Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Library Routes Project

The Library Routes Project

I have told this story many, many times, but I have never written it down before. I got into the library world almost by accident. I walked into my local branch library the one day they advertised for a "part-time substitute clerk." I wasn't even really job hunting at the time, having two young children at home. I was lucky enough to be hired for the position. This was in 1988 and I started the day after Labor Day. It was an election year and since libraries in Ohio were voter registration sites, I was immediately signed in as a registrar. Over the next two years I eventually worked in 5 different branch libraries and the Dayton - Montgomery County Main Library in Dayton. I loved being a substitute clerk. I could almost set my own hours, but I could also accept more long term assignments for maternity or sick leaves. When I was offered a part-time staff job, I found out that the substitute position paid more because more skills were required!

My home branch was the Northmont Branch in Englewood, OH and I worked there most often. The Children’s Librarian had ordered some information about the Library Science program at IU for a friend of hers who never picked it up, so she gave it to me. I applied to the program and wham I was off on the road to a career. Prior to this I’d only had jobs, nothing that counted for anything. I attended IUPUI in Indianapolis for four years, taking one class a semester and driving 90 miles each way once a week. The first two years I paid for myself. My goal was to have a professional job by the time my children were in high school and preparing for college. I was able to carpool with other library school students for the whole time (except for one semester). And believe it or not, we were never snowed out – in four years of commuting from Dayton to Indianapolis, even though there were weeks when we wished it would snow.

In the meantime I accepted a job as an ILL clerk at the Main library in Dayton. The hours were 9-1 five days a week. Perfect for a mom with kids in grade school! I took a pay cut for this job, but because I was now on staff, I could have my tuition reimbursed. After a year or so in the ILL position I applied for a part-time professional position in the Magazine Room of the Dayton - Montgomery County Public Library and was hired. This position also had great hours for a mom with kids in school. I worked 9-12 most week days, and 12-9 on Thursday, with a full day every other Saturday. Sundays were voluntary at the time. I can’t said things always went perfectly on the home front with childcare and all, but mostly it worked out well, much better that some of the awful jobs I’d had just to bring in some money (mostly to pay the babysitter it turned out).

I graduated from IU in 1994 and have worked as a Reference Librarian ever since. I worked as a corporate librarian for Mead Corporation via Dayton - Montgomery County Public Library, and Compaq Computer Co. in Houston, TX and as a Reference Librarian for the Harris County Public Library in Houston since 2001. I started with HCPL as a Young Adult Librarian for the Cypress Creek Library and moved to Adult Reference when the new building opened in 2003 under the name: The Barbara Bush Branch Library at Cypress Creek.

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