The Bulleted Library Technician

November 24, 2008

no gaming in the library, please

Filed under: Librarianship (general) — Tags: , , , , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 7:57 pm

At least not for the next 2 weeks…  I was told today to put up the signs:

no gaming sign

See more of the signs I created for the library in my Flickr set “InfoCommons & Library Computer Help Desk.”

I can’t believe that Study Week & Finals are coming so soon!  This is Week 14 of the semester, how did it all fly by?

June 17, 2008

this AND that

I finally got a chance to sit down and read the June/July issue of American Libraries today. And I ran into a very interesting article: “This and That: Holding down two dream careers at once” by Mary Pergander.

She says

..we sometimes mistakenly believe that life is asking us “or” questions, when life is really offering us “and” opportunities. That is, we can do this and that, not merely choose between two options.

She gives examples

  • a woman who works as both a high school librarian and an academic librarian
  • a man who works as both a children’s librarian and a volunteer firefighter / EMT

I have been struggling for several months on the question of whether to become a children’s librarian or a science librarian or a consumer health librarian.

Why these particular choices? I studied biology & biochemistry for 6 years (4 undergrad, 2 grad), and it seems such a waste to not use all that knowledge… after all, I paid quite a lot of money for it, and I was good at it! (Well, good with the thinking, not the doing — I wish I had realized sooner that my talents in the library did not translate well to the laboratory…)

But on the other hand, I really want to work with children. I love their wide-eyed capacity to imagine anything, their excitement at learning new things, their infectious joy. And I especially love the idea of being able to make a difference in their lives.

So what to do, what to do? Do I have to choose one or the other, or can I combine them? Soon I will be approaching the time in my MLS studies that I have to make a choice, go in one direction or another with my selection of courses (either Health Informatics or Youth Services) — or should I just stay in the “General Studies” category and pick & choose what looks good? Somehow I think it would be better to focus on something, so that when I apply for jobs I can clearly be qualified for a particular thing — rather than “jack of all trades, master of none” I could at least be proficient in something.

I’m currently attending “library school” at UNT, which is well-known for it’s Health Informatics program (ranked #3 in USA!) — it would seem silly for me to not take advantage of the opportunity that is falling into my lap (to study with some of the best profs in the field.)

These are the career paths I can envision myself enjoying (roughly in order of my current enthusiasm)

  1. public library: a children’s librarian who specializes in developing programs that explore nature & science
  2. small public library: part-time in children’s dept, part-time in reference dept as a science & consumer health specialist
  3. large public library: full-time consumer health librarian
  4. academic library: science librarian (non-tenure-track)

I know I would do well in any of those positions. They would all be challenging, interesting, and fulfilling. Each would come with its own particular stresses and its own particular joys. I have worked in an academic library for the past 8 years (serving students, faculty, and the general public.) And I worked in a rural public library for 4 years prior to that, so I think I have some idea what to expect from either environment.

I wonder what would make me more “marketable?” Are more libraries looking for children’s librarians? Or are more libraries looking for science/medical librarians? Would any libraries be interested in someone who can do both?

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