So I returned to my role as a Library Techncial Assistant (LTA) officially on January 6th. My work as a librarian was more cerebral, which is code for… more sedentary. Meanwhile, work as an LTA is very physical as it managing the actual circulation of books and facilitating curbside pickup. I went from averaging around 1,000 steps a day at work as a librarian to easily getting over 5,000 steps a day at work as an LTA.
I felt more physcially tired at the end of the workday, with occasional body aches – but I was handling this change overall just fine. Until last Tuesday.
It’s been over a year now that I’ve been in the role of an Adult Services Librarian at the Auburn Library in the King County Library System. I’ve had the chance to learn so much, do so much, and grow so much in this job.
When I initially took this position in 2019, I was slated to be here until mid-September 2020. Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 and library building closures, my end date was bumped to the beginning of January. This January end date is happening – I’ve been talking to my old manager and making arrangements for the transition to returning to circulation working as a technical assistant. Which means I’m coming to the end of this adventure.
Preparing for this upcoming change been difficult emotionally for me for a few distinct reasons.
There’s no way I thought, so soon after graduating earlier this year with my MLIS, that I would have news like this – BUT! – I have actually been hired for my first librarian job! It’s a full time, temporary position as an Adult Services Librarian for the Auburn Library in Auburn, Washington (yes, the same city I wrote about here) and was open only to applicants within the King County Library System. It’s kinda the perfect job to serve as a stepping stone into a librarian career.
I feel incredibly, incredibly lucky. The staff at the Auburn Library seem like an excellent team and I think I will have a set of fantastic mentors to help guide me. In September of next year the person who occupied this position previously will have the option of taking the position back – and my old job as an LTA will be saved for me, although everyone already knows I’m not planning to come back.
My specific job duties will include:
providing reader’s advisory
answering reference questions
managing parts of the collection
maintaining and creating community links
develop/design/host adult programs
And, frankly, I’m so excited I struggle to express it in words.
A career was never part of my life plans – I was raised in a conservative religious environment where women were actively discouraged from becoming career-oriented (luckily, there has been some progress in recent years regarding this attitude). I had zero professional guidance from my parents – my mother hasn’t worked since getting married and my father joined the Navy after high school, taking various jobs to support his growing family until he landed a job at Boeing (where he’s worked ever since). My siblings and I are all first generation college students, and I’m the first and only to earn a master’s degree and also to be employed in a field requiring a degree. But while I’ve worked hard, I know I have also been fortunate – fortunate that my random job-jumping landed me at Green River College, where I talked with the educational advisor to flesh out ideas for my future. I got hired on to KCLS as an LTA, not a Page – everyone tells me that rarely happens. And now I’m jumping from LTA to Librarian – again, incredibly rare as mentioned to me more than once!
I feel very grateful and equally determined to prove myself worthy of the rare opportunities I’ve been afforded. My start date is December 16th, so in the meantime I think I’m going to put together some ideas for “tools” I can use in my librarian role.
I started this website three years ago while attending the orientation for my masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree at the University of Washington. Amid discussions about future career opportunities and ways to create a presence for yourself as an online student, I decided I wanted to create a website/blog where I could talk about things that interested me at school and share my other passion, artwork.
Wow, how the time has flown!!!
I worked full time my first year of doing school part-time and found that I couldn’t manage that work-life-school balance. So I quit my administrative job at a college with the intention of getting some public library experience instead. Volunteering perhaps? But I was able to get a public library JOB, which was even better! The part time work along with 3/4 time enrollment kept me busy, but not completely and utterly overwhelmed (at least, not all the time). My partner Katie and I moved from our apartment into a cheaper space, a basement apartment where we have now lived for two years.
Katie and I got engaged this March, with a wedding date set next September. We also are set to move again, this time in mid-July into a beautiful townhouse. I got a full-time position at the library system, which are coveted and rare positions with a lot of competition! And I graduated last Saturday in a convocation event for all UW Information School (or iSchool for short, we like the Apple influence apparently) graduates.
Life has changed a lot in the three years I’ve been in school. Graduation felt like a celebration of the slow burn of life, of the eventual progress and overcoming of obstacles that seem at first so huge and insurmountable.
My Katie and I have a motto: Together, we can do anything. And moments like this it feels absolutely true.
In Catholic and Orthodox Christian versions of the Old Testament in the Bible, there is a small book called the Book of Judith.
The story is simple but powerful – her Israelite town under siege, a widowed woman named Judith – described as wealthy and “very beautiful, charming to see” (8:7) – demonstrates the brute force of her faith. She charms and ingratiates herself to the general of the enemy army (named Holofernes) by providing “insider” information, acting as if she is a traitor while slowly building his trust. One night she uses this trust to gain access to the general’s tent while he is drunk and utilizes the moment of weakness to her advantage – by decapitating the general.
She then takes the head and returns to her people, brandishing it as proof of God’s ability to deliver. The story notes that although she is courted afterward, she remains unmarried for the rest of her life – a powerful widow who will not be coupled again.
This story has been illustrated through classical paintings time and time again. Although I have an art background I had never honestly given these paintings or this story much thought until I recently read the graphic novel “Becoming Unbecoming” by Una (a pseudonym chosen because it is the Spanish feminine form of the word “one” – “one of many” as the book explains). The graphic novel – which deals with themes of misogyny, rape, and the objectification of women – points out something about the artwork telling this story that I found incredibly fascinating.
Well, I did it! Somehow, despite how terrified of online classes I secretly was (I did an online class back in my BYU days, circa 2008ish, that didn’t instill much confidence in that format), I got through my first quarter and I actually feel really good about how well it went (I got As in both classes!).
I even got the chance to create some artwork for an assignment, which made me feel even happier. After all, any excuse to create art 😉
My classes were Research Design (basically, an introduction to reading and writing research papers) and Resources for Digital-Age Children (a children’s literature introductory course, I really enjoyed it and all the children’s books I got to read as part of the coursework).
I’ve had a pretty incredible life journey that’s brought me to where I am with my career goals and ideas about education. Being accepted to the University of Washington’s Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) online program was one of the happiest moments of my life – to feel I had finally found an amazing career fit and having that feeling confirmed and encouraged by being accepted into the program was incredible.