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One Year Later

Thursday was the one year anniversary of starting my first professional librarian job. I'd worked plenty of library jobs before, but this was my first full-time gig with real professional responsibilities. I was looking forward to finally having collection development responsibilities and maybe doing some programming. After working in various libraries all through college and grad school and being a book lover since birth, I was ecstatic. My dream was finally coming true.

In reality, dreams are never perfect, and while I still think I am incredibly lucky to have found a career that I can see myself being happy in for a long, long time, things have definitely not been perfect.

Exactly four weeks after beginning what I hoped would be my dream job (or at least the beginning of a dream career), I, along with the rest of my co-workers was forced to leave the library building at 5PM due to the city's mandatory evacuation of downtown in anticipation of the rapidly rising flood waters of the Cedar River.

A year later, we've bounced back tremendously, but things will never be the same and it will still be years until we are back to a similar collection size in a building with similar amenities to what we had before the flood. Since they match up so closely, it's hard to separate my first year on the job from the library's flood story, but I think it will do me some good to focus on my job as my part of my professional development rather than in the light of natural disaster.

Here are the highlights from my year:

  • Despite all my previous library experience and recent graduation from library school, I spent my first few weeks on the job with a feeling that seems pretty common among new librarians. I felt lost. Although I knew what kind of stuff I was supposed to be doing, I still didn't know what actual every day duties that stuff translated into. Eventually I was able to pull a few co-workers aside to clue me into what projects were up for grabs and to teach me some of the things I needed to learn in order to perform my job. While it initially seemed like my dream job had turned into a nightmare, slowly but surely, I started finding things to keep me busy, and now I generally wish there were more hours in the work day, so I could finally finish something.
  • Cataloging is fun, even if you didn't take that class in library school. I should have known that my borderline OCD penchant for organization would win out in this regard.
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