Becoming a Librarian

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2 stories:

  • Muggs Mills “How I Became a Librarian”; and
  • Barbara Oldham “My First Library”.

How I Became a Librarian, by Muggs Mills, Skagit

When I was in 6th grade a local politician came to speak to my class.  I asked him a question about something I read in the paper.  Turns out, it was kind of a controversial subject. (Also turns out most 6th graders don’t read the newspaper like I did.) The politician laughed a bit nervously and said that I should be a reporter.  I snapped back that I was going to be a reporter.  And that was my goal for the next several years.  I was both a reporter and editor of my junior and  high school papers.  (By the way, the politician was arrested years later for shoplifting. I knew he was sneaky.)

When I was a junior in college, I suddenly had a revelation that I DID NOT WANT TO BE A REPORTER.  How could this be?  It had been my plan for seemingly my entire life.  So, I did the only thing I could think of.  With dramatic flair, I took to my bed for a weekend.   My roommates came into the room and tried to get me to get up.  My boyfriend came in and tried to coax me out.  In a very Marlena Dietrich fashion, I told them “I just want to be alone!”

Finally, my roommate and best friend, Jan said, “You are always reading; why don’t you become a librarian?”  I looked up at her.  I pondered.  I thought, “What does a librarian do?”  Hmm, this is something to think about.  So, I got up and dressed (and bathed) and went to the library where I found a print copy of Occupational Outlook Handbook in the reference collection.  I looked up librarian. Oh my gosh, I think I did a happy dance right there in the reference collection at McIntyre Library at UW- Eau Claire!  I thought, this is it, I AM A LIBRARIAN.  Some of my favorite reporting activities were listed right there.  I was going to get to do research and select new books – heaven.  Luckily, my university had a minor in library science.  I graduated with my journalism degree, minor in library science and headed off to UW- Madison for my MLIS.  I have been able to use my journalism background in every library I have ever worked in and I have been thankful to my roommate for her off the cuff remark ever since.

My First Library,   by Barbara Oldham, Wenatchee Valley

When I was a kid we moved to a different city every 4-5 years.  Still, one of the first things my mom would do is take us all to the library and get us a library card. When I was 10 we moved (again) this time, to a house with a large garage.   There was a space in the garage up above the garage door that you could climb up to – a private place.  I decided to turn it into a library for the kids in the neighborhood. We’d collect books – they could borrow them and bring them back “when they were done with them.”  That was my first foray into librarianship.

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