24 November 2005

the journey to becoming a librarian

a lot of people seem surprised when i tell them i am a librarian. here's the whole story, what's on my cv and beyond.

i always loved the library. i was forever winning prizes for reading an absurd amount of books in summer reading clubs, and would spend my free time reading books on my rose bedroom carpet. on vacations, i would take out the maximum 30 books and pack them in the trunk of my parents' gold-colored car to maine for several weeks. i knew mrs. lieberman, the children's librarian, quite well and always found comfort in the library.

i wanted a job when i was 15, and i kept applying to the library. finally, when i turned 16 (they had laws about how late you can work, and they needed someone who could work until 9pm), i was hired as a page. i shelved books, did crafts with children in the children's programs with mrs. lieberman, used the typewriter, was around for the first OPACs (online public access catalog), learn to use the internet to find out about a cute californian runner i had a crush on (michael stember, swoon swoon).

when i was 18, i quit just before i went to college for my ba in creative writing (minors in women's studies and journalism). at suny new paltz's sojourner truth library i spent a lot of time in the library, and even used the quiet study rooms. ;) the ILL librarians knew me well because i was forever requesting materials, and i knew liz and russ well, circulation staff. liz was the kind of girl every feminist had a crush on: she DJ'd on the women's show on the campus radio station, knew all about riot grrrl music, was a huge feminist, and super sweet.

alas, i graduated, and was living in the city, working for a horrible nonprofit which i hated, loathed, and despised. lunch hours i would find solace in nypl's donnell library, checking out books, wishing i was working here instead of there. as my job really was not demanding, i spent most of my time reading books.

i quit the evil racist nonprofit to get my MFA in writing and poetics at naropa. i began working at the allen ginsberg library for one of the most amazing circulation directors ever, eirikur. he cultivated my desire to be a librarian, and let me take over inter-library loan, and taught me about the wonders of iceland. i learned how much i loved academic libraries, and started to learn about the research process. after working there for several months, i also started working at the boulder public library, where i worked as a circulation clerk, reading fiction books in between goss with venessa.

but colorado was not my home; new york is. it always will be.

i moved back to new york city to pursue my MLS at Queens College. i got a job working full-time for a consulting firm, with a boss who was emotionally draining and enjoyed making me feel stupid (or maybe she just did it on purpose). i worked there for two years, improving my research skills drastically (with the help of author and librarian libby schmais) until i graduated.

i quit, went to europe.

now i'm working at two new york academic libraries. the situation is far from ideal--i don't get any sort of holiday/vacation pay as i am part-time in both institutions but i hope to find full-time regular work soon--of course, as a librarian!

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