So, blog-followers, meet Julie. Julie is awesome. She is incredibly kind, beautiful (she's the blond in the picture), intelligent, and has the sweetest voice I've ever heard (seriously. I almost died when I met her because her voice is so cute.) She's also a book blogger, so after you get to know her, you should check out her blog, Book Hooked!
Heather: Welcome to the blog, Julie! Tell us about your job.
Julie: I work at a small technical school that offers degrees in Computer Drafting and Design, Information Technology, Electronics, and Criminal Justice. The largest part of my job is building our collection and working with students on basic information literacy skills. Most of our students are non-traditional, over the age of 25, and below the poverty line. I do a LOT of basic skills training - using a computer, spelling, how to use the Internet, etc.
H: It sounds like you make a huge difference! How long have you been working at the library?
J: Two years, although technically I'm only a library assistant. My school is so small that I am the only library staff, so I do the same duties as a librarian, but I won't have the official "librarian" title until I finish my MLS degree in December.
H: Titles, schmitles...you do the work, you're a librarian to me! (And trust me, she does a LOT of work! She's done some amazing programs in the past for her students to bring awareness about literary events, and this month she's hosting two "break the rules" nights in the library, as well as a school-wide trivia game. She's also hosting a haiku workshop! She's amazing. All of this programming for no extra money and little additional praise!) Why did you decide to become a librarian?
J: I graduated college with a BA in English, which doesn't give a whole lot of career options :) This is something I decided to try and have loved, so I went on for my graduate degree!
H: I know what you mean about options! Even with my degree in journalism, I pretty much could work at a newspaper, or a magazine. What do you like most about your job?
J: Loving on my students and seeing them get excited about learning. I have a few who are incredibly dedicated and work so hard to improve their lives - seeing that and getting to be a part of it is inspiring.
H: I hear you talk about that a lot, and it makes me want your job! Is there anything you don't like?
J: My main pet peeve is being treated like a secretary or babysitter. Lots of faculty want me to make copies for them or watch their classes and that drives me nuts. I also hate hearing "so you just paid to sit around and read books all day?" I wish.
H: OK, so on to the topic of the day: library worker appreciation! What do your students do on a regular basis to make you feel appreciated?
J: I do a lot of work that I feel like is "behind the scenes" - making tutorials and websites and working on events that students don't see - so when one of them notices and just says "thank you" it means a lot. Even little things like stopping by to tell me hello or offering to watch me walk to my car after dark or telling me to drive safely make me feel appreciated. I had a student tell me one time that I was the only "authority" he could talk to about his personal life who didn't make him feel stupid. That kind of stuff can keep me going for weeks!
H: What can library patrons in general (like me and my blog readers) do to make sure that their librarians feel appreciated today?
J: Just saying thanks really goes a long way. Realize that your librarians are not sitting behind a desk reading books all day. It might look like they're just chilling out behind the desk, but I promise they aren't. Someone has to make the websites, flyers, programs, type the spine labels, etc. Just hearing someone say "you did a good job" or "I enjoyed that event" can really make a difference.
H: OK, note to self: bring thank-you cards and baked goods to my library the next time I go! With budget cuts, e-Books, and the Internet becoming even more widely available (literally at our fingers all the time), what do you think the future role of the library will be?
J: A lot of people say that libraries are on their way out, but I really just can't see that. The demand for information is always increasing and, especially with the down turn in the economy, are more necessary than ever, especially for the unemployed and those who live below the poverty line. So many people in urban areas depend on libraries for access to the internet, as well as books, magazines, newspapers. I really love to hear stories of communities pulling together to keep their libraries open because they really show how much the community depends on the library as a source of information.
H: OK, enough of the serious stuff...time for two fun questions! If you could work at any library, anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
J: That is such a hard question! I'd love to get some experience at a public library, but I really think that in the long run academic libraries are my cup of tea. I'd really love to find a job doing reader's advisory services in any setting - getting paid to tell people what to read is my dream job!
H: Well, on that note...get some practice! Tell my readers to read any book. Go!
J: Read Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis. Best book ever!
Thanks for stopping by, Julie! Don't forget to check out her blog!
P.S. I cut two people out of that picture of Julie and me. I feel a little bad about it, because they are really awesome people. But I didn't have time to ask their permission to put their picture all over my blog, and I thought posting without their permission would be rude. But the good news is they both have blogs! And they're both hosting SIGNED Hex Hall giveaways right now!!! (Crystal also has Princess for Hire and Leaving Gee's Bend!) So you should head over to Crystal from Crystal Clear Reading and Leah from My Life: Uncensored blogs, say hello, and enter their giveaways!