Archive for the ‘librarian – university’ Category

The New York Times wrote an article about the new generation of Librarians – young hip and technology savvy.

What is lacking in the library field still is librarians with SCIENCE degrees!! Too many science libraries at universities are staffed by librarians with liberal arts degrees (not that this is a bad thing if the librarians are willing to learn science on the job – which many do wonderfully well) but it is an opportunity missed for many science bachelors looking for another career.

Some library schools even have one year programs for getting your library degree (a professional Masters usually).

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My story is not atypical. I studied chemistry – did my Bachelors, then went on to do a Masters since everyone else in my class was doing grad school. I was not an A student – but I was a pretty good cook (essential skill for chemistry). But the science did not grab me in grad school and my prof could not inspire me either.

I fell in love with a chemist not chemistry….and my (then) husband (a PhD chemist) got a job so I followed only to find out that the company he worked for had a hiring freeze! The first year I stayed home and “worked on my thesis”. Then the call came – not to work in a lab but to work in the library doing literature searches – note this was back in 1983 when all searches online were mediated since CAS was $60/hour! And we were still using hard paper terminals!!

So I took the job and found I enjoyed it. I got to use my Chemistry knowledge and got lots of praise for the work I did. I began to take on other roles in the library and developed my computer skills. At the end of 12 years, I was running the joint!

Then came reorganization… and I lost my job…so I decided to go back to school and get the paper qualifications for the work I had been doing. The year completing my MLIS gave me a freedom I enjoyed and I knew my next job would in a university setting. Six months after graduating, I started my current job – chemistry librarian at the same school/same dept I got my M.Sc.!

Now this blog is to help others find their own paths to a job they love – it is going to have various contributors so if you have a story to tell of your own unusual career route or want to tell us about the cool job you do have – let me know. To be a contributor you need an wordpress account or send me an e-mail. Any cool links to other blogs or career web pages are also appreciated.

Patricia Meindl
U of Toronto

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