Background

A Librarian who juggles. Who knew?

Proof of my ability to multitask.

In December of 2006, I graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. My intent was to follow up by earning my Master’s in Teaching. At that time, I had already been working for two years in the Beaverton School District in Beaverton, Oregon as an instructional assistant (known elsewhere as a paraeducator). I have now been working there for eight years. I have had the chance to mold the literacy skills of students from ages 5 – 18. I have tutored second graders in math and science and acted as a mentor and advisor to graduating seniors. I have been a friend and teacher to many, and a disciplinarian to some. Working as an educator has made me flexible, able to tailor instruction to many different learners, and able to communicate and work with a wide range of people of all ages. It has also given me an appreciation for the ability to learn over the course of an entire lifetime.

I made the decision to become a librarian because even though I love education, I know there are things I can do to help people become lifelong learners outside the classroom as well. Librarians are not just educators. One of the librarians I worked with at Linfield College told me that one of her mentors claimed there was no greater joy for a reference librarian than to watch a patron, as you’re helping them, suddenly “get it,” and become able to find what they need on their own. It’s like teaching a kid how to ride a bike: you hold the handlebars, guiding them along. Sometimes they fall down, but they learn little by little. And then suddenly a little switch inside them clicks on, and they jet away from you on their own power. To know that you helped them reach that point is a fantastic feeling. It’s why I initially wanted to become a teacher, and it’s also why I decided to become a librarian. I want to help people find the directions in life that fulfill them through education and information services.

My coursework and experience have prepared me to pursue a career in user services at an academic or public library. I have focused my studies on reference work, instruction, needs analysis, and customization of collections and services. I hope to use that career as a platform from which to expose members of whichever community I serve to the wide range of forms that knowledge can take, and to inspire them to use that knowledge to the betterment of themselves and their community.

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