February 10, 2010

The Library Routes Project, or, How I Became a Librarian

Ned Potter, Digitisation Coordinator at the University of Leeds (bless his patient self), has sent me a few emails regarding his Library Routes project and his CILIP presentations on "Why are we still defined by our buildings?" (interesting concept, that) and "Realizing your potential: rising above the stereotypes". I'm way overdue in recognizing Ned's papers but I really want to take a moment to talk about Library Routes.

I like the idea behind the Library Routes project - to "bring together the thoughts and experiences of Information Professionals on how they got where they are today, and why they chose to work in libraries at all" and, of course, you know my thoughts on stereotypes and how they affect us even today. Reading the perspectives from our UK brethren was really interesting - yet all the stories had the same feel to them as others I've heard. Some folks went right into librarianship (under various names), others took the roundabout way through some more, some less exciting career paths - but they all feel now as if they're in the right place doing the right thing.

My own route to librarianship has its roots in my childhood, and follows a few roundabout ways of its own. My mother was a librarian - everywhere we went in the military she ended up working in a library, so I was surrounded by that all my life. I didn't set out to be a librarian, though - my first job was as an engineering aide (blueprints and concrete testing kind of stuff) and it wasn't until well into my second job that I started getting involved in information management. One thing led to another, I ended up in charge of all the documentation for the project, and then my questing path led me down the street to the University of Arizona's School of Information Resources and Library Science. I met my most excellent advisor and that, as they say, was that. Grad school was a blast and I've never looked back - I truly feel I'm in the right place doing the right thing, and I love my job as a systems librarian. It's definitely not much like the job my mother did in a lot of ways, but at the base it's the same - getting folks the information they need.

Take a moment, take a read, and join in the discussion at the Library Routes wiki. Thanks muchly, Ned!

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