First of all, my apologies to Rebecca. I told her in my reply that I would have this posted on Thursday but, unfortunately, my ambitions and time operate on a different level.
On Tuesday, Rebecca asked for my thoughts on a career in academic librarianship and I promised her that I would write a post about it on today. So here it is…
I have worked in the field of academic librarianship for about six years in various capacities: archivist’s assistant, reference librarian and, now, archivist/reference librarian/adjunct history instructor. Each position has brought it’s own challenges and successes. And when I compare it to working in a public library (which I did for a year), I know that I belong in academia.
One of the things I enjoyed most as a student was doing research. I loved the whole process, from picking a topic to conducting research to writing the paper. And once I graduated, I didn’t have a lot of reasons for researching and writing papers but I wanted to continue the process and get better at it. At the same time, a part-time position opened up at the University of Scranton and I was offered the opportunity to work as a reference librarian. My co-workers encouraged me to get my degree in Library Science and I found out that I truly enjoyed being a librarian. But, more than that, I enjoyed watching students when they “got it.” There’s nothing more professionally fulfilling than having a student who is stuck in the research process come to me for help and seeing the look in their eyes when they find what they’re looking for.
I also enjoy the opportunities that working in academic librarianship has opened up to me. Currently, I am teaching a history course through Misericordia University‘s Expressway Program and, in the fall, I will begin teaching a “regular” history course. This is an opportunity I may not have had if I did not work in the library and have a relationship with the faculty, staff and administration of the university.
I would encourage anyone looking to go into the library field to volunteer in as many types of libraries as possible until you find the perfect fit.