My mission: Connect students, educators, and community stakeholders with the information resources and skills that they need to be successful learners, teachers and citizens.
My path to librarianship has been spiral rather than linear. At the center of the spiral lies a love of learning and a strong desire for community service. The spiral widens as my understanding about libraries and librarianship deepens. My feelings about library and information science issues are shaped by my personal history, my family, and my work experiences. Writing my personal values statement has been a surprisingly difficult challenge. The common thread that links my diverse professional, volunteer, and personal experiences is information services.
I have always been something of an information specialist as well as an early adopter of new technologies. I am an avid reader and have an almost encyclopedic recall for facts. I provided accurate information to clients and community stakeholders in a variety of settings. My first career was oncology nursing. Patient and family teaching was an essential part of my role. Patients need accurate and accessible information to make informed health care decisions. Health care providers need to study current theory and best practices. I first used databases (CINAHL & PubMed) as a nursing student in 1988. Knowledgeable, enthusiastic librarians taught me how. Those same librarians also provided contact information for various non-profit and government agencies when I needed additional information. Later, these community resources were invaluable to my patients. I was able to locate teaching materials in different languages and formats, including large print, audio, and pictures.
After working for five years as a registered nurse, I took an extended sabbatical to care for my family. I had two very young children, one with developmental delays. My husband encouraged me to go online for information and support. While not a digital native, I was an early immigrant. I volunteered with La Leche League, a breastfeeding support group. I ran mother-to-mother support groups and provided information to breastfeeding mothers. As part of my training process, I took active listening and facilitated communication courses. The techniques I learned were invaluable both personally and professionally. One of my primary functions as a Leader was to provide information without offering advice. I also maintained a small lending library and a collection of informational pamphlets and brochures. I had four young children, one with an autism spectrum disorder. My primary responsibility was caring for them but I discovered that I had strong vocation for service.
When my youngest child started kindergarten, by happy coincidence I found a job as a library assistant. I was already a regular classroom and library volunteer; when a position became available I applied. The pay was low, but I was happy in my work. The school librarian was finishing her own master’s degree from UNC Greensboro. She encouraged me to think graduate school in general and library science in particular. When I started my own studies she was very supportive. At first I planned to become a school librarian. After multiple budget cuts all library assistant positions were eliminated. I was reassigned to work as a classroom assistant. It was difficult time. I was still in the library for a few hours a week, but I was not happy in my work. I also couldn’t imagine working as a school librarian without any support staff. When I was laid during another reduction in force in 2011, it was almost a relief.
I decided to explore other aspects of librarianship, taking extra reference electives and academic librarianship. I did a practicum at the Charlotte Area Health Education Center Library (Charlotte AHEC). This fall I started an internship at Johnson &Wales University Library in Charlotte. I am grateful for all of these learning opportunities. I am not sure what my professional future holds but I am confident that I will find or create a position that uses my unique background.