Based in Lancaster, California, Kimberly M. Thomas is a systems librarian. She has experience in many aspects of libraries, including circulation, technical services, systems, reference, collection development, and archives.

Why Did I Decide to Become a Librarian?

Why Did I Decide to Become a Librarian?

A convoluted story

The question I am going to answer today, which I get asked quite often, is, why did I decide to become a librarian? This is a lengthy and protracted answer for me, as, if I’m being honest, I did not directly decide to become a librarian from the start.

When I was a little girl, I loved to read, and I thought the librarians both at school and the public library were amazing. One year, I read all the Nancy Drew mysteries in the school library and then started in on the biography section. Eventually, I convinced my mother to subscribe to The Babysitters Club books for me so I could continue to pursue my love of reading. This is not why I decided to become a librarian.

In college, I majored in Cinema and Television Arts with a concentration in Electronic Media Management. This means that I learned all about ratings research, program development, media law, and how to be a producer. I discovered before I was even through with school that this was not the path for me, and I did not want to work in the entertainment industry. I considered switching emphases to Cinema Studies, but never went this route. I thought about getting a Master’s in Cinema Studies so I could teach and pass my love of cinema on to others. I did not pursue this route. I also considered becoming a social worker or a therapist so I could help others, as this was always a goal of mine.

Before I even graduated, I decided I was definitely going to pursue a Master’s degree. I ended up going with Library and Information Science because I knew it would be a more versatile degree than Moving Image Archive Studies, I could still be an archivist, but I could also be a librarian, which still held a certain sort of nostalgic appeal for me. I quickly discovered I was not going to be a film archivist, and this didn’t even particularly hold my interest. I did my internships and volunteer work in archives and digital libraries, which still utilized my coursework and interest in archives.

Once I graduated, I found employment as a Library Assistant. This position allowed me to do what I loved most all along: help people. I got the privilege of helping students, faculty, and community members at the circulation desk, and found this greatly satisfying. Pursuing work that utilized my MLIS degree, I applied for and ended up getting the position of Systems Librarian. This came with new responsibilities, including reference service. Reference is greatly rewarding, as I get to both connect patrons with the information they need and teach them how to search for the information themselves. This is the most professionally satisfying activity I have yet partaken in. While it harkens back to my days as a little girl who loved the library and reading and idolized the librarian who helped me, it could not be farther from it. Librarianship has little to do with reading and how much one enjoys it. A love of helping people is at the heart of librarianship. That is why I choose to be a librarian.

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