Sunday, December 11, 2005

...of crying over a scholarship I will not win

NMRT wanted people who applied for the Shilrey Olofson Award (a $1000 stipend to the conference) to write a short essay why they should be considered for it. I know that I will not receive the award, because one of the qualifications is being an "active" participant in the library world with accomplishments, and I honestly cannot get any accomplishments until after I have been hired somewhere. But I thought, "Why not apply?" At least I will have vented my frustrations. Although I did not mention that it was simply ridiculous for an unemployed librarian to pay $135 for conference registration. I basically said to myself if this is what it takes, then this is what I have to do. Although spending that much money on any thing other than bills is totally incongrous to why I am on food stamps. The essay is below.

I thought becoming a librarian would be fun, a challenging way to put my love of books in conjunction with my love of helping people. I also thought that I was perfectly suited for the degree, as I love to learn and have excelled in most academic areas. I even moved and accepted a new job to be close to the library school I chose. And then I graduated and disaster struck.

My last semester I had one person tell me that my "fantastic" job should be enough for me and maybe I was not cut out to be a librarian. And I actually started to believe her, started to feel down about myself and who I was as a person. But I persevered. I truly believe that I did not waste $20,000 to give up at a point when I should be cheering. The "fantastic" job would be enough to tide me over until I found a position (more than I would make as a librarian in fact).

Then I got laid off. Newspapers are cutting back and I soon found out that libraries had been doing the same thing. In fact, a week after I graduated, I read a story in the Library Journal about how there were no positions for new librarians, and that all of the experienced librarians had taken them. This being contrary to what I had been told not two years before, with all of the older librarians retiring and making room for a new wave. But I knew everything would be okay. I would be able to find that position in no time and prove everything was good.

Except it has not been. I cannot get hired as a librarian because I do not have enough experience and cannot get hired as a library technician because I have a degree. I have taken to deleting the degree from my resume, because being on food stamps is not where I want to be. And a job is a job.

I want to rummage through the gifts, and the stacks, and speak to children about Narnia and elderly couples about what book will tell them what kind of soil to have in their garden. I want to be in a library. And I do not want to give up. That is why I am literally spending my last dime for the midwinter conference so I can go to the placement center and make connections. This is in the hopes that I realize my dream so that I can help others realize theirs.

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