Why I Became a Librarian: Lindsay Hall
Libraries are radical places. If someone, say a politician, were to propose that society invest its money in creating organizations where people could access information in books, the internet, newspapers, they would be met with questioning looks. Or a place where people can go to meet together or work independently.
Or a place where people can get support on how to vote in an election, find a book, or research their family history. Doing all that with no cost at the door? Fantastical. Libraries are one of the best contributions a community makes to itself, an investment in a well-informed society. That is simply what makes libraries unique. I saw this first hand as a young reader and library patron, and it rings true now as a librarian. However, I’ve also seen firsthand that my personal experiences are rare and that it takes clear purpose to craft an experience for students. As a school librarian I get to be a part of that work for the next generation of avid library supporters.
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I knew that the work of librarians is worthwhile from personal experience. As a child I knew libraries were my own place for exploration. Nothing was off-limits. It seemed the whole world at my fingertips. My early library experiences taught me that reading was valuable. It taught me that being a dedicated reader was to be celebrated. It was the library that brought the bookfair, one of the biggest blowout events of the elementary school experience. From the experience exploring the shelves, to working on school projects, to my brief stint as teen volunteer I understood the library as a place where a variety of personal, creative, and community spaces were possible. I wanted to be a part of that for others.
School librarianship offered a prime opportunity to reach students before they had set ideas about who libraries are intended to serve and how they are “supposed” to work. Each day, with each group of students I am called to to define my role in a way that meets the needs of all. With students I can see the hurdles, large and small, that they face to define themselves for themselves. As their librarian I make it my mission to demonstrate the power they already have and how the information available to them empowers them to meet their goals. That their stories and the stories they encounter has the power to shape the world. Most of us know that equitable access to information is a social justice mission and providing them with these perspectives prepares them for a complex world. I became a librarian because libraries provide a visionary good in times of limited vision. I am a school librarian because I know that advocating for informed students makes the world a better place for all of us.
Thanks for reading!
Dunbar High School