic or sentimental as we talked about our favorites. Which brings a nagging question to my mind that I've had since I began library school: is love of reading and books a necessary ingredient in the makeup of a good librarian?

Now I think, in most cases, that librarianship is particularly attractive to those of us who do love books, and the two just naturally go together. I'm sure there are a great many characteristics which make an individual well-suited to librarianship, and these can be found in any number of combinations. The library/archives field is as diverse as the individuals that populate it. As the sign-up sheet for our genre discussions was being passed around, I gained further confirmation of a suspicion I've had for some time: that public libraries are probably not the best fit for my set of skills and interests. You see, I do love to read. But I don't love all kinds of books. I have no interest in most kinds of popular fiction, I have no interest in young adult books, I have no interest in children's books, I have no interest in anime or graphic novels.... I'm actually nervous to make this confession, like suppose one day I'm applying for a job at a public library and my prospective employer tracks down this post and sees all the bad things I just wrote. 

But I think it's okay, because like I said, library land is a diverse place filled with all sorts of unique institutions and specialized areas. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I'm beginning to think that I came to library school looking for a gateway into academia and/or cultural heritage institutions. I love to research and learn about new things. I feel like I become invested in just about any new subject that I'm learning about. While working in the Botany department at the Smithsonian I was all about plants. Plants are the coolest. While researching the Greek Civil War for a paper in undergrad I was all about World War II era history. I was sure I wanted to be a park ranger after spending a week camping and volunteering in Prince William National Forest. My "pleasure reading" is generally some kind of non-fiction relating to a topic that I want to know more about.

So if my LIS degree enables and equips me to continue learning and researching new things all the time and to share that knowledge with others in a way that touches their lives and makes the world a better place, then it will have served its purpose quite well.