Sorry, not sorry…

I have had two co-workers in the last week tell me that they are thinking of going to grad school to get an MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) degree so they can pursue librarianship. Many people are surprised this degree even exists, but if you want to be a librarian pretty much anywhere in the United States you eventually will end up needing to get this degree. It’s one of the standard minimum requirements for a lot of places, but not all, especially the more private or special interest libraries or museums.

My two co-workers are very different people with very different interests, but the degree seems to fit well for both of them. One works at the public library, she focuses on children’s services, and the other works at the University mainly focusing on tech services. My advice to both of them… GO for it.

When I first decided to go to grad school about 7 years ago, it was a big decision. I didn’t know anybody who had been to grad school before; I had never even so much as volunteered in a library, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good investment. I didn’t get in my first year, since I applied late, but got in the next year for fall 2011. It seemed to start out well; I felt a bit underachiever-y compared to my classmates, some of which already had successful careers in libraries, with blogs and volunteer projects. All I had done up until then was work in a totally unrelated field of real estate investment and stone shipping. In 2012, after my first full year of the program Forbes magazine released their annual list of the worst master’s degrees. Guess what #1 was??  Yep, the MLIS. In fact, even last year in 2016 Forbes still thinks that it’s in the top 5, rounding out at #4. So, am I sorry I chose this route? Nope, not one bit, not at all. If I were to listen to Forbes I would be somewhere getting a degree in statistics and being miserable. It’s just not me even if it appears to be profitable.

2012 Forbes list here

2016 Forbes list here

It seems that the things that I love in life most won’t make me any money (according to these list and most people I talk to). The MLIS rounds out at 4 and creative writing at 12. But you know ,even though it can seem bleak at times; I wouldn’t trade pursuing my interests and the things I love for a bigger paycheck, or for something that seems more “secure”. Everybody is different, some people don’t find fulfillment through their careers, and they choose to just work to get money and support families, and find joy other places in life. Which also works, but when I hear that a student here is pursuing a particular degree just so they can make money, it just makes me a little sad.

So where am I going with all this? Well, number one; always follow your dreams people!  Two, as I’m having this conversation with my co-worker at the public I look up at the new bookshelf directly in front of me and find a book titled: This is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries and Access to Information by Kyle Cassidy.

IMG_1336 - Copy

It’s a collection of pictures of actual librarians from all walks of life across the United States talking about why they got into librarianship and why they love it. It also includes excerpts about libraries by authors such as Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin. Obviously, as somebody who shares a passion for libraries it was great to read what like-minded professionals like myself had to say in defense of our libraries and how they affect the communities that they serve, so I get it, but if you are one of those people who doesn’t understand why libraries exist then maybe it could shine some light on it for you.

A while back I applied with the California Department of Corrections with the thought that maybe I would like to be a librarian in a correctional facility. After talking with some people in my life and researching online I don’t know if it’s a path I am interested in any longer, but something about being a librarian makes you want to help out those that need it most. There’s a Correctional Facility Librarian from Colorado named Sam Leif that put it into words that really touched me the most, he said:

“Libraries can help stop a generational cycle of abuse, victimization, or anger. They can rehabilitate, help people grow and change in life.” (p. 112)

One thing that I’ve noticed in this profession is since we don’t generate revenue we are constantly keeping stats on how many questions we answer. We need to generate reports that remind people that we are still relevant and to fund us (pleeeassseeeee??). As much as we have proof on paper in the form of tick marks or computer generated data from online sheets I think that our biggest success stories can be in the form of the lives we change and opportunities that we can provide for people who otherwise might not have had a chance.

Can you think of any ways that a library has changed your life, influenced you positively, or just gave you a place to hang out for a little away from it all?

 

Cassidy, K. (2017). This is what a librarian looks like: a celebration of libraries, communities, and access to information. New York:  Black Dog.

Advertisements

The sense to be uncommon

I came into work and the circulation supervisor tells me he has something to show me (this is always good). Earlier in the week an unknown person delivered a book to the library saying that it was from a certain higher up in the University and they requested us to put it in the collection on their behalf. I guess this is complicated, nobody knew who this person was, and what, if any, connection they had to the University. Based on the actual premise of the book, it seems more likely that it was just a random person off the street, but I guess that is to be determined.

