Before ever dreaming of being a librarian, I was a journalist and editor. Over a dozen years I worked at a public radio station, a Latino bilingual weekly, and a micropolitan1 daily in Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River. I reported on topics ranging from government and education to the arts and basketball,2 edited articles, and designing daily editions. I also had the wonderful opportunity to work with, train, and model the latest technologies of my field. Examples include designing and coordinating our newspaper’s switch to digital pagination3 and developing our paper’s first website.
However, I was growing frustrated as a journalist. I was throwing information to the wind and hoping, but rarely knowing, if it germinated somewhere in the community. When a position opened at the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library in 2002, it felt like a calling4. The work at the library was so similar to journalism, but on an individual basis. In a local newspaper, an article on diabetes may go largely unnoticed. However, a patient fresh off a diagnosis from his doctor can come to the library and I would be able to offer him substantial help ranging from reliable medical information to cookbooks to help him live with diabetes creatively and in better health. In a library, I can use all my talents to work with people one-on-one and know immediately if I was fulfilling their needs.
Soon my director encouraged me to pursue my Master of Library Science degree and I enrolled at Indiana University in January 2005. For two years I commuted two-hours each way to Indianapolis for classes and finished in December 2006 with a 3.925 and the honor of carrying our school’s banner at commencement.
I worked at the public library for eight years. During that time I found a surprising opportunity to work with community college students. Madison had a branch of Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana’s statewide system. However, it lacked a dedicated full-time librarian so the students frequently visited our library for assistance. I truly enjoyed working with them. It was hard not to be energized when I was learning something new every day, both from the students and from their research.
When presented the opportunity to become a librarian here at Montgomery County Community College, I jumped. It combined my favorite aspects of librarianship – working with students on research and exploring the intersection of this research with technology. I have truly enjoyed being here and having the opportunity to use all my talents from two careers.
- This is a U.S. Census term for the commercial center (10,000 to 50,000 people) of a rural area. ↩
- Small-town basketball in Indiana has much in common with religion so one must do it right. Watch the based-on-a-true-story (and admittedly cheesy) film Hoosiers to understand why. ↩
- Digital pagination is the process of designing an entire newspaper on the computer using software such as Adobe InDesign. Prior to this switch each column of text and photos would be physically cut and pasted onto a large sheets of paper. ↩
- It was my wife who found the classified ad. Her reading the ad aloud for the first time was an eye opening experience. ↩
Top Image: Fun e-postcard from when my wife and I visited the National Constitution Center’s fascinating prohibition exhibit last winter. Yes, I’m suspect #3. I was booked for intense curiosity. I’m serving my time in the Brendlinger Library.