By the time I was 11 years old; I knew that I wanted to be a librarian. I'm sure part of the reason is that I absolutely loved to read (and still do). Also, my Grandma was a Children's Librarian and had books at her house that had been withdrawn from her library. I remember playing library from a fairly young age. Since the books still had pockets, all I had to do was create book cards and due date slips. She also always had children’s books to read. I distinctly remember The Five Chinese Brothers, The Story About Ping, and Millions of Cats. I also sometimes got to go to Story Hour at "her" library. I cannot express how cool it was for my own grandma to be the one doing story time! While I was in high school, my mom decided to stop taking grad classes in education and switch to Library Science. She finished her MLS degree in 1991. I always said she only finished first because she had already had her Bachelor's degree. So I come from a family that has had 3 generations of librarians.
I helped in my school library when I was in 6th grade and I took a semester of Library in high school. At age 14, the minimum age to work at our local library; I applied for a job as a Page and got it. I was thrilled. I worked ten hours a week and started at $2.67 an hour. I worked there all through high school and then got a job as a Circulation Clerk at a different library. Eight months later the same position opened up at my own, local library and I took that job. I worked there for three years until my job was cut from the budget (due to short-sighted City officials). I started college the fall after graduating high school and the clerk positions were perfect part-time jobs. Each one was 20 hours per week.
My next job was in the Medical Library at a fairly large hospital in my area. My job title was Library Assistant, but basically I ran copies of medical journal articles that doctors had requested. I also assisted at the desk and with searches if needed. It was during this job that I finished my Bachelor's degree and started grad school in Library and Information Science. I graduated from Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) in December 1994 and had a second part-time job as a substitute Librarian in a public library by the end of January 1995. I began my job hunt for a full-time professional position and went on several interviews locally. Michigan has two library schools and the competition can be tough. I ended up applying to libraries in adjacent states and in August 1995, I began my first full-time, professional position at a mid-sized public library in Northern Indiana. I'm still here over 14 years later.
I tend to joke that I was brainwashed as a child by playing library and seeing my grandma be a librarian. I distinctly remember wanting to be a librarian when I grew up. I was a little taken aback by the grad degree requirement, but got over it. I never changed my mind all the time I was an undergrad. I always knew that my next step was Library school. I even majored in Psychology, figuring it might come in handy if I worked in public library. :)
I think that by working my way up through various library jobs, it has given me a better understanding of how libraries work and how to work in one. By the time I was job hunting when in my mid-20's for my first professional position, my resume showed that I had over 11 years of library experience! I do think that having this experience made it easier for me to find employment. Almost 30 years after deciding on a career as a librarian, I'm very happy with my choice. The job has changed and I've had to change with it, but I still enjoy it. I am a Reference Librarian who likes helping people find answers and I like the fact that I learn something new every day. Sometimes when the umpteenth person asks where the bathroom is or I have to tell one more person to please be considerate and shut off their cell phone, I get annoyed. I’ve been close to burn-out a few times and may be heading that direction again. However, I still can't imagine being in another career. I am a Librarian and I suspect I always will be. I just hope I can keep up with the changes still headed my way.