Thing 20: The Library Routes Project

Library Roots: How and why I got into the library profession.

In high school I worked part time at a local garden center. I moved my way up from weeding to watering to cashier to florist assistant. When it came time to pick a college and a career, I decided that being a horticulturalist might be a great idea. I loved being outside, and I really enjoyed being around plants. I spent the next four years at Purdue University learning how to design beautiful outdoor spaces. When I graduated, I landed a job with a landscape contractor in Southern Indiana. The owner of the company designed gorgeous gardens for wealthy residential customers and took care of the installation by leading two crews of hard-working guys to carry out the ideas he came up with. I loved the work, although it was very challenging. I was able to participate in some amazing projects. There were a few downsides to this life. It was a very difficult seasonal schedule. More than that, however, was that I was working very hard in the pursuit of money. Not just for myself, but I was always talking someone into trying to spend a little bit more to get better quality building materials or a larger size tree or a better brand of fertilizer. It was always something. There is nothing wrong with this lifestyle, it was just less satisfying than I had hoped.

I decided that if I was going to spend so much time devoted to my career, that career needed to be something that helped others. I wanted to work for a non-profit. The one place that I always wanted to be as a child was the library. My mom would take me all the time to find books and attend storytime. I continued to use the library throughout my life. The idea of working in one seemed like a perfect idea. So I dove head first into this life.

Library Routes: The career path I’ve taken so far.

Once I made the decision to be a librarian, I entered library school. I was a little nervous about going back to school for a masters degree. It wasn’t something I ever thought I would do. No one else in my first semester of classes had quite a bizarre background as I did. Most of them had English degrees or seemed to always want to be a librarian. Despite that, I realized that my background gave me a unique perspective. I also had extensive project management experience by that time, so school work was a lot easier for me the second time around. At the same time that I started back to school, I also applied for a student clerk position at the Greenwood Public Library. It was for 12 hours a week and paid just over minimum wage. I wanted that job so bad for the experience I knew I needed, and was so happy to get it.

The rest is sort of a blur. I worked really hard for the almost two years it took me to earn my degree. I was able to work my way into more and more hours and eventually was promoted to a full time position just before I earned my MLS. The job was terrific. It allowed me to program like crazy, work on lots of different projects, and try just about anything I could dream up to benefit our community. I loved planning programs and classes for adults. I was a little less thrilled about my collection development duties – but it was all a great experience.

After a few years, my supervisor was promoted– which left open an opportunity to become department head of adult reference. I stayed in that position for almost a year before deciding to make a big move to Florida to become Adult Services and Programming Manager for a six-branch system.

I love what I do, and I consider myself lucky to be doing it.

This post is Thing 20 of the 23 Things for Professional Development.



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