A Special Track for a Special Librarian
posted March 18, 2013 9:14 AM by Sarah Barton
Sensing a trend in my peers’ recent blog posts about different types of libraries and librarians, I will brief you on where I aspire to end up after receiving my degree in December. As Maggie’s, Julie’s, and Emily’s posts each reflect, everyone at GSLIS has his/her own sense of an ideal library job, and I will add a different perspective about what I want to be when I grow up.
In past posts, I have referenced my work in my local public library. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working there, but one thing that I have gleaned from the experience is that public libraries aren’t the best fit for me. I have also made references to my internships at a law library and a corporate information center. Don’t jump to the conclusion that I am a business-minded, money-driven, public service-neglecting shell of a librarian, but those internships have pushed me toward working in the corporate library world.
I came to library school expecting to graduate with a job helping people find and obtain information. Naturally, I assumed that I would do so in a public or academic library, as those are the types of libraries that I know best. When I realized the many different work environments to which a library degree can be applied, the ones that resonated with me the most were non-traditional, or what we in the library biz call “special,” library settings. Having interned in two special libraries, I am totally hooked and would love to try more. News librarianship is very interesting to me, as is doing research for an advertising agency or consulting firm, and I am also super jealous of Julie’s prison gig.
What I eventually came to realize is that special library jobs involve helping people find and obtain information, just not in an environment that is customarily associated with libraries. That idea is captured perfectly in a course that I am taking this semester, Business Information Sources and Services. That class has totally turned me on to corporate librarianship, and, yes, even business in general. I am intrigued by the pace, complexity, and research-oriented nature of corporate/business librarianship. Looking back, it is crazy to think that I applied to GSLIS without even knowing that special librarianship (i.e. what has become my ideal career path) existed. On some level, I envy my peers who are in a track, as they have a solid grasp on the type of librarianship they want to pursue. For me, however, the general track has allowed me to create my own special path toward a career in special libraries.