Farewell LPL, Part 1

Well, my last day as a Reference Librarian at the Lawrence Public Library has come and passed, and I’m just a few short hours away from driving away from Lawrence. As I look forward to my new adventure as a library director, I want to take a couple of blog posts to reflect and reminisce on my experience at LPL.

Before I started library school and was offered a job at the library, I commuted to Lawrence from a small neighboring town and worked as a paraeducator at Lawrence High School. I used to drive by the library everyday on my way home from the high school and tell myself, “Some day I’m going to work there.” My supervisor laughed and thought I was being mendacious when I first told her this, but I wasn’t. I knew what I wanted, and by reminding myself of that goal everyday helped me take the first steps and apply for entrance into the School of Library and Information Science at Emporia State University. I had long before decided librarianship was the career field for me, instead of education, as I wanted to work in a place where people come because they want to learn, not because the government requires them to.

Getting that job, though, was much tougher than I had imagined. With two high schools and a university, the job market in Lawrence is very tough – it always helps to have connections. I didn’t. By the time I had gotten through my first semester of library school, I had applied to two different positions at LPL, and I heard very little to nothing in response. I also offered to volunteer my time, but even those opportunities are scarce. Figuring I’d have to start elsewhere, I applied and interviewed for a simple circulation desk clerk job at a small library in another town, and I was told I didn’t have enough experience. I almost gave up. But then I was assigned a reference observation report for one of my classes, and that’s when things started to fall into place.

I emailed the director of the Lawrence Public Library and asked if I could set up a time to observe at their reference desk. He referred me to the Adult Services Coordinator, Lynn Koenig, who was happy to let me come in and watch for a bit. When I did, she just happened to be covering the desk. She was very friendly and expressed interest in my school work, as she too graduated from Emporia. We chatted for a while, I watched her interact with a couple of patrons, and I left with enough information to write my paper. When I visited the library’s website to get a little bit more information, I noticed that there an opening in Lynn’s department. I promptly wrote her an email thanking her for allowing me to do the observation, and I mentioned that I would be submitting an application…

To be continued…

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