How I wound up working in libraries

It occurred to me recently that no one I currently speak to actually knows how I wound up going from avid-reader to prospective librarian. (The question of whether or not anyone cares is a different matter.) I decided to use this post to tell the full story.

It all started with a children’s book. Specifically, with Demeter and Persephone: The Seasons of Time by I. M. Richardson: a picture book adaptation of the Greek myth explaining the changing seasons. In 2002 I was participating in the New York City for the second, and last, time. One level of the competition happened to take place in the auditorium of a public library.

After I presented my story and everyone started milling around, the Children’s librarian, Susan, came over to me and my mother. She said that she loved my story. My mom started talking to Susan and by the end of the conversation I had agreed to tell my story again that summer and I had an internship lined up for the following school year. (I had previously volunteered at my school library for community service–note the pattern).

I interned for the 2002-2003 school year. This translated to shelving books and shelving reserves (a lot). For two magical weeks it also meant cutting out paper snowflakes that were used in displays for the Children’s Room and the Young Adult area. When my time at the library was coming to an end, my mom suggested I ask if the library had any openings for summer jobs. They did not (there was a hiring freeze).

My internship ended and I was, surprisingly, very sad to leave. Later that summer, several things fell into place. The hiring freeze was lifted. One of the Pages at the library had to quit because she was going away to college. Susan suggested my name when the library started trying to fill the position and would eventually call me to ask if I was still interested.

I started work in August 2003. I stayed at the library for three and a half years. During that time I worked in the children’s room, reference (briefly), adult non-fiction, and in the young adult section (still a favorite). I made displays, weeded books, and decided I wanted to be a librarian during this time.

In December 2006 I was promoted (part-time clerk) and transferred to a branch in Chinatown. Now I’m back at my original branch and getting ready to apply for library school.

And all of that happened because Susan and I happened to like the same picture book.

2 thoughts on “How I wound up working in libraries

  1. Your personal story reminds me of a storyline in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. The main character has a similar story . . . (It’s a great book, by the way. Highly recommended!)

    Really enjoyed your coverage of book sites to visit while I’m at BookExpo America (BEA) later this month (another post on your blog). Thanks so much for the info.


    Liked by 1 person

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