At first glance the book is thin, and has a pretty basic cover. It’s called Uncommon Sense by Seth B. Moorhead.  Let’s get a background from the blurb on the back. Moorhead is a retired Aeronautical Engineer with an MBA. He worked mainly for the government on military project for the Navy. This book is a manuscript of “17 concise, researched, and well thought out essays which offer thought-provoking solutions to problems” (Moorhead, 2016).

IMG_1306 - Copy

The essays are broken up into categories, Science, Government, Finances, Faith and Life. These essays are super short, about 3 pages each and straight to the point.

He has some out there opinions: He talks about the fact that many US cities are located next to big bodies of water so amphibious cars or hovercrafts may be a solution to our congested freeways. He also doesn’t believe in global warming, but that the volcanic activity is solely responsible for all of the surface level climate changes. There’s other kinds of theories about gravity,  but I won’t even get into those here.

He has some opinions that a little more down to earth: He believes that we should have more requirements for the office of president like a certain amount of previous experience in the executive branch of government ,and also that congress could not make laws that invade personal liberties such as what people eat or drink or who they marry.  He talks about ICBM attacks and some strategies to try to stop them. He then talks about school shooters and how they are male loners who have psychiatric problems and are not loved enough, which is, in a strange way kind of insightful.

I do have a big time problem with this reference page though, it’s about 85% Wikipedia, I wouldn’t call that well researched, and it doesn’t hold weight here in academia. Here’s page one of that:

IMG_1308 - Copy

The last part is about life, and this is where is gets the most random. He believes that football helmets are ineffective, and should be redesigned to remove the hard parts and turn them into soft leather like pillow material that will absorb a hit like a boxing glove would. He also has decided that he will always, from now on, buy new cars, despite the economic advantages of buying used.

I guess what I can say at the end of reading this short little collection is that I thought everything in here would just be crackpot theories or religious ramblings. But, it feels more like talking to a dear old grandfather that you haven’t seen in years at the Thanksgiving table. Sometimes you are like OH my god please stop talking about this it’s weird, and other times you are like WOW, even though you aren’t really backing up your theories with facts they seem well thought out and you have some life experience and so much time on your hands to think about them that they could actually be right in some ways.

I guess there is no right or wrong when you are dealing with opinions, and that’s life. At the end he even offers up for you to write him if you have other solutions or counter arguments. In a way it’s just kind of the equivalent of his own little blog, all published in pamphlet form. Who knows, maybe we will be seeing these new soft helmets in the NFL soon, don’t say I didn’t tell you about it first.

Moorhead, S. (2016) Uncommon Sense. United States: Cadillac Press.

Saint Valentine (love lessons)

I’m feeling really, really, gushy tonight. (Can I blame it on the full moon that just passed, or the sappy songs I’m listening to?) I just got home from work at the U about an hour and a half ago, I don’t want to watch TV, I don’t want to clean, or read, or do anything really. I’m just in this mode where I’m thinking about love and life and all these deep things, this happens to crazy single cat ladies from time to time. Not brotherly love, platonic love, or the kind of love you have for your pet, friends or family. I’m talking about THAT kind of love, that love you spend most of your life searching for, dreaming up, seeing in movies, reading about in poems and novels. Romantic love has always eluded me in a sense, I don’t know if I really understand it, but for the first time in a long time I feel a slight bit of clarity in the matter of my own heart. Because of this, I felt compelled to write a love letter, to my past, present and future, and even more strangely compelled to share it here. Love is an important thing, love is life, and we all need it no matter who we are. It may even be what separates us from the machines that will one day run our world. (what?!) Ok here goes, if you are not feeling sappy, do not read on, because it goes there.

