In July of 2006, I was informed that my teaching position in a local parochial school was being cut. This event, while unfortunate, made me take a good look at my life. It was at this time that I started to assess what I liked and disliked about teaching and what I felt was in my future. After much assessment, I decided that a change of careers, although risky, might be the better path to take for my future happiness.
Why did I feel that a Master’s of Library and Information Science was part of my future? I felt that this degree was a good it for my interests, personality, and talents along with the skills and education I had already acquired. After reading the article entitled “Professional Character: The Personality of the Future Information Workforce” (Goulding 2000), I was convinced that I had made the right decision. I am intellectually curious, creative, and I love to learn. I also feel that I am an outgoing and service oriented person. I feel that I could excel at being a librarian because the opportunities presented me would feed my curiosity and allow my creativity to bloom. I enjoy helping others to learn new things and I believe that the freedom from grading would be liberating. As a librarian, I will be able to help people acquire the knowledge that they want and need without the traditional confines of classroom teaching.
One of the dimensions of teaching I liked was that every day was different. Unlike a factory job where I would know exactly what was going to be happening, there is always a sense of adventure in a job that brings new challenges and rewards each day. I felt that a job as a librarian would provide that same sense of adventure. I believe that libraries are very important. America today seems to be devaluing intellect and education. I value human knowledge and the advancement of society through that knowledge. I believe we must preserve that knowledge while researching new possibilities and embracing new ideas. We must also value opposing points of view, weighing each argument and making an informed decision on our own – not just following what popular opinion believes. I also believe in the First Amendment and protecting the freedoms provided by that amendment. In today’s society, I feel that these freedoms are being threatened and it is the responsibility of an educated public to fight against this and to also fight against the bigotry that comes along with opinions being given to us instead of making well-informed ones on our own. I feel that it is the librarian who should be the instrument by which people can connect to multiple viewpoints so the population can analyze these viewpoints for themselves.
The way that we look at libraries is changing. No longer is the library just the old building full of musty, dusty books. Current digital tools are enhancing the traditional modes of research and changing our ideas of libraries. I want to be a part of this change. Some critics say that these digital tools are going to make librarians obsolete. I disagree. In his article “10 Reasons Why the Internet is No Substitute for a Library,” Mark Herring (2001) makes some valid points that I agree with. He points out that the Internet is a vast wealth of information, but that information is “uncataloged” and people who are adept at sorting this information are still needed (Herring 2001). If one does not know how to look up the information on the Web correctly, one can become either discouraged or, I think even worse, misinformed about something because of the vast amount of information and opinions out there. Again, in his article, Herring points out that “quality control does not exist” on the Internet (2001). I would like to be one of the people who can help those doing research to use all of this technology to their benefit.
I feel that librarians not only need to embrace technology, but they should also start looking at libraries as though they were a traditional business. Much of the popularity of the internet is the fact that one can access it at any time. Barbara Baruth (2003) points out in her article “Missing Pieces that Fill in The Academic Library Puzzle: Cutting-Edge Technology Can Assure Our Place in the Big Picture,” librarians have to become more sensitive to the needs of the people they are serving. Most people’s schedules these days do not fit into the traditional hours that a library is open. Librarians need to recognize that and be more flexible in their hours. As Ms. Baruth states: “[Librarians] need to be more sensitive to the needs of young adult students, whose amazing biorhythms and underdeveloped project planning ability have always propelled them to crave reference help late at night or on the weekend (Baruth 2003).” She also goes on to point out the number of nontraditional students is on the increase and these students have unique needs between their job and family commitments (Baruth 2003). I feel that the years I have spent in various customer service oriented jobs will help me be responsive to patrons needs.
My career goal is to contribute to a literate worldwide society. I feel that the resources we are fortunate enough to have should be available to all, whether on the East Side of Buffalo or in East Timor. As stated in her article “Can Librarians Help to Overcome the Social Barriers to Access?” Barbara Hull (2001) states that the digitization of information is increasing the split between the upper and lower classes. I feel that it is the role of the modern librarian to help bridge this gap. I feel that today’s librarian must embrace technology in order to serve the public to the best of his or her ability. With the rising popularity of online degrees and research and the shrinking of the world through this same technology, I feel that it is the duty of the librarian to educate people in the resources available while providing services and resources for the public not only in the traditional library setting, but also in electronic form.
I believe that the librarian is an essential part of the future of the world and of the human race. I feel that I can bring passion, flexibility, and worldly experience to the librarian profession. I have traveled and experienced many different points of view. As a result of this, I fully understand the great gift that we have in our access to knowledge and our freedom to express ourselves and I want to protect this gift. I am excited about this new direction my life is taking and I am dedicated to being the best librarian I can be.
Baruth, B. (2003). Missing Pieces that Fill in the Academic Library Puzzle: Cutting-Edge Technology Can Assure Our Place in the Big Picture. American Libraries 33(6), 58-60, 62-63.
Goulding, A.; Bromham, B.; Hannabuss, S.; Cramer, D. (2000). Professional Characters: The Personality of the Future Information Workforce. Education for Information 18(1), 7-31.
Herring, M.Y. (2001). 10 Reasons the Internet is No Substitute for a Library. American Libraries 32(4), 76-78.
Hull, B. (2001). Can Librarians Help to Overcome the Social Barriers to Access? New Library World 102(10), 382-388.