Why am I embarking on this journey to obtain my MLIS? Am I crazy? How am I going to take care of a four-year-old little boy, eight-year-old little girl, and coexist with my husband who is currently earning his master’s in occupational therapy? Again, I ask, am I crazy? I hope not.
As I’ve already mentioned, I am currently employed at Zauel Memorial Library in Saginaw, MI. We are a branch within the Public Libraries of Saginaw (PLOS) system. I really like working in this system and admire the people who direct and run our libraries. My branch head, who has also become a close friend, confidante, and mentor, is encouraging me along this path. My career goal is to move up within the PLOS system in the near future. My overall goal is to fulfill the personal desire I have to obtain a master’s degree. I’ve included an excerpt from my personal statement that I sent to Wayne State University when I decided that I wanted to embark on this journey. I feel that it does a great job of explaining where I’ve come from.
Excerpt from My Personal Statement:
“The time has come. I always knew that the time would come for me to further my education. With a degree in Communication and English, a big part of my career was spent in marketing. This was a very unfulfilling career path for me, which led to my struggle of finding a career that would mesh my outgoing personality with my longing to work in an academic environment. As I analyzed things and reprioritized what I needed to make me happy; one thing kept resurfacing – I need to help people. After years of analysis, and admittedly some over analysis, it became evident that I had to work in public service; somehow, I had to make a difference in people’s lives.
Putting this new-found knowledge about myself at the forefront in planning for my future, I pursued an opportunity to work for the Public Libraries of Saginaw (PLOS). I did not have any academic background that would lend itself to library work specifically, but was confident that my communication skills, coupled with my general library knowledge and English education, would serve me well. My Branch Head agreed and I was offered the position of Adult Reference Library Assistant at Zauel Memorial Library within the PLOS system. I never looked back.
My position has been more fulfilling than I ever imagined. This is the first time in my 16 years since graduating with my bachelor’s degree that I look forward to going into work every day. Not only do I enjoy work, but I excel at it.
This is not a decision that I make lightly. I have put all of my life experiences, struggles, and triumphs into making this decision. I realize the challenges that I will face and the sacrifices that I will make for the ultimate goal of earning my MLIS. I am ready. The time has come.”
I feel that libraries are an invaluable part of our society. I am proud to tell people that I work at a library. As I mentioned in my personal statement, I have an overriding desire to help others. The library is the perfect place for me to do this. On a daily basis, I find that the majority of people respect us as librarians and appreciate the services we offer. When I leave work at the end of the day, I feel like I have made a difference in people’s lives. This is invaluable. There aren’t many professions around where you get this feeling of accomplishment – of truly having a positive impact on our society.
It is this emotional connection that leads me to my fear of what the future of libraries may be. I appreciate all of the technology that we have access to and even embrace most of it, but I fear that once the human element is removed from library/information science, we will lose something that can’t ever be replaced. It is an intangible of sorts and I fear that by the time people realize our value within society – existing as a physical place with human interaction – it may be too late. At the same time, I find this an exciting time to be earning my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) because we have opportunities to pioneer, if you will, unchartered territory. We can impact the outcome of all of this change.
I am most interested in public libraries and reference work. I feel that public libraries are very special places because we are accessible to everyone. In order for me to feel like I am helping at all – I need to feel like I am helping the people who need it the most. My public library is the perfect “home” for me. On top of that, I love digging around for nuggets of information. Reference and research are where it’s at. I call it “detective work” and I love sleuthing.
So to answer my question – Am I crazy? I don’t think so. A little eccentric? Definitely. Overwhelmed? You bet. Excited? Immensely. Crazy? Nah. Not yet.