#WhyLib – My Teacher Librarian Origin Story

If you follow lots of school librarians on Twitter like I do, than you’ve been seeing a lot of #WhyLib blog posts lately…I’m loving it! So, in honor of School Library Media Month, here’s my story! Check out more #whylib stories (and add your own) at this Padlet!

I went to college with really no idea about what I wanted to do as a grown up. I liked to read, so I was an English major. I liked to watch movies, so I was a Film Studies minor. These choices were based solely on what I liked to do for “fun.” I was not giving much thought to the future at that point. I lived at home and I wasn’t too worried. I don’t think my parents were worried??? Maybe? Looking back, I think I would have been nervous for my child if I were the parent! Anyways, when I was in college, a Barnes & Noble opened near my house. I applied for a job there because it seemed like fun to work at a bookstore and THE DISCOUNT! At the time, I was taking a Children’s Literature class as part of my undergrad degree. This was the first time I was rereading kidlit as an adult and I was LOVING it. It was by far my favorite class in all of my English major program. I got the job at B&N, and I was spending a lot of time working in the Children’s Area, since I was falling back in love with those books. The Supervisor of the Children’s Area (Molly) was in library school. At first, I was totally surprised to learn that there was a “library school.” I had been going to the public library my whole life and never really thought about the people who worked there. I certainly never thought about the librarians in my public schools. Molly inspired me to learn more about library school and the various occupations you can have as a librarian. That’s when the seed was planted. I continued working at B&N (and Walden Books) through college. When I graduated with my BA, I applied for a job as a full time library clerk at the Richland Library. That’s when I really started to learn more about libraries and what sorts of jobs were available (reference, children’s, branch librarians, etc.) I was also working with someone who connected me with some school librarians. I was still really loving children’s literature and I guess I seemed like a pretty good teacher, so various people were telling me I should look into school libraries. I started volunteering at a couple of schools in the school library. I would tutor, shelve books, watch, and learn. I LOVED all of this public library experience and school library volunteering  – so, I applied to library school. Here’s the rub – I was NOT a good high school student or a very good  undergrad student, to tell you the truth. Basically, my grades stunk. I was not sure I would even get into library school once I applied, however, I guess at that point, I would have been perfectly happy keeping the job I had. Good benefits, decent pay – I would have been fine. LUCKILY, the library school was nice enough to interview me and not just go with what was on paper about me. They gave me a chance. And, I’m so glad they did…I LOVED every class I had in library school (except maybe Statistics) and I was a star student. After struggling in school since middle school, I was finally getting good grades and staying focused. Clearly, I was meant to do this! I ended up going through library school on the school media track. That way, I have my teacher certification, but if I ever wanted to, I could get a job in any sort of library – public, academic, special, etc. This degree ROCKS and I can’t imagine doing anything else…what is your story?



About Valerie Byrd Fort

I live in South Carolina. I am passionate about libraries, books, and reading. I am also a mom. This is my blog about those things.
This entry was posted in This and that and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to #WhyLib – My Teacher Librarian Origin Story

  1. amsnelgrove says:

    Thanks for sharing your “whole story!” I loved reading how people’s paths led to being a librarian, since I’m headed on the path now 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s