in which i officially become a librarian

We interrupt this travelogue to bring you an important announcement. I got my first librarian job!!

This is a part-time, temporary position in the children's department of the Central Library, where I was a page for 14 months. I am thrilled.

But wait, there's more!

I also interviewed in a competition for eight part-time positions, not librarians, but great experience doing reference and programming. I was one of the top scorers and was offered my choice of four of these positions, including two that are permanent.

So what does this mean? It means I can be a part-time librarian until March 2014, and if I don't have a full-time librarian position by that time, I have a permanent, part-time position doing reference and programming at the Central Library. I chose the "Reader's Den" department, for the opportunity to work with teens and do readers' advisory both youth and adults.

And here's what I didn't tell you. A few months ago, I interviewed for a permanent, full-time librarian job at one of Mississauga's branch libraries. It was my first librarian interview, and I bombed. Really crapped out. Then I had a combined 90 minutes of feedback with three different managers. I learned so much. I re-did my resume. I re-thought my entire approach.

I was still very disappointed. Permanent full-time librarian spots don't come up that often, and I had a chance, and I blew it. I've been totally beating myself up about it. But at my next opportunity, I landed the job.

You know what else I learned from that feedback? These managers, who are all young and in the midst of very successful librarian careers, all told me about positions they didn't get, interviews that they blew. One of them told me about repeatedly failing to get a senior librarian position, even though she was the acting senior librarian in the department, the incumbent in the position. She is one of the most successful young librarians in the system. Her candor made me feel much better.

As it happens, she was on the interview team for these eight reference/programming spots. I sensed she was impressed and happy to see me do well after her feedback.

So! I am a librarian! The new position starts June 3.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program, Laura and Allan Go To Spain.


Stephanie said...

Nice work! I wish I could raise a toast in that back room restaurant in Cuatro Caminos.

Have a splendid time in Madrid.

Lorne said...

That is very good news indeed. My wife and sister-in-law are retired librarians, and I, a lifelong patron and library enthusiast, know the crucial role they play in our society.

I am sure that this will lead to a permanent position for you in the near future. Best of luck in your new career fighting ignorance!

deang said...

Congratulations! And great to get such helpful feedback on that full-time interview.

West End Bob said...

Big CONGRATS, laura k!

Well deserved - Bet you enjoy the rest of your trip even more now . . . .

MSEH said...

Woo-hoo, congratulations, and all that! So glad for you! Now, back to enjoying your travels...

laura k said...

Thank you all so much. I actually got the good news 6 days ago in Barcelona, and have been bursting to tell you all! (I had to wait til everyone who applied for all those positions was notified.)

Lorne, well said, a career fighting ignorance. My former life as a writer was the same. "This machine kills fascists."

M@ said...

Just popping in to add to the congratulations flying around here... and to let you know I'm enjoying this vicarious trip through Europe and back to Spain!

impudent strumpet said...

Congratulations!!! That is so awesome - there's nothing in the world quite like the feeling where you got the job, and you have some time off before the job starts!

From the #LeastImportantThing files: you're talking about "librarian" jobs and jobs "doing reference" as though they're different things, if I'm understanding correctly. Does that mean the person at the reference desk isn't a librarian? If so, who are they and what qualifies them to be at the reference desk? (I know you're a librarian, but since it isn't a "librarian" job I'm assuming the reference person doesn't have to be.) And meanwhile what is the librarian doing? I always thought reference was the most librariany of the jobs in the library.

laura k said...

Imp, thank you so much! It's been very rare in my experience to get a break between jobs, so this is real luxury!

I'm so glad you asked #LeastImportantThing. I started to explain it in the post, but the post was getting overly long and unwieldy, so I deleted. Maybe I should also write a separate post about this after I'm back in Canada.

I was surprised to learn that most people you see working in libraries are not librarians. Librarians are expensive for the library (better pay plus benefits), so for most day-to-day tasks, various levels of positions known as "library assistants" (LAs) or "library technicians" (LTs) are employed. In Mississauga, for example, there are five levels of LAs between the pages who shelve books and tidy up, and librarians. Right now I'm at the circulation desk, an LA3. An LA4 might supervise pages, do programming (storytimes, eg), and staff the desk. Etc. etc.

Various levels of LAs or LTs are trained to do basic reference and programming, and that's what I meant by doing reference.

This is in the context of a public library. I think in academic libraries, librarians do more reference, but I'm not completely sure.

laura k said...

Librarians also do reference, and they take turns at the desk helping customers. But they are more often doing things behind the scenes - selecting materials, designing programming that others will implement, doing overall planning.

The LAs and LTs positions are good jobs in the sense that they're one of the few positions you can still get without a university degree that pay halfway decently (in Mississauga, in the $20/hr range). On the other hand, the uni degree and especially the MA degree bring you into an entirely different earning level, and the LAs and LTs are locked out of that.

If you have more q's about this (anyone), please ask! I'd like to post about it and your questions will help me.