Photo courtesy of Aubrey Young
I am at a number of halfway points in my library career: halfway through my internship, halfway through this semester, halfway through the trajectory of classes if my plan to graduate in Summer 2020 remains stable.
On the one hand, I am glad that I took the much touted internship plunge early enough that I have a comfortable amount of time to think about doing a second one during my final semester. On the other, the constant malaise that overhangs a great deal of library news regarding few jobs and even fewer application opportunities has me chomping at the bit regarding starting job applications. This is a rare enough feeling on my part that the fact that there is little point to starting before the beginning of my last semester is aggravating, to say the least. I will toot my own horn a small bit and acknowledge myself to be a hard worker, but when it comes to the grand work of the adult world of candidacy applications, REAL ID, and even updating my LinkedIn profile, I am known to hem and haw for veritable months on end. In short, I truly do not want to find myself at the beginning of next year’s June with all the opportunity in the world and none of my current motivation in sight.
It is not as if I am not busy enough with non-library work and school and legitimate library doings. However, the last has made me accustomed to the feeling of accomplishing tasks in the ‘real’ world, and I am worried that my three online classes, despite two of them consisting of research development and portfolio compilation, will leave me feeling as if I am spinning my wheels in the void. I am also no longer fearful that I will not be able to make the transition from my current job and into proper library work. There is always the chance that the actual job I land is not nearly as pleasantly and engagingly informative as my current internship, but after having finally acquired an official support system in library world, I am ready to take the chance on the good, the bad, and even the weird. I have encountered my fair share of each during the past few months, and all I can say is that, I have dealt with far worse for far less promise of work experience and far less pay.
Looking back, I suppose my problem is that I have gotten a taste of some of the best that library work has to offer, albeit without having had to jump through the myriad hoops of the final portfolio and the job hunt and moving across the country for the chance of a stable career. Every other information science article is concerned with the economic vulnerabilities that plague professional librarians, and I am fully aware that to go the other direction and glorify is to all but invite burnout at ten times the regular pace. Ultimately, what I seek is a balance between the two: acknowledging problems in librarianship and actively working towards fixing them, while engaging with the more rewarding aspects in as fullest capacity as possible. Two and a half months into my internship, I still have not faced the trial of leading my own program (wish me luck, everyone!), but I still feel that I am in an extremely engaging and balanced position that contains far more highs than lows, with even lows themselves largely proving to be valuable learning experiences. I am going to miss it dearly when the semester is up, but that is all the more reason to hit the job hunt running when the time finally comes.
With that, how are you all doing in the midst of your library/MLIS/information science doings? Share whatever good, bad, or weird has come your way, online or off, library or archive or some variant on the information professional. We are all in this together.