Transition: Student to Professional
11/05/2011 § 14 Comments
About a month ago I wrote a post titled: Some thoughts from a #n00brarian. The day that post went live, I was offered the position at my dream job as the Library Director of Muir Library in Winnebago, Minnesota. Unfortunately, I couldn’t announce it because it had to be approved by the City Council, but that’s neither here nor there anymore.
I have a job and I love it. I’d like to just play with the idea of my transition from student to professional for a few minutes. (Spoiler Alert!! If you’re looking for a post about how easy the transition is, don’t read this one)
- I didn’t learn everything I needed to know while I was an MLIS student. I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone. We all know there will be gaps in our education. Whose fault is that? I’m taking responsibility for some of that. As much as I tried to give myself a well-rounded MLIS education, I missed out on some lessons I’m sure I could have learned in school (example: children’s literature – selecting fiction and non-fiction for the collection). And how am I now making up for that as a professional? Well, I’m reading a LOT of children’s literature and I’m finding resources (people, books, blogs, etc.) to teach me as I go.
- As a student I was constantly surrounded (heck I even lived with) librarians or future librarians. There was always someone to bounce ideas off of. It’s like I lived at Library-Hogwarts and got to practice my librarian-magic on other witches and wizards (errr… librarians) before heading out into the real world full of Muggles (errr… the public). Now, I’m lucky if I talk to another librarian (via phone) once or twice a week. That’s partly because I’m in such a rural area – but I’m certain that the transition from student to professional is still “lonely” because you’re not sitting in class or on the boards having discussions. You’re working. Whereas it was nice to get away from homework and Tweet or check Facebook or write a quick blog post as a student, I find myself not leaving time to do that now that I’m working. I already know the library (and I) need time to talk to other librarians — which is why I absolutely love #libchat and try to get there every week.
- Some people told me (when I was a student), that when I hit the professional-side-of-libraryland I would get a huge wake-up call about being too idealistic and optimistic about the library its patrons because I haven’t worked with them and I just don’t know what it’s like out there. Well, I’m on the professional side now – I’m still fresh – just a month into the job. But, I would say this to those people — I’m STILL optimistic! I’m STILL advocating for the library every day and I’m STILL going to give everyone who walks into my library a chance (even if I know their card is blocked because they have too many fines). I may not know how to develop my collection for children yet, but I am STILL going to help them find something to read when they come into the library after school. Frustrating days are part of life, but they can’t ruin hope for the next day or the next day.
The former library director at Muir Library stopped in after I’d been on the job for a couple of weeks. She gave me a pin that has a beautiful globe on it and says READ. She got it at a meeting for the Summer Reading Program earlier this spring. I’m sure it is a generic pin that everyone received, but it means a lot to me that she gave it to me as I started my professional career. I have worn it every day since then. I am going to wear it until it breaks or someone gives me something better because it reminds to think about the big picture (long-range plan as some administrators would say). Whether I’m a student or a professional in libraryland, I’m always going to remember that the world is a big place and I’m just one person – transitioning from moment to moment – helping someone find something to read.