Life, The Universe, and Nerdfighters

Permit me to be sappy for a second.

The above video was taken last weekend. After planning it for quite a few months, my Nerdfighter Library Meetup* happened, and it couldn’t have gone better. Twenty-one awesome people showed up, 17 of which were teens (which is a very high teen count for our library. Very high.) Everyone was so nice, and so excited. We were all unified by one common interest, and it showed. And, really, by the end, I couldn’t have been happier.

That is, until one of the teens posted the above video and I kind of teared up. Because, you guys, this is my life.

At 28, I’ve had three different careers. Not jobs, careers. I was a high school English teacher. (I quite\ after a year because it was just so hard. I loved some of my students, and I would have continued for them, but there’s just so much pressure, and honestly, I was only 23 at the time. And I sucked at discipline.) I was a copyrighter/magazine editor. (Fine jobs, but I never wanted to write for myself when I was writing all day. I started hating writing because it was forced and assigned, not creative and fun.) And now I’m a librarian. (And, yeah, still a writer, too.) I was so scared to start library school because even though it sounded amazing…what if I didn’t like it? What if it was just another failed career move? I went into the degree knowing I wanted to work with teens again, and I left confident.

And now, a year and a month after I graduated, I have that job. I’m a public librarian working with teens. And for the first time in my career, I can honestly say I love my job. I know how rare it is to hear that. I know how lucky I am. And don’t think it’s all cotton candy and unicorns and happy soundtracks. There are bad days. There are bad patrons. But I get over them because I know there’s also so much more.

There’s a little boy who called me his favorite librarian after I recommended a book he ended up liking. There’s a little girl who visits me weekly, just to say hi. There’s a teen who asked for relationship advice, and other who asked for career/college advice. There are the moments I know I’ve made someone’s day better just by having the one thing they were looking for in stock. And there are teens who make videos of my events and post them to YouTube because they genuinely had a good time.

This is my job. I honestly couldn’t ask for me.

*For librarians interested, I’ll post more on planning this meetup later.

Librarian Up For Grabs

I’m currently in an interesting position with my career. I finished my graduate degree in August and was hired as a Reference Librarian the week I graduated. It was amazing, really, and I was fully aware of how lucky I was. The job, while supreme, was temporary, but that was okay. I felt like it was meant to be.

And it has been. I truly have loved every moment of working as an academic reference librarian. I now know that I was right to get into this field, as I finally feel at home. However, my time with the position is about to end. If I could stay here, I would in a heartbeat, but I can’t. So now comes the big question – what do I do next?

When you hear “librarian,” I’m sure most people just assume they’re the people who check books out. Right? Wrong. There’s so much more to the profession. For instance, as a reference librarian for a college, I teach classes on how to find scholarly information, I create reference guides for majors and minors, I answer research questions, and I work with students to assist them in completing their papers. There’s more, but that’s the basics.

As it turns out, being hired as a librarian (and not simply a library aide or clerk) was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gave me more experience than I could have dreamed of. A curse because now I want to stay one, with only so much experience. Many libraries hire librarians with years of experience – I have but a handful of months.

So now I’m at a cross roads. I’m about to end this job, and search rapidly for another. I’m not sure what will happen, and that part scares me. But I also know something will come up. Something perfect. Something that screams Lauren! and will help me on my professional adventure.

It Starts

Every time I get a new job, I create a blog post titled “it starts.” I have quite a few. I guess that says something about my career choices.

Today was my first day as a librarian. I’d like to say that it was mind blowing and awe-inspiring, but I can’t. It was just a first day afterall. I can say, though, that I felt at home. And that’s far more than I’ve ever felt at a new job.

The building is beautiful, with cathedral ceilings and exposed beams. There’s an elevator to navigate the four floors, but it’s more fun taking the old, wooden staircase that creeks when too much pressure is applied. The top two floors smell like pages waiting to be turned and leather bindings. I can’t help but smile when walking by.

The bottom floor has remnants of a card catalogue and expanding shelves that move when buttons are pressed. The combination of magic and weathered documents creates a Harry Potter-esque experience, that leaves you wondering which decade it is, exactly.

It was my first day, so aside from the mountains of paperwork and technical setups, I learned the computer system and met my co-workers. I started preparations for a presentation i’m performing, and set up my adorable office*. I’ll start real work tomorrow. And to be honest? I can’t wait.

I can’t wait to start teaching classes to students on how to find viable articles. I can’t wait to sit at a reference desk and answer questions. I can’t wait to help students find books. I did some of this before while working at the bookstore, but I feel like that was just practice. An introductory level, guiding me to this new challenge.

And in the end, I hope it’s the last time i’ll type “it starts,” because for once, I don’t want it to end.

*After getting my degree, I wanted to buy the above poster for my first office. Sadly, it’s only made as a bookmark now. Sigh. I’ll patiently wait for it to be available again.