The thing about 2 years in graduate school is that there is an artificial ending built into the system, graduation. I graduated this May, passed the torch of Community Manager on, and got a job. I actually started a couple days ago. If anyone is a reader of HLS and knows my “work,” you’ll know that I focused on rare books and special collections and I worked in a rare book library during school. The job that I started and am loving thus far is Digital Scholarship at Utah State University…so what gives? Is this the place where I tell you to give up your dreams and do something digital to get a job? No.
For me, my transition from rare books to digital books was a shift in interests rather than a purely “get a job” move. It was through classes and work experiences that I really grew interested in scholarly communication and library publishing, which admittedly was a large shift. Here is my final advice for all you cool cats out in library land.
- Be Open
Graduate school, as for school in general, is about exploration. The idea that we only go to school for a job defeats the purpose of learning. You are here to sample and explore all facets of the library world, and, since this might be the last time you get this opportunity, you should take advantage of it. Take a special collections course if you’re only interested in public libraries, or take a pop lit class if you’re only “interested” in the digital world. Take cataloging classes even if you think you’ll hate cataloging. Take the hardest classes. Only then will you really know what you’re into and where you can best serve the world of libraries. So take and read everything. It’ll not only make you well rounded but it will also help you find a home.
- Be Positive.
I’ve talked about this before but I think one of the worst things about our contemporary world is pessimism. We are pessimistic about job prospects, about grades, about ongoing trends in the world. I’m guilty of this as much as everyone, especially when it came to jobs and the future. But I got a job, and you’ll get a job. There are a lot of people in the library world who will tell you that going to library school is a waste of time and money. There are a lot of librarians who will tell you that you won’t find a job or libraries are dying. There are a lot of recent graduates writing think pieces about how the system is rigged against them. Don’t let this get under your skin, you’re a good candidate and will be successful in whatever you do. My advice is to block these people out and think about how awesome you are. This kind of negativity breeds more negativity.
- Remember this time.
There’s a great great Office quote from Andy Bernard where at the end of the last season he wonders why someone can’t tell you “you’re in the good ol’ days when you’re in them.” Library school is hectic, times are tough and weird, but you’re in the good ol’ days right now. So get out there and join groups, play board games, read books, and network (or make friends or whatever) Just like with the classes don’t regret the boring time you had in school. So go out with your fellow librarians, even if you’re an introvert like me and didn’t do this at all because you’re a wiener (true story).
So maybe no one reads these farewells, but I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I’ve been very proud of my work. I hope that I brought some cool ideas out there into the ether.