Why Library School?

If you would have asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you a high school English teacher. Even in middle school, I knew I wanted to teach high school because middle school is just that awful. Ha! But in all seriousness, I loved everything about school and could see myself being a in a classroom forever. So I did just that: I went to college to become a certified high school English language arts teacher. 

I never told anyone at the time that librarianship was in the back of my mind because it wasn't until I was about halfway through college. In 2010, the economy was still making slow progress toward recovery and teaching jobs in the humanities were few and far between. I was convinced that I would be slinging lattes and working part time long after my college graduation. Around the same time, I started working at Borders (R.I.P.) and LOVED every second of it. 

My time at Borders is what pushed me to consider librarianship as a profession. The work was interesting and the customers were engaging. My coworkers were the most diverse, intelligent, and talented group of people I have ever worked with (still!). I realized that it took a special type of person to want to work with books and THOSE were the kind of people I wanted to work with. 

So, upon graduating with my B.A. in English and Secondary Education, I gave myself two options: 

  1. Find a teaching position for the following fall. 
  2. Continue serving lattes and apply for library school. 

I was offered a teaching position one month after my college graduation and didn't apply for library school for another two full years. If I had not been offered my current teaching position, I would probably have never entered the classroom. Life is such a crazy thing! I am now so happy that I DID teach first. Teaching is the best profession. It is a challenging and dynamic career field guaranteed to turn any 22 year old into a professional. I have no regrets about entering the teaching profession and working with so many amazing young people year after year.

So I why did I decide on library school after getting the job I always wanted? A few reasons... 

  • Teachers must be "highly qualified" to teach within about 10 years of entering the profession. This meant I HAD to get my master's degree in something. 
  • Teachers can only teach in the state where they received certification - at least without having to jump through hoops to meet another state's teaching requirements. My husband has been entertaining the thought of moving for his work and I wanted to be able to find a job no matter where we landed. 
  • One of my coworkers suggested getting a master's degree in something other than education or English so that my education would be diversified and I could hone different strengths that would directly support my teaching.  

So, I went to library school. It literally met all of my life requirements and advice. 

While being a full time teacher and part-time graduate student was incredibly difficult, I gained so much from doing both at the same time. Being a student helped me to connect with the students in my classroom, because we all spent our evenings and weekends doing homework. I remembered how difficult it can be to write, research, and formulate something original and intelligent. Additionally, I was able to apply the skills and resources I was gaining to my classroom lessons and instruction. I understood better how information was organized and how to find what I needed within those structures. My students have become better researchers and I have become a better teacher. 

And because life is SO COOL, I am now able to be both a teacher and a librarian. My current part-time position as a Research Services Librarian allows me to use my teaching skills and directly apply what I learned in library school to the library setting.  As I described in my last blog post (click here) I have developed a passion for information literacy instruction. I find it SO important that our young people can navigate the onslaught of information thrown at them each day. THIS is why I went to library school - to better understand information and better understand how to teach others to work with it, find it, and use it. 

Why did you go to library school? Tell me  your story in the comments!