I started in libraries while I was in high school. I volunteered in my school's library for a few years. Regrettably, I passed up an opportunity to be an audio-visual page at my local public library in order to focus on my school work.
Like many of you, I studied English/Literature in my undergraduate program. The idea of librarianship was floating around in the back of my mind, but I did not commit to the idea until I was graduating. I used my college's alumni career network to find people for informational interviews. The people I interviewed shared their enthusiasm for librarianship and provided insight into what the positions would entail. One of them even gave a course-by-course evaluation of her library school experiences.
I was hired as a page in the bookdrop room of the local library and worked there for two years before I entered graduate school. I knew I wanted to work in public libraries, but I was torn between reference and children's services. The classes I took reflected both of these interests. Some of the highlights of my coursework were a class about underserved populations, a children's services and programming class, and a class about management in public libraries.
A few months after I began my program, I was hired as a reference assistant in an academic library, a position I still hold. Although I knew public libraries are where I belong, I wanted to explore other possibilities. The librarians and other staff members have been wonderful mentors! I have been able to apply what I learned in my classes and have also taken on projects that supplement the formal learning experience.
Since graduation, I have begun a second part-time position at a branch of the local public library. Although much of what I am doing overlaps with my duties as a page in my hometown library, the experience of working in a small branch library rather than one large library has been worthwhile. I see more of the big picture.
Now, I am applying to professional positions across the country. I hope to work in either reference, which is fascinating and allows me to learn just a little bit about a wide range of topics, or in children's services, where I would be able to help children develop their natural curiosity. Wish me luck!