Monday, April 20, 2015

Why I Like Working At The Library

If you have taken the time to read "About Me", you know I started out in education, worked in biomedical research, was a stay-at-home mom, and had a cake business before I came to work at the library part-time as a page.  It may seem a strange path and many wonder why I haven't gone back into research or teaching, since that's what my degree is for.

While I LOVE science and loved going to school to get my degrees, I quickly became very disillusioned once I was actually working in the field.  At first it was fun and interesting, learning lots of cool lab techniques, and the idea of being involved in vaccine research and development is really cool and exciting; you think you are going to be making great discoveries and helping people.  The reality is very different.  99.9% of what you do leads absolutely nowhere :(  Either the experiments just don't work and you have no results, or the results are not what expected, or just never lead to anything for one reason or another.  Also the hours are very irregular and make if difficult once you have kids.

I thought I would go back to teaching after my daughter started school, but in a brief period of insanity, I decided to have another child.  And by the time he started school, I was very unhappy with the whole educational system in general, and with our district in particular.  All the emphasis on test scores, the inordinate amount of time spent on taking tests, the micromanaging of teachers, and especially the lack of science education.  I just couldn't bring myself to go back to teaching in these circumstances.  Plus after volunteering in my kids' classrooms, I realized I really like working with the younger kids, and I just wanted to work part-time for now.  So I applied for part-time library and teacher's aide positions, and ended up at the library, and I'm glad I did.

I love working at the library, particularly in youth services, for so many reasons.  First of all, I of course love books and love to read, and now I have ready access to thousands of books, and enjoy discussing them with patrons and co-workers.  I also love the structure, order, and organization.  I like sorting and categorizing, and knowing every book has it's exact space.  And I LOVE that I am not the only one trying to maintain that order (unlike at home!). 

 I *really* like that is not the same thing every day.  Some days are quiet, some days are busy.  Some days I'm doing lots of shelving, other days I may do more customer service or help prep for programs.  I really enjoy helping people, whether it be finding a specific book, making suggestions, giving directions, or helping them with their account. Most people are very appreciative for the littlest things, and it is particularly gratifying to see a kid's face light up when you find the perfect book.  I love being able to interact with adults and kids of all ages, and not always the same people every day.  I particularly enjoy getting to know our regulars, learning their names and what kind of books they like, and I look forward to seeing them on storytime days.  We also have just enough "difficult" or "eccentric" patrons to keep things interesting and have a few stories to tell, but not so many as to be overly stressful (at least most of the time).

They only thing I don't like is how limited my current position is.  I really would like to have more interaction with the patrons, and would love the opportunity to do some storytimes or other programs as a paraprofessional eventually.  [Note: this was written before I got my current position, back when I was still a page.]  I would really like to get an MLS and be a librarian, but between the cost of tuition and the over-saturated job market I just can't see how it would be financially feasible.   But if I can find a way to pay for it without going into debt, that's what I'll do, and in the meantime I will keep trying to learn and develop my skills on my own and hopefully move into an assistant or associate position.

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