Monday, January 30, 2012

Your Voice - Why Libraries? - Katharine

Each issue of this year’s FLAG we hope to share answers to questions related to library work and life by a variety of information professionals.

Last issue’s question was:
Why did you decide on librarianship or library work as a career?

For several years, I was a pink-haired bookseller in a large bookstore. I enjoyed my job immensely, particularly the opportunity to have conversations with customers about the kind of books they were looking for (for themselves and others) and the opportunity to recommend titles to them based on those conversations. I had a fairly regular customer who I often chatted with at length over the years. One day, our conversation turned to my work in the bookstore and what I hoped to do after my upcoming undergraduate graduation. When I explained the things that I loved the most about being a bookseller she explained to me that librarianship was a career that shared some similarities to what I did in the bookstore: communicating, close listening, assisting people in identifying the “book” or information they were looking for, and being knowledgeable about how or where to find the information. She introduced me to the concept of reference work and also explained some of the other things that librarians do. Though it took me several years to get back to school to pursue my MLIS, that conversation really sparked my interest in librarianship and stuck with me long after I left the bookstore. It is thanks at least in large part to her that I ended up where I am today!

Katharine Barrette
Acting Collections Librarian and Librarian for Women’s Studies
Mount Royal University Library

Would you like to contribute to this new feature section? The next issue’s question is:

What do you consider to be the most important issue in librarianship right now?

Send your responses with your name, job title, and institution to

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