I arrived at librarianship in my thirties after working as a newspaper reporter and editor for nearly a decade. My evolution from journalist to librarian began with a conversation I had while serving in the Peace Corps in 2002 in Far East Russia. My fellow volunteer, Jenny Kinniff, and I were sorting markers and other materials left over from a camp we had helped host for eighth-grade girls. "Wow," she said. "We're so organized. We should be librarians!"
Fast forward: I had returned to the States and moved to the Denver area. Unable to find a job in a new field fast enough, I had returned to journalism and was working as an assistant city editor at a big newspaper. The stress and long hours of newspaper work were burning me out, and my thoughts turned toward a career change. At some point I recalled my conversation with Jenny--and this time I took it more seriously. I began researching library school programs and volunteering at the Bailey Library & Archives at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
By summer 2004, I had enrolled in the library program at the University of Missouri. I moved to Missouri for the first year of the program (my husband's job allowed him to telecommute), and while there worked at MU's Ellis Library on the reference desk and teaching undergrads library skills and in the newspaper library at MU's famed journalism school working on a local-guide Web site for students (my old career still opened doors). I completed the degree online after we moved back to Denver in 2005. I returned to the Nature & Science Museum to do my practicum, an experience that honed my newly-acquired skills in XHTML and even gave me some experience with archives. While still at work on my degree, I landed a job at Boulder Public Library as the business reference assistant (again, my old career helped; I worked five years at the Wall Street Journal as an editor and reporter, so I have some knowledge of business and investing). In May of 2006, I graduated (and around the same time found out I was pregnant with twins!).
These days I still work 3/4 time at BPL. There's a lot of room for creativity here, and I love being a librarian. As a journalist, I felt my main job was to help and inform the public. But frankly the public didn't always appreciate our methods. As a librarian, there's no such barrier to understanding. The help I provide is direct and up front--a much better match for my personality!