deza: (Secret master librarians)
[personal profile] deza
There I was. A newly-minted college graduate, with a degree that allowed me to be grammatically correct when I asked customers if they wanted a lap dance and no real prospects for a more stable job. I had gone for a few extra semesters on the hope of getting an Education degree -- only to find out I had been left off the student teaching roster and would have a 3 YEAR wait before I could even think of getting a job.

Stripping paid well - it was how I had paid for most of 6 years of college - but it wasn't what I wanted to be doing for years to come.

I had worked for a while in the University library. I was in the bindery department, collecting periodicals and preparing them to be bound into volumes for archival storage. Sometimes this was rather disturbing, like every time I had to go into the men's restroom to recover Sports Illustrated and Playboy and Epoca. Some of those issues were biohazards, and yes I wore gloves to handle them. I also had the luxury of flipping through back issues of Asimov's Science Fiction (where I made my first professional fiction sale) and the Journal for the American Society of Psychic Research. I loved it. I loved being surrounded by articles and stories and so much knowledge. I loved when people would ask for help and I could direct them where to go. I loved the quiet camaraderie of the bindery office when we were all carefully applying gold leaf call numbers to newly bound dissertations.

The obvious solution was to become a librarian.

Turns out, librarianship isn't an easy thing to get into. To move up from a student parapro to a full librarian, I needed a Master's degree in Information Science. Science? I wanted to work to with words, not numbers! But still, you have to meet the needs of the job you want, so off to grad school I went.

Eighteen months later I had my Master's degree - also paid for in large part by savings from my stripping days plus the stipend of being a student worker.

Twenty years later, I am still a librarian. Never did make it back to the University library that kicked it all off, but I have found talents I never knew I had. I've learned a lot that they probably should have taught us in grad school. I've dealt with armed and irritable patrons, fecal matter smeared on walls, teens that were not getting enough structure to know how to stay out of trouble, overflowing urinals, petty tyrant Board members, insect-infested returns and a live kitten put in the book drop. I've helped people recovering from natural disasters like Katrina and man-made disasters like the recent Gatlinburg fires. I've been the point of information for people diagnosed with devastating diseases, directed the newly-homeless into the shelter system, rescued abused children, helped people start businesses and buy their first homes.

I still love it.

LJ Idol, Season 10, Week 4

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-08 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dee-aar2.livejournal.com
Its so good to be able to do what you love and love what you do. There is so much fulfillment in that. Glad you were able to find that calling and have no regrets and ofcourse you have been doing so much more than being a librarian ... Kudos to you and your life.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Oh, I have some regrets over chances not taken. You don't make it to middle age without a few. ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-08 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dmousey.livejournal.com
I was 10 when I first stepped foot into our local library. I thought I had found a slice of heaven. The smell of books and ink, the quiet rustle of pages, and the seemingly endless selections of knowledge. Yeah, I am such a geek! Thank you for keeping that alive for others to discover. Hugs and peace~~~D
Edited Date: 2017-01-08 03:47 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
It's not so quiet any more. Now we're more the community living room.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-08 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marlawentmad.livejournal.com

I think librarians are the unsung superheroes of the modern age.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'll take it. :)

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Date: 2017-01-08 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penpusher.livejournal.com
Certainly there's the beginnings of at least ten stories in this one! And I know a little something about at least one of your careers... in college my very first job was as a library clerk in the periodicals department, a job I held my entire four years there.

I admire those that gravitate towards books. That has to be one of the positives of the job!

And, I have to bring this up, a couple of years ago, there was a big story about a woman who was doing a vid cam performance of stripping inside of a college campus library! I wondered if you heard about that and what your thoughts would be about it!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
I remember that. It says a lot about the state of pay for library workers that so many of us have to take second jobs to make ends meet. I'm doing middle management now, and I honestly would make more managing a gas station than I do in a library.

That being said, the young lady really needed to learn the value of discretion. It's one thing to sneak your guy in for a quickie in the rare books room after hours. It's something else entirely to put it on the internet!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
Some of the hazards of your current job seem to be truly hazardous! I hope the book-drop kitten fared well. :O

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
He did. He came home with me and was very happy for many years, until he decided he would rather be a barn cat.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 03:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kajel.livejournal.com
It's good that after all this time, you still love what you do. Even with the unfortunate parts of the job.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
It's certainly never routine or boring!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
I'm glad you stuck with your dream and made it work for you! What happened to the kitten? (You knew someone would ask!) Our local library is suffering death by Community Center, where there are fewer and fewer books, but more meeting rooms and public computers.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
All libraries are having to switch to the community center model on some level. I see that as a good thing. Hopefully we can transition from being information storage to places that inspire information creation. That's why you see so many putting in maker stations and featuring creation-based programming. We not only have the information; we are teaching people how to utilize it to enrich their lives.

The kitten came home with me. He was an indoor cat for several years, then decided he wanted to transition to being a barn cat instead.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] my-name-is-jenn.livejournal.com
I've learned a lot that they probably should have taught us in grad school

I feel this is true of so many jobs. You get there, and you realize there are so many aspects of the job that you were never trained for.

It sounds like your job has given you a lot of stories to tell.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deza.livejournal.com
I've had a number of people suggest I should write a book on it.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-10 01:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dmousey.livejournal.com
In a lot of communities I imagine the library is also a safe place to be. Plus with the advent of wifi, the free? computer time is alluring too!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-10 04:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cheshire23.livejournal.com
I don't know why, but my main takeaway from this is "...a live kitten, WHY?"

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Date: 2017-01-10 08:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
That's rad, that you stripped to pay for your MLS degree. I liked this! I've also wanted to be a librarian, but have been so scattered that now I can't imagine going back to school for an MLS - especially in this job market. At the same time, who knows? I enjoyed this entry!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-10 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bewize.livejournal.com
Great entry. Thank you for all that you do!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-10 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alycewilson.livejournal.com
I never before heard how you found your calling. Glad you did!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-10 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murielle.livejournal.com
This is wonderful! Librarians are wonderful! Sadly I can't use my beautiful public library because of MCS, and books that reek of third hand cigarette smoke, bounce, or othere chemical odours. But libraries continue to hold a wonderful fascination for me.

(Giving you a standing ovation)

Thank you!
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