I graduated with my MLIS last May, and the job market was slim. In fact, during my two years of library school it seemed as if we talked about how bad the job market was in each class. I was especially worried about my job prospects, as all my work with both literacy and children was volunteer-based. But the library gods were smiling on me. Two months after graduation, I got called to interview at my library. I’m now a full-time Children’s Librarian and Collection Development Coordinator, and I am living the dream.
Every day, I wake up excited to go work. Maybe it’s the rosy glow of recent graduation, but I have yet to find a thing to dislike about being a Children’s Librarian. I still have moments where I look around and think, “Do I really get paid to have this much fun?” Instead of going to work and being chained to a desk, I play with babies in Baby Laptime. I watch children crawl and then walk (and then run, usually right out the door). Best of all, I spend my days sharing my love of the written word with children. Every response during RA is gratifying. Finally finding the right book for a reluctant reader and watching a smile steal across their face has become one of my greatest joys at work. And as Collection Development Coordinator, I have the privilege of being the primary gatekeeper of print materials in our library. My coworkers and I make sure that we have a well-rounded collection by meeting monthly to discuss our book purchases. Collection Development in the real world is much different than what you learn in school. My professor never told us the one truth of children’s fiction: “If it has a horse on the cover, buy it!”
The world around us is rapidly evolving. In school, we debated an array of doom and gloom articles about the future of library services. I felt the same way then as I do now. The purpose of libraries remains the same: to provide information and enjoyment to patrons. It is the ways of providing information and enjoyment to the public that will be shiny and new. I feel extremely lucky to have come into the field at such a dynamic point in its evolution. Opportunities for growth are all around me, and I am certain that there has never been a more exciting time to be in Children’s Services.
Elisabeth Gattullo is a Children’s Librarian at Darien Library in Darien, CT. She graduated with her MLIS from Pratt Institute in May 2011.
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