1. I love books.
If you know me, this should not come as a surprise. Not only do I love to read books, I love writing them as well. I still plan on pursuing an MFA in writing in addition to library science when I start grad school, but not everyone is JK Rowling. Miraculously, I could publish a book, only that does not mean it will sell well enough that I won’t ever have to work again. Regardless, I still want to make books a part of my career.
2. Casual dress code.
At Macy’s, I had a uniform that involved black trousers and uncomfortable black shoes. I didn’t like it. When I worked at my school library and at the Boston Public Library, the dress code was casual. Obviously, yoga pants wouldn’t be appropriate, but not everyone is expected to show up in a suit and tie. That’s really what I want.
3. There is more than what you see on the surface.
My guess, most people only think of libraries as what they see on the surface: a place to read and study with free Wi-Fi. Libraries are that, but there is more going on behind the scenes. When I worked at the Boston Public Library, I saw all the rare books and manuscripts in the archives department, and all the work that went into their care. There are also the preservation of the books and the digital archives. There are people who catalog new books for the library and buy books for them. I could go on. I want to learn everything.
4. Working with different types of people.
Regardless of what kind of field you go into, you will have to work with people. I like people and can generally get along with anyone; I just don’t like the public. If you have worked any kind of retail, you know what I’m talking about. But working in a library setting, you meet people from different backgrounds with different experiences. And, more often than not, they have some great stories to tell.
5. Free services to the public, especially those who need it most.
Ignoring what I said in the last paragraph about disliking the public, libraries are still a great resource to those in need. Children whose parents can’t afford to buy DVDs and books can get them for free from the library. Computers are available to those who can’t afford the latest MAC or PC. Despite my overall social awkwardness, I do like helping people and I want to work for an institution, like a library, that supports those values.
6. Libraries are a safe haven.
There are fewer places that I ever felt safer in than a library. Even where I live now, which has a reputation of not being very safe and kind of crummy overall, the local library gives off a feeling of coziness and security. Libraries are a place I could read my book and write in peace. For many people, especially kids, libraries are a safe haven with books and activities.
7. I believe in the institution of free reading.
My motto has always been read whatever the hell you want. I am 24, going on 25, and I still read books meant for teenagers. I read them because they are fun, as well as to learn how to write novels for that particular audience. When governments and overprotective parents try to censor what people read or make libraries take certain books off their shelves, it really makes me mad. If you don’t want to read a book, either for religious or other personal reasons, that is your right; no one has the right to tell others what they can or cannot read.
8. More than one project at a time, but never a dull moment.
As a librarian, you have more than one responsibility. I’m organized to a fault and I keep track of my assignments with a to-do list. Keeping busy at work keeps my brain as active as possible, saving me from turning into a work zombie.
9. Laid-back environment.
Libraries generally have a laid-back environment, despite my previous comment about it always being busy. People are there because they want to work there, not just because it was a “safe” job with good benefits.
10. You never stop learning.
I am a lifelong student — I want to keep learning, and reading and writing, as much as I can.