I feel I should explain myself a little better. I didn’t just wander into a library and sit down behind the desk and no one asked me to leave… though that would’ve been cool. I always wanted to be a librarian, I just didn’t know it for oh, the first 24 years of my life. I am not well-known for my powers of observation.
To make a long story about as long as it should be, I majored in art (art history, really) in college because I was good at it. Using basic researching skills, writing papers at dawn the day they were due, and exploiting the subjectivity of the subject to its fullest extent, I was able to pursue those topics more aligned with my undergraduate pursuits, mainly drinking and watching Adult Swim. Basically, my degree says B.A., but really it should say BS. I’m sure many of you can relate.
Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I love art, so that made it even easier to work toward some shadowy, idealistic goal, curating, in my case, without having to consider the consequences, which were as such: I loved art, but not curating it, restoring it, making it, or teaching it. So, by graduation, I was pretty much boned.
I panicked. I panicked for a LONG time, 6 months, give or take. Being utterly directionless and having been GROSSLY misinformed about how difficult the adult world actually is, I pretty much sat in my room, applying for jobs I knew I wouldn’t get and crying. A lot of crying took place, not to mention nerding it up reading novels at the back of library stacks whenever I found the energy to crawl from the house.
Eventually, I landed an unpaid internship (score!) which was not too bad, but pretty much cemented the fact that I had a degree for a profession that was never going to make me happy. It was most distressing. So, I took the next logical step. I left my internship to work as a volunteer farmhand, knowing absolutely nothing about farming… because I am Goody, the Super Genius.
It actually worked out in my favor. I worked strictly on organic farms in podunk little towns, away from billboards, highways, TV, the Internet, with only my cell phone that hardly ever had a signal and $100 a month to live on. I was eating right, getting constant fresh air and exercise, meeting great people, getting drunk in places I’d never been to, and barely wearing my shoes. (I actually lived in a town where I almost never had to wear shoes, EVER. Ever go shopping barefoot? It’s freakin amazing.) I had planned to do this for six months, but I was gone little more than a year. The experience changed my life.
But, I couldn’t live like that forever. I needed some stability, so I came back home for round two of the punishing game known as Finding a Job. Six months experience and being somewhat more emotionally sound made round two slightly less awful, but still didn’t go too well. I got hired at a place where the words “employee health and safety” had obviously never been uttered, was swiftly injured, and found myself back at home, facing the unhappy prospect of going back to a seedy business or being unemployed again.
With my familiar friend panic staring down the barrel of his shotgun at me, I started looking at grad school. I hadn’t wanted to spend the money for something I knew I wasn’t passionate about, but I had paid an exorbitant amount for a secondary education already, only to get hurt working for jerks and morons, so I had to do something. I read somewhere that art librarian is actually a real thing, so I had libraries in the back of my mind from the start, but only after reading about what it entailed did I begin to take it seriously.
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” ~ Harper Lee
That was me when I was a kid… and a teenager… and for quite some time as an adult, until I realized not everybody read as much as I did. So when I finally looked seriously into librarianship, I felt like an idiot. What did I love more than books? Nothing! My bedroom even has its own nonfiction section. Where did I spend most of my non-crying hours? HOW did I not pick up on this!? I immediately quit working for shady douchebags and scoured the internet for library jobs. There were not many for those without an MLS. I began networking, something at which I had previously been completely awful. I also started interviewing well because I was actually excited about the work I would be doing. And lo and behold, I got a job offer. I get to read about, discuss, and be around books ALL DAY. Putting the right book in someone’s hand gives me goosebumps and I get paid to tell people how the Internet works! It may be the perfect job, though I suspect I will have my share of struggles once the honeymoon is over. But anyway, that’s my story. I’ve been a library assistant for about two weeks and my so-called adult life has never been better. How long it will last, I have no idea. How long were you happy with your first career choice?