Going back to school while working full time and raising a child later in life is a challenge; it is also a fabulous opportunity.
If someone would have told me when I was in my early twenties, graduating from a Business program, that I would take distance education classes in my forties for Library Technician Studies … I would have looked at them as though they had three heads. It simply was not a direction I planned on going then, and as a young person, I thought I had my life journey all planned out.
Life does throw some interesting curve balls, and when I applied to work at our municipal library and was hired full time, I was grateful to simply have a job. There were few opportunities open in my field, and I thought it would be temporary until I found something else.
Nearly 18 years later, I am still working at the Municipal library, and have worn many hats over the years. I’ve worked in circulation, the children’s department (we call it YAC – young adult and children’s services). I did children’s programs, and story time and loved it. One day I was asked to help a class with their science projects. Intrigued by the research, I realized I wanted more. I took library courses through SOLS, Southern Library Service which were being offered. They would send my coursework in big brown envelopes, and an instructor telephoned me once a week. This was how distance education was then. After receiving my certificate, I applied and was hired into the Information Services Department. There I saw the introduction of the public internet stations, our library catalogue was now online, (no more DOS!!) and then the changes to come were fast and furious.
Our CEO at that time was a teacher librarian, and he approached me about getting my MLS. I was raising a young child alone, that wasn’t an option for me. He suggested I start with a library technician program, and go from there. I found Mohawk’s online courses, and was delighted. It took me five years to complete the courses, due to affordability for me. However, through these courses I was able to communicate with students like myself, learn fresh insights, and apply my new computer skills in the workplace. I also fell in love with something I had never considered: cataloguing!
It was, despite my occasional disagreements with Dewey, something I truly enjoyed doing. It must have been meant to be, because just as I graduated from Mohawk, our lead cataloguer announced her retirement. Some days I miss Information Services; the research, especially the genealogy, but I love my job. I take a lot of pride in it, as we do not receive our books pre-catalogued, we do it. It is a stub record, and the rest is our work. It is different every day and never boring. I am still learning, in September, I’m going to learn Resource Description and Access (RDA)…the adventure continues!
– Julie McCann
Library & Information Technician, ’13