Sunday, July 1, 2012
A Fork in the Road: A Career Path is Not a Straight Line
It was quite interesting when a few weeks ago I was asked to chair a panel at the New England Archivists Autumn meeting on alternate career paths for archivists. I've accepted the role for the conference, but I'm not sure if it will come to full fruition...in any case, at the time I was asked, I had just accepted a job as a high school information specialist / librarian. Strange roll for an archivist / former public librarian? Indeed, NOT!
With a strong focus on archives helping to build communities, this new position gives me a unique opportunity to help build a sense of place from the inside out. I plan to make the library a community oriented space that reaches out to the rest of our town and shows the value of strong cultural institutions and libraries to boost culture and education. One of my goals in this library is to build a high school archives from scratch and to explain the difference between primary and secondary sources and show how each can help boost our identity while supporting our knowledge of the world around us.
Throughout my career, I have been working hard to show the value of librarians, archivists, and museum professionals working together to promote the work that we do. I think that I am now in a unique position to tie the work of cultural heritage and information professionals to education. Sharing my work with teachers will help them use information sources to better support their curricula. Learning about their needs will better help me teach the value of libraries, archives and museums. I look forward to sharing a love for learning and information with young adults. While I plan to continue consulting, writing, and public speaking in my spare time, I look forward to truly being part of building community identity from the inside out; instead of continually boosting community as a consultant from the outside in. After 12 years as a full-time consultant, I look forward to being part of a community and helping to build it, rather than giving some direction and leaving others behind to follow through (or not.)
I am lucky to have a unique opportunity to re-design the role of the library while building upon what are already very strong traditional library services in this high school setting. With this new path for me is coming new library carpeting. I've spent the past week organizing a method for boxing 18,000 books so that new carpeting can be installed in our beautiful space. All the books have been moved. Those consulting / space planning skills have already come in handy! In fact, I am taking pictures of the moving and installation process and these will be the first addition / collection in our school archives.
I look forward to continuing to share my adventures in cultural heritage with you and hope to have some new ideas to add to the dialogue on the ArchivesInfo blog. Stay tuned for blog posts about my new exhibit on Mind Mapping to build communities, Steampunk in the Archives World, using avatars to make connections to kids, using social media for education, and much, much more!