10 Reasons I Chose to Study Library Science

10 Reasons I Chose to Study Library Science

It's not about the money. It's about the books.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Jillian DeSousa

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If South Carolina Colleges Were Characters From 'The Office'

Who's Jim and who's Meredith?
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"The Office" is one of the best shows on the face of the planet. Don't believe me, you obviously haven't watched it. It has a character for everything, including all of the South Carolina colleges.

The Citadel

This one is probably the easiest. Creed Bratton. Hands down. Military all day every day. No one knows what really goes on behind closed doors, except the people there. Just like Creed's mind.

Coastal Carolina University

Consistently voted one of the top party schools in the nation. #It'snotcollegeit'sCoastal.

Winthrop University

Winthrop is the place for future teachers. We all know that Meredith is the mother/teacher figure in the office, which is kind of scary in and of itself.

Columbia College

Erin just seems like the type of person who would go to an all-female college.

Bob Jones University

At what other school do you see people wearing things that could be from the American Girl large colonial dolls Spring line?

Wofford College

The pearls, Greek Life, and Southern fashion are so real.

Furman University

Let's be real. Pam is a bit of a nerd. But at the end of the day, she does know how to get down. I mean she WAS on the party planning committee. And who doesn't want that Ring By Spring?

College of Charleston

Nard Dog is definitely in an a capella group in Charleston, taking in the city and the history while dressing like a frat star.

Medical University of South Carolina

Andy isn't alone in Charleston. Dwight is down there becoming a doctor. Yes, someone who can save lives and is able to do surgery. Although, who else would you expect to be a doctor?

University of South Carolina

There would be no South Carolina without the University of South Carolina. There would be no office without Michael Scott. The later seasons prove it. They're large and in charge.

Clemson University

While Michael thinks that he runs the office, it's no secret that Jim is the mastermind behind the operation. The office would fall apart without him. I'll just let that sit.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Your Brain Is More Than A Bag of Chemicals

In David Anderson's 2013 Ted Talk, the Caltech professor discusses the downfalls of mental healthcare in our society, opening a discussion to wider societal issues.

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David Anderson, in his Ted Talk "Your Brain is Not a Bag of Chemicals" dives into the world of treatment for psychiatric illnesses, of scientific research, and of fruit flies. His goal, to explain the flaws in current treatments of mental illnesses and present how this downfalls could be resolved is clear throughout the talk. Through presenting his research, and speaking of novel contributions such as the actual discovery of emotion in fruit flies, Anderson displays the flaws in mental healthcare and demands more of the scientific world to resolve these downfalls.

As Anderson explains, the traditional view of mental illnesses is that they are a chemical imbalance in the brain. He states, "As if the brain were some kind of bag of chemical soup filled with dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine." He explains the difference for typical treatments of physical ailments versus psychological ailments. As he describes it, physical ailments presented to a physician will lead to blood tests, biological assays, and various other factors to gather information about what is going on in the body so that a treatment plan can be well-suited to that issue. However, for psychological problems, the patient is often handed a questionnaire to assess the issues. These questionnaires, as he suggests, are insufficient in understanding the complexities that surround mental illnesses.

Of medication prescribed for mental illnesses, Anderson states, "These drugs have so many side effects because using them to treat a complex psychiatric disorder is a bit like trying to change your engine oil by opening a can and pouring it all over the engine block. Some of it will dribble into the right place, but a lot of it will do more harm than good." Anderson uses the example of dopamine and the model organism of fruit flies to explain this concept. He explains how in certain illnesses, such as ADHD, there is not a complete understanding of why there are features of learning disabilities and hyperactivity. Without this understanding, the treatment of just increasing the amount of dopamine in one's system is lacking.

Anderson suggests that pharmaceutical companies and scientists should do more research to not only discover the disturbances of neural pathways, which tend to be the real cause of mental illnesses, but to also develop new medications that attempt to resolve these specific pathways and specific receptors, rather than simply increasing the amount of a certain neurochemical. These new medications could and do revolutionize the way that mental illnesses are treated, and the efficacy in their treatment.

As a society, there is a general view of mental illnesses that varies greatly from the view of physical illnesses. Anderson, without directly discussing it, acknowledges this exact problem. He discusses the differences in treatments, but also the lack of resources that are put in to truly understand how to better treat mental illnesses as disturbances in neurophysiological components. Without, as a society, acknowledging and respecting mental illnesses for what they are, we are short-changing the 25% of the world who is directly impacted by these illnesses, and the countless loved ones who stand by those impacted. A shift needs to occur, and the research and ideas that Anderson presents are a wonderful scientific starting point for these shifts. However, if we as a society do not support the principles behind this science, do not support the concept that mental illness is much more than just being a little emotionally reactive, we are doing a disservice to the majority of the population.

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