Guest Blogger

Tales of a Recent Graduate

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.

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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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8 comments

  1. Cait

    This is so great Elisabeth! I’m graduating this May and hoping as well that I can secure a job in a children’s department somewhere! My fingers are crossed I have the same experience as you 🙂 I love finding the right book for the right reader (esp those reluctant readers) and improving my RA services!

    🙂

  2. Hershel

    What a great article! It makes me miss summer reading programs at my local library when I was growing up.

  3. Carrie

    Thanks for the post Elisabeth and glad you found a job so quickly after graduating. Keep your enthusiasm and love of your job:D

  4. Robert

    What a wonderful post. The library is where I learned to love reading and books. I’m glad you found a job that is so rewarding.

  5. Inger

    Hello Elisabeth,

    What a lovely testimony. Working in Youth Services is enjoyable. I have never worked as a Children’s librarian professionally, but I volunteered and did field work in that department, and it was delightful. It’s amazing what children can learn at such a rapid pace. The children’s section in most libraries, with all of its colors and wide variety to children’s books, will just draw you in (especially if you have a child of your own like me). Elisabeth, I will also be finishing an MLS program this summer, and I am currently searching for positions with as much hope and enthusiasm as you were last year. Your testimony is inspirational!! Thank you so much for sharing. It’s right on time for me. 🙂

  6. Shannon

    Thanks for the inspiration! I am still in library school and I hope to one day be a Children’s Librarian, too. I love love love collection development, as well. Thank you for showing me that there are good jobs out there still to be had. 🙂

  7. Julia

    Thanks for the blog, Elisabeth, it gives me hope! I am in my first semester of my MLS program and it seems like everyone in my classes already work in libraries, so I have been very concerned about whether or not I have a shot at finding a job. Thank goodness I still have some time, though, since I’m still not sure what area I’m interested in pursuing. I enjoy working with children, but have also thought about the academic library.

    Thanks again, I hope you continue to thoroughly enjoy your position and that your enthusiasm never dies!

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