Friday, November 09, 2007

Intellectual curiosity satisfied? a Library Career?

Maura Smale's recent article "Gearing Up for My Third Career" from the Chronicle of Higher Ed gave me the thought that when I retire I could seriously consider getting a library degree and working in a small community library. Smale is looking for a job in an academic library, which I would not be, but there are important similarities. I think I would be good working in a library. I am organized - well, people seeing the papers on my desk would not think so -- but as long as someone else (Dewey? the Library of Congress?) determined the numbering system, then I can certainly put things away. (See my earlier post - when? - on the great new book Everything is Miscellaneous which will explain my difficulty categorizing.)

Other than shelving books, I am also great at research. After all, these years helping/teaching students to write researched argument papers have taught me to be persistent and imaginative in finding resources for them to enter the conversation in a variety of discourse communities (stakeholders) and on a wide range of topics.

Plus many of my favorite colleagues are librarians - right here at OSU and elsewhere.

Finally, it's genetic - my grandfather, historian J. Franklin Jameson, was chief of manuscripts at the Library of Congress in the late 1930's. And as a child, I remember going to the fiction stacks in the old LC annex where my father had stack privileges and checking out books. What fun.

A library job sounds perfect for my dotage.

UPDATE DEC 4: After my friend Paula commented (see below) I realized that I forgot to mention that I had already worked in a library - reference desk on call at Grants Pass public library in southern Oregon (before the budget crisis closed the libraries for 2 years). Helping patrons find what they needed - either a specific item or something for a project - was so satisfying. The same is true for my decade as a bookseller in Grants Pass at The Bookstop (since out of business) where I helped customers find books for themselves and others. Delightful. It was also fun to have them ask for a book based on a review I had written for the local paper!



Blogger PaulaMc said...

Sara you would make a fantastic librarian! I agree that the creativity you exhibit in helping your students learn about the conversation surrounding their topics would serve you well in such a role. And your enthusiasm for exploration is infectious. Go for it.

8:49 AM  

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