As many of you may know, this week is National Library Week! It’s great to see all the posts on social media celebrating libraries, including this video from John Green about the list of most challenged books of 2015 that the ALA released yesterday (Looking for Alaska being #1):
It’s an excellent video. But I’m not going to talk about anything in it…I just wanted an excuse to post a John Green video. Get at me.
Instead of talking about banned/challenged books, which I would rather do during Banned Book Week in September, I am going to talk about something else. Many of you may also know that I was recently admitted into a master’s program for library science. So in honor of National Library Week, I’ve decided to post my admissions essay, which talks about why I want to be a librarian. It also talks about why I’m awesome and should be admitted into the program, but I’ve taken out all of that jazz (cause who really wants to read that?) and added something else so as to be more blog-y. Here it is! Happy reading and happy National Library Week!
My name is Emily S—-, and I want to be a librarian. I want to help people, I am disgustingly organized, my second home is the internet, and I actually enjoyed doing research and writing papers throughout my academic career. Initially, I thought this was a perfect recipe for a high school English teacher, which is what I am now, and I was correct to an extent. I’ve heard that many former teachers pursue library science, and I will be proud to join their ranks. I can’t speak to the reason for each of their decisions, but I can tell you mine.
In my experience, teaching today is about adhering to the expectation that students are all to be learning at a similar pace, at a similar level, standard subjects that some group of people at some point in time deemed necessary. In the two short years I spent teaching, I realized that this wasn’t exactly what I wanted when I decided to devote my career to literacy. I still dearly wish to have a career devoted to literacy. I’ve always had a thirst for learning, and I firmly believe that everybody can and should have access to any and all of the information they wish to pursue at any time they want. My curiosity and passion for research and exploration extends beyond the classroom, to a place where I believe learning is truly limitless: a library.
[Here was a paragraph in which I wrote about why I’m awesome and why I want to go to the particular school. I deleted that for the purpose of this blog post and am adding the following:] A classroom felt too small for me. In a library, there are no limits. There there are no tests. There are no repercussions for not understanding something. There’s no one controlling what you will or will not read. There’s just you and a whole world of information you could ever possibly want to learn. Being a librarian will allow to me help people in ways that I never could as a teacher, while also stimulating my own brain in ways I never could. I have seen some truly remarkable teachers do some truly remarkable things in the short time I spent teaching, and I will miss it. I will miss the aha-moments and the relationship building and the surprising strokes of creativity and genius from students. But I am excited to see what else is ahead for twenty-first century learners, and honestly, I think libraries are gonna be the place to be. [End blog post additions and subtractions].
Additionally, I am passionate about technology and interested in the new advances being brought to the field through digital libraries, archives, and databases. I believe that librarians are needed now more than ever because of the internet, despite the fact that some claim the profession will be obsolete because of it. Navigating the digital universe is difficult, and I would love to be the person to bring clarity to someone in need of help finding his or her way through it. As a member of the Content Team at MuggleNet.com (the top Harry Potter fan site on the internet), I have become interested in digital preservation. MuggleNet recently moved to a WordPress platform, losing much of its content in the transition. One of my current duties on the team is to retrieve editorials from the old site via the Wayback Machine and transfer them to the new one. This task would not be possible without librarians. The internet is just as delicate, if not more so, than physical publications, and the preservation of online spaces is of great interest to me…as evidenced by the hours I spend pursuing long-lost fan sites for a trace of my pre-teen self. Though it might sound superfluous, the fact that such websites could be erased from existence is a scary thought – the influence of the internet on the growth of fan culture will be part of our cultural history one day and ought to be preserved. This is just one of the ways I have learned that librarians are as essential in the twenty-first century as ever before.
And then there are the infamous and glorious vessels to which my decision ultimately returns: books. I adore them; I’ve catalogued my own home library. The ideas of pairing up a person with the perfect book or guiding discussions for adults who read YA bring me endless delight. Though books are what initially attract many to the profession, I understand that there is infinitely more involved than circulation, and that excites me. Ultimately, it’s about information – and whether that is on a yellowed page or a webpage, I want to help people find it. I want to help provide a space for people to think, explore, take risks, and ultimately, learn. I want to be a librarian.