by Duncan R. McCoy, Director
Boulder City Library
Working In Libraries
As my retirement day gets closer, in between a pile of “wrap-up” jobs to get ready for the arrival of our new Director (Lynn Schofield-Dahl) on April 7th, I’ve been thinking about how much fun I’ve had working in libraries.
Boulder City Magazine®
| A career in libraries was not something which had occurred to me as I was growing up, nor (I think) is it the career aspiration of most librarians when they are young. Most of us just sort of “fall into it.” In my case, I started working at the UNLV library the fall I started as a freshman in 1970. I was just out of the Navy, needed a job to supplement my VA benefits, and my girlfriend (now my wife) said the library had some openings. So I applied, found I liked working there, and eventually decided on a library career.
Most libraries have what is called “professional” staff (those with a master’s degree in Library Science) and “classified or paraprofessional” staff (those without the MLS degree). Whether or not an MLS degree makes one a better librarian has been a matter of debate for the last 75 years or so within the library community. However, if you want career mobility in library work, getting an MLS is pretty much a requirement. I got mine at Indiana University in 1976 and proceeded to work in libraries in Indiana, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and (finally) Boulder City.
Why work in libraries? Mainly because it’s a lot of fun and socially useful. Most people genuinely appreciate having a quality library in their community, most of the library patrons are really happy to be here, and most of the interactions at the library are pleasant and productive. For the librarians, over time, we get to make friends with our regular customers, meet a lot of new people, and enjoy new experiences all the time no two days are ever the same, so it is impossible to get bored. It’s also just about the steadiest employment I know of I’ve not been out of work a day in 32 years! Librarians get to learn about how to select and organize materials and information, how to manage public finances, how to keep an organization running, how to work with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations, and how to make their library continually grow as an appreciating asset for their community.
You can find out more by visiting our web site at www.bclibrary.org
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