Now that I am actually attending a library and information master’s program, I am often asked why I am in this field and what do I want to do with it? While I was working on my undergrad. degree in English these questions were never presented to me on the scale that it is now. People may have assumed that I would teach, as I was a substitute teacher for a bit of time. Whatever the reason is, an English degree doesn’t warrant as many questions.
The former question, why?, is easiest to answer. I’ve wanted to go to library school since high school, but the programs are masters only (during my undergrad. my major jumped around from history, to earth-science teacher, to English teacher, and then to English). What libraries offer and do is commendable and important to society. Without libraries, access to technology, information, and entertainment resources would be restricted even further between the haves and have-nots. Likewise, a concept presented to me this year is the library as “3rd place”. We have our homes and our jobs- the two places where we spend the most amount of time. The library works towards being a place where families can gather, children can grow, and people can socialize- regardless of class. In addition to the public and selfless aspects of the library is the cataloging, organizing, access, and preservation of information. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into library functionality. Much of this is technical and scientific, but it all goes back to the relationship it has with the user/patron. This area is really exciting and always changing.
The answer to the latter question, where?, is harder to answer. There are many opportunities in the information field, both public service and corporate. In my intro. class to library science, several practicing librarians came in to speak with us: public, academic, school, and corporate. None of them would have guessed that they would have ended up where they are now. They all had ideas of where they wanted to be and the fields in which they were most attracted to (for the most part, we all enjoy preservation and working with old/ancient material, but there is more out there to be involved with). I have some ideas but no firm commitments.
For now I am headed to Seattle, experiencing the law library path for 6 weeks and enjoying school. To conclude, I couldn’t imagine myself working in a place that doesn’t involve information, people, libraries, and technology.