"I enjoy being part of a profession and meeting others in my profession that are passionate about the work too."
What made you decide to choose this career?
After finishing my undergraduate degree in History and Sociology at Central Michigan University, I struggled to find gainful employment in Michigan and Oregon and then decided to move to Orlando where one of my friends lived. After a few weeks there I landed a job as a Quality Assurance Tester for NCAA Football and John Madden Football, working for EA Sports. I worked there for about 6 months until the game was to be released to the public. At that point I was laid off due to a lack of projects to work on. Long story short, I ended up back in Michigan determined to find a real career since getting laid off was not a lot of fun. I had a friend from Central Michigan University who was currently working on her MLIS at Wayne State University and talked to her about the program. I had previously thought about being a teacher, but decided librarianship was more my speed since I really enjoy research and have always spent a lot of time in libraries. I applied for the MLIS program at Wayne State University and was accepted. So, it was really a combination of wanting a real career that I would have a lot of passion for, and my love of libraries that brought me to librarianship.
What is your job title and what are your chief duties?
Right now I am the Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian at the Delray Beach Public Library in Delray Beach, Florida. I wear many hats, but my primary duties are as a reference librarian at the Information Desk, and I am also in charge of all of the interlibrary loans for the library. I am fortunate to work for a medium sized public library that is not part of a large system which allows me to take on many special projects. Since we are a private non-profit there is also more leeway. In 2009-2010 I was able to attend the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute and create a project that is still active at our library called the Empowerment Zone. The Empowerment Zone (EZ) is the transformation of our computer lab into a workplace for those using computers for e-government services, looking for jobs, working on their resumes and other career and business endeavors. I am in charge of a number of volunteers who help me run the EZ, including a retired executive who has been helping patrons one-on-one with their resumes.
Besides those three primary duties, I also teach at least 4 classes a month in the computer lab. I am responsible for the collection development of a large section of the library's non-fiction area. I proctor exams, and assist people on the computers and with their laptops. I am also responsible for the opening and closing of the library on certain nights and weekends.
What do you like most about your career?
I like that there is always a varied amount of work I am doing, and that I am not doing the same thing all of the time. I also like the fact that I am helping people find information and ideally making their lives better. Being a librarian is an important role, but not one that I have to take home with me and it is mostly a low stress job. It is often mentally stimulating and I am always learning new things.
What do you like most about holding a master's degree in LIS?
I enjoy being part of a profession and meeting others in my profession that are passionate about the work too. I benefit from my work in the Palm Beach County Library Association, and the Florida Library Association, furthering the cause of librarianship and engaging professionals in the field. The conferences are great and the publications like Public Libraries and American Libraries make being a librarian like being part of a club. I am not sure I would feel as passionate about my profession if there was not such a network like we librarians have.
What other positions have you held as an LIS professional?
As a professional librarian I have only held one other position and that was as a Public Service Librarian at the Naples Regional Library - a branch of the Collier County Public Library system. There I was primarily a reference librarian, also involved in collection development and on an Innovations Workgroup. I definitely did not have as much freedom there as I do in Delray Beach, but it was a great place to start my career and gave me a lot of insight into the world of public libraries.