True Confessions of Carla: I became a librarian by accident. Not to say my ending up in this career ever surprised anyone. I always loved reading and may have spent hours as a child organizing and reorganizing our family’s collection of movies recorded off television complete with an index and card catalog. But, I planned on being an accountant…until my Tax Accounting class almost killed me. Basically, at the time I was making the decision to go to graduate school, becoming a librarian just seemed like a good idea.
Fortunately, it has been. As I was thinking about that decision, I came across an article posted on the American Library Association website listing one librarian’s Top 10 Reasons for Becoming a Librarian. I thought he had a pretty good list so I thought I’d steal her reasons and see how they fit with my career choice. Here goes:
10: EVER-CHANGING AND RENEWING
I do love the fact that my job is different every day. I meet different people, I work on different projects. I solve different problems. We often joke that this job gives people Acquired ADD, which is totally not a thing. But I think we do become very used to the variety and the expectation that you will never finish learning or growing into the job. Being the perfect librarian is a moving target I love to chase!
The original author of this list married another librarian. So that works for her. I did not find my husband in a library. But did find Captain Jack Elliot (THESE IS MY WORDS by Nancy Turner), Benjamin Weaver (CONSPIRACY OF PAPER by David Liss), David Martin (THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafon), and a host of other literary crushes. Romance is alive and well at the library and working here makes me very susceptible to it!
8: USEFUL SKILLS
I feel like I should be better at Trivial Pursuit. But I am really kind of terrible at it. I learn stuff and then I promptly forget it. However, I can find almost anything if you give me a chance to look it up. Seriously, I am pretty good at it. Also, I can multi-task most other people under the table, organize the crap out of almost anything, and carry a wicked stack of books without dropping any. Skilled? Yes! Useful? Sometimes.
7: GREAT CONFERENCES
Um…not sure I agree with this one. I’m not really a conference kind of person in general. So I will instead interpret this as Great Interactions, because I do absolutely love that about my job. Not every interaction is, admittedly, the best. But, I have so many positive and fun exchanges with people! Every day I get to talk with patrons about all types of things and 95% of the time, that conversation is delightful.
6: TIME OFF
I don’t think this is a universal reason to love being a librarian. I do enjoy a healthy amount of vacation time, but I think what I love most about my time off is that I can usually leave the stresses and troubles of my job at work. Time off is just that. I do, however, tend to take home a lot of books, audiobooks and movies, so I guess I don’t actually leave it all at the office. But I choose to bring home only the good stuff.
5: A JOB WITH SCOPE
While much of my job is about books and reading, it is also about much more than that. It’s about enriching people’s lives. We definitely do that through books but we also do that with programs and services. People would be surprised at how much time their public librarians spend trying to figure out what their community needs. Our efforts cover a lot of ground but are all focused on helping, which is fantastic!
4: IT PAYS THE RENT
Being a librarian will never make anyone rich. But it definitely pays the bills and for that I am very grateful. I also love that my career choice brought me to Utah County because I love paying rent in this community!
3: GOOD WORKING CONDITIONS
Once, while interviewing a young girl for a job at the library, I asked her why she wanted the job. Her reply was awesome. “I want a job that requires I shower before coming to work, instead of after.” I hired her. She had previous worked at her university as a custodian or grounds crew, which explains her answer, but I’ve never forgotten it. Some days, like when we are setting up a book sale, I work up a good hard sweat and need a shower right after work. But in general I work in a very comfortable, not to mention beautiful, place.
2: COOL COWORKERS
I wholeheartedly agree with this reason to be a librarian. I have worked with some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. Libraries attract employees that really care about what they are doing. They are dedicated, creative, loyal, and love books and learning! Also, we are all at least a little bit nerdy which makes for a very fun environment. Probably there are great people working in every library….but I’m fairly positive Provo City Library has the best!
1: GRAND PURPOSE
Honestly, I would rather stay at home in bed most mornings. Unfortunately, that will not pay the bills. I love being a librarian because, if I have to get out of bed in the morning, there is no place I would rather be or work I’d rather be doing! I get to devote my efforts each day towards helping the people in my community! I get to work with tremendously devoted people, in a beautiful building, in a fantastic community. I’m not working to increase our profits; I’m working to improve quality of life. That is definitely worth getting out of bed for, and so I do!