When I defended my dissertation 15 years ago I was pretty sure I was done with all things academic. I spent the next decade working in bookstores, finding real joy in being able to get right down to working hard and then leaving it all at the shop when my day ended. However, macroeconomic change (as in, the Great Recession) pushed me out of retail as bookstores began closing all around me. I wound up at the public library and discovered the career I should have embarked upon in the first place over a decade ago. I love working with the public, and love it even more in the library, where I can not only share the book knowledge I have, but also help people with computers, unemployment forms and resumes.
My love of the library must be fairly obvious since my coworkers at the Pima County Public Library have from the first been telling me that I should go back to school, get an MLS, and make myself a Librarian with a capital “L” (I’m a library associate right now). One coworker kept telling me about the Knowledge River program here at the U of A, and how I should apply for it, seeing as I have a background in Latin American history and studies. One night after getting home from work I embarked on a short internet missive about how different work in a public library is from what I’d thought beforehand. After reading it, my friend convinced me it was an excellent start for an application essay to school. So, after some re-writing, I submitted it thinking this was all little more than just a whim and that it was a good thing I already had a job I liked.
And then I get an email from Gina Macaluso telling me I’ve been accepted as a KR scholar, and I’m back in school!
At first it was rather odd becoming a student once again. I literally felt as if synapses in my brain which had not received electricity in years were suddenly, and somewhat reluctantly, firing once again. However, the Knowledge River orientation program held at the beginning of the semester was a wonderful and pleasant introduction to a big happy family of like-minded scholars. It’s been a real joy to read the work of historians, anthropologists and sociologists once again, and even more so to write about such thinkers and their ideas. I’m still working for PCPL part-time while in school, and I still love my job. But I love school again too....