To all the loves of the past,

I hope that I haven’t done much damage to any of you emotionally, if I have I’m sorry and I hope you will accept my apology. For a very long time I didn’t have much love in my heart to give, I didn’t love myself, and I was sad and angry all the time, stifled by addiction and pain. I’m not blaming you, my happiness and emotional and physical health are all my responsibility, not any of yours. I wasn’t capable of love in the past, at least not the way that I think love should be now. Also, that’s not to say that I didn’t love you, I did, but just in my own fucked up, muted, and disillusioned way. Again, nothing to do with you but more to do with me. We had some good times, some milestones were met, the first 30 years of my life seemed turbulent and confused in retrospect. I’m thinking it was a time when we were all just trying to find out who we were and where we fit in this life. I hope you had some fun, and learned some things. I learned a lot from all of you, some were hard lessons, some were easier, some hard to decode and some clear. I wouldn’t be the person who I am today without all of you that’s for certain. I’m not good at being friends with past lovers, now that I think of it I’m not friends with one of you. I don’t ever plan on being friends with any of you down the road. We all didn’t end things so well, and I feel like now, the lessons we needed to learn from one another have been taught, and our karmic candles have been snuffed out. That doesn’t mean you don’t exist in my town, or even in the distant corners of my mind and heart. I see you, I know you are there, I’m not trying to hide, but I draw my boundaries for my own safety. As of today, you all are no longer an active part of me, just a whisper or slight breeze of you will cross my path from time to time but that’s it. You don’t define me, or the way any of my future relationships will pan out, the dysfunction and pain I faced in the past won’t be doomed to repeat itself because I have learned from it, and again, I hope that you learned from my dysfunction as well. I hope you are all doing better today than you ever have in your entire life. I hope you all find the grand love that you deserve. I hope you find peace, understanding, and stillness in your life and that all your grandest dreams come true. Thank you for loving me, knowing me, and ultimately sharing in this experience of life with me.

To my present love,

Hey you. I’m glad that you took this time out, away from the madness to pick up the pieces of your old life that shattered so hard around you. You are strong, you are amazing, and you are on the right path to being the best version of yourself that you can be. You are me. I am my greatest love at present, and I’m insanely happy about this fact. You hear about loving yourself, that it has to come first, you know you have to try, so you do, but self- love doesn’t come from merely saying the words. Just how you can’t force yourself to love a stranger. You have to fall in love with yourself, and it’s a process. First, get to know yourself. Listen to what you are telling yourself through your emotions and intuition. Feel all those fucked up and painful emotions that you have been trying to run from for so long. Feel every ounce of pain that you’ve carried around your entire life, that’s the only way it passes through you is to feel it all undiluted. Second, find all the dark corners of your soul, sit in those corners, alone. Even if you are afraid of the dark, sit there, and know them, know they will always be there, and be ok with this. Get help, go to therapy, find a spiritual guru, do it, it’s worth it.  Go and sit and cry your face off in front of a professional that you are paying to listen to you bleed out your soul, be open to them and don’t lie to them it helps a lot. Third, know that it’s alright to be alone. Understand that it’s simply because if you don’t love yourself as cliché as it sounds you know that you really can’t love anybody else. Not in the pure and true way that you’ve been craving, that you deserve. But you can’t get lazy, you need to stay in love with yourself. Like in any relationship this takes commitment. Continue throughout life to treat yourself like a precious object, and only surround yourself with people who do the same.

To my future love,

I’m so glad I waited for you. I’m glad that I get to meet you as a whole and complete being, full of light and love and ready to share. I don’t know who you are right now, or where you will come from. Maybe I already know you, maybe you run over my foot at the grocery store, you put my braces on, or rear end me while you are texting, maybe you work with me at a new job, or you walk straight into one of my libraries and ask me where the poetry books are. Life doesn’t tell you how these things happen. You may be the last person I expect, or the opposite of what I thought I wanted. That’s ok, it’s more than ok, it’s perfect. Here’s a couple of things that I wanted to share with you preemptively. I’m so glad you chose to hang out with me, life with me will never be boring I promise you. I want to get into all kinds of trouble with you, I want to play and dance and sing with you, jump in piles of leaves in the fall, get dirty, go places I’ve never been with you; geographically, physically, spiritually and mentally. I want to stay up with you when you can’t sleep, I want to look at the stars with you, I want to dream alongside you. I hope to create things with you, whether they be small humans, books, works of art, or just memories. Our union will be able to bring something new to the world, open doors that we didn’t even know existed. In this, we will find that we are much better together than we could ever be apart. I don’t expect you to fix everything for me. But I do expect for you to hug me when I’m crying, to sit with me when I’m depressed or anxious. I expect you to tell me when you need something, or when I’m not doing something that I should be. I want to give you everything and tell you everything, and I want the same from you. I understand there is a dark side, but I want all the parts of you. I really do hope that you like books, and to read them and discuss characters in these books and their motivations. It’s ok if you have a dog, but they should get along with my cat. This may sound like a tall order, but if things are as they should it will all fit together naturally. I’m not afraid to work, I know it’s work, all the best things in life are work. But I’m happily willing to do it for you. See you soon… (somewhere?)

