Friday, August 28, 2015

Twenty-Five Years Ago

Working in the Periodical Room circa 1992
Twenty-five years ago tonight, I walked into the Deerfield Public Library to begin a new job. I'd just spent 4 1/2 years as a preschooler teacher in Evanston, and now that my son was starting Kindergarten I needed a part-time job that would allow me to be home with him after school and during the day at vacation time. I saw ad for a library page, and the hours were perfect- 5-9 Tuesday evenings, and 1-5 every other weekend. After about a month I added Monday evenings to my schedule. 

For me, this was as close to the perfect job as I could get.  I was surrounded by books, and was able to satisfy my sense for order. I quickly remembered the Dewey Decimal System I learned while
working in the Hastings College Library, and became an efficient shelver. I also spent a great deal of time in the Periodical room, fetching magazines and newspapers for students and other researchers.  

After five years working as a page, I was ready to move onto something new. An opening came up for a full time Circulation Assistant, and as my son was now entering fifth grade, I felt it was something we could handle. I enjoyed my time at the Circ Desk, and learned so much about how libraries work. 

After six months at the Circ Desk an opening came up for a Youth Services Library Assistant. I was hired, and moved down there in February of 1996. I knew I was finally where I belonged. It was challenging at first; I had no computer skills, and my knowledge of children's literature was extremely limited. But through perseverance, and by taking stacks of books home every day, I eventually developed the skills needed to succeed. 

In 2000, I finally took the plunge and started working on my Masters in Library Science at Dominican University. Jack Hicks, the Director of the Deerfield Public Library, was especially encouraging in this endeavor, and the library was able to provide some financial assistance, for which I am eternally grateful. 

Going to school while working full time was a challenge, but I loved it, and learned so much. After graduation in 2003 I became a Youth Services Librarian, a job I held until we moved to Maine in 2006. 

Twenty five years ago I had no idea that my part-time job would lead to a lifetime career, and that I would eventually become the Director of a Public Library. I am so thankful that I was able to find a job that not only met our financial needs, but would allow me to use my gifts and talents.  There have been rough patches along the way, but for the most part I have loved working in a Public Library. 

I'm retired now, and whenever I visit my local library I'm reminded of how much libraries mean to me, and am grateful for the opportunity to spend so much of my life in them.