For some, library school is a learning experience. It’s a chance to wrap your head around information ethics and Python and RDA, a chance to geek out with other residents of libraryland and talk archives and diversity and intellectual freedom. And while all this holds true for me, I see my time in library school not as a learning experience but as a growing experience. I’ve talked before about how when I applied for library school, I was a few months out of undergrad, unemployed and living at home, and I barely had the $50 application fee. I’m grateful things are much better now, and I’m grateful this experience taught me one of the most critical life lessons there is: if what you’re doing isn’t working, do something different. And if that isn’t possible, just keep moving.
I’m a very cerebral person, and I think a lot of library people are. We like to muse and dream and analyze. We like working with information and ideas. But library work, no matter the type of library or the department you’re in, is a public service. It’s a people service. And in order to serve people, we must do, not think about doing. And we must do the same for ourselves.
Find ways to make what you want to happen, happen. If you don’t have any money, apply for scholarships or find work. If you don’t have any experience, volunteer. If you don’t have any support, create your own meet-up. If entering this profession is not important enough to you that you’d be willing to make some adjustments, reconsider going to school. Spending your time and money on a degree you’re not sure about is rarely a good idea. But it takes courage to invest in something you want or need, something you see as valuable. And if you’re a Maya Angelou fan like I am, you’ll know that a good dose of courage can change everything.
Two weeks ago I graduated. Last week I quit my job. In two weeks I’m moving away for a summer internship. My life is in flux. I have no idea what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be living by the end of the summer. And sometimes, it’s a struggle to be okay with that. But then I remember that I don’t have to be okay with it because that’s what flux is—flow. Up and down. Back and forth. All I have to do is go.
Categories: Hellos & Goodbyes