Dream Job Daydreaming..

I got a pretty amazing text today from a friend tell me that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is hiring for a librarian. Holy mother of pearl. I got that text, and within two hours whipped up a new cover, tweaked the old res and send in the application. When you see something like this you jump on it, I can only imagine that everybody in the known universe is going to be applying for this one.

I think that often people have a narrow view of librarianship and what kind of jobs you can find in the field. There are libraries everywhere, at zoos, botanic gardens, museums, churches, schools, pharmaceutical companies, big businesses, historical societies, and the list can go on and on and on and on. It is always to the dream to meld all your passions into one gigantic ball and make enough money to live at the same time, and this, well this would be astronomically cool.

I do live right here in reality. I understand that I’m just starting out, and applying to something like this is pretty much a shot in the dark, but you know, if you don’t put your name out there how will you ever know.

The museum has a library and archives that is accessible by advance appointment only.

They have a really cool tutorial on how to navigate the online searching and finding all the things. If you scroll down on the research guide you can even search particular artists, a Bruce Springsteen subject guide, I’m dorking out, but if you love music, and you have a second, poke around at these, its fun.

They have archival collections, but the material is only available in person. They don’t appear to have any digital collections, which is bumming me out a little because I’m of the computer age and want instant gratification. I get it though, with items and memorabilia of this kind, it could easily taken off the internet and  be used without permission commercially, so a digital collection doesn’t seem suited for a library like this. Just another example of how different kinds of collections and their accessibility is defined by the library and the items it holds.

So far I’ve worked public library, academic library, and special interest library, academic archives and special collections, but I have yet to step foot into thinking about music librarianship. I wouldn’t say that the RRHOF library IS strictly a music library because it has normal library materials and archival items as well as sound recordings, but there are places that just strictly catalog and keep collections of music. The difference between this library and a normal one is that it’s all treated like one big special collections unit based around the subject of music and music history, I’m pretty sure none of the items circulate.

OH my god they have handwritten Erasure set lists, ok ok, see it’s a rabbit hole I can search all day. Even if I don’t get this job, I would like to at least add this to the very very long lists of libraries that I need to visit before I die.

this party is to fire!

Being a weekend lady here at the U I miss most of the action of the week. Sure, there’s still students here on the weekends, but it’s busiest Monday Through Wednesday, tapers off Thursday, Friday is dead, Saturday is hit or miss being either super slow or super busy, and we pick back up Sunday for all those trying to get their homework ready for the week. I usually come in Thursday morning, make my rounds and ask people what I missed.

This morning I was in for a treat. The daytime circulation supervisor had a story for me. He was sitting at his desk, which is behind windows and a sliding door that is usually open, meaning that it’s pretty out of the way and most people don’t go back there unless they are an employee or affiliated with the library in some way. He’s sitting at his desk, when a student approaches him and introduces himself. Then, the student who looks like he may or may not belong to a fraternity hands him a flyer for a party. I guess you may be wondering, well what the hell is so funny about this? 1) If you knew library people you would know that we probably don’t look like we want to party, especially when we are like 10 years older than the students so the fact that he purposely singled out my co-worker and went out of his way to give him this flyer is just weird 2) You have to wait until you hear the hype written on the front of the flyer, It’s so good that I couldn’t make it up if I wanted to.

Here is the flyer itself, it appears to be a concert show:

IMG_1197 - Copy

The first band is named Victor Hugo (library points for that one ONLY). Right below the info is this blurb, I will write it here exactly as it is on the flyer:

Your gonna party so hard

your dancing and your mind

will explode on fire you’l try to call

200 firefighters to extinguish the flames

but no can will be able to

extinguish the heat because this party is to fire!

 

200 firefighters can’t even put out the flames after your dancing and mind explode from the party? Wow. That’s amazing. I think I may have to go and check this one out! I just want to kind of see dancing exploding all over the place, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed that before. Just have to be careful because no can will be able to put out those flames, maybe if you called 300 firefighters?

OH College. I’m going to be laughing about this one alllll week.