I never really thought about being a librarian. My experience with libraries has been typical; public library visits as a child, no school library, a bit intimidated but increasingly fond of my University library. When I completed my undergraduate degree in Philosophy I realised it wouldn't be feasible to embark as a career as a philosopher. You don't see many "Philosopher Wanted" ads in the newspaper, and when I graduated two years ago you didn't see many job ads full stop. So, I worked in retail (which I actually love) and hunted for an internship, as is the well-trodden path of the millennial.
A year later I was looking for postgraduate opportunities, I wanted to make a definitive choice as to my direction in life. In a bit of a whirlwind I applied for the Masters in Library and Information Studies in UCD and set about getting work experience sorted. I began the course in September 2014 and I will be graduating this Autumn.
The past year has been, well, busy! It has been exciting, difficult, hectic and ultimately rewarding. I have learned so much, about libraries, information systems, people, collaboration, digital literacy, organisation, management, books, preservation, curation, policy, financial structures, history, advocacy, cultural heritage, academia...The list is endless. There has never been a time when I thought to myself "I don't want to do this, I don't want to be a librarian", and I think that's brilliant. Librarianship is so diverse, and now at the precipice of embarking upon my career I would be equally excited to pursue a number of paths.
When I tell people what I'm studying I receive the usual reactions; surprise that librarianship is a professional qualification, surprise at the continued existence of libraries and occasional jealousy "Oooh I'd love to get paid to read books all day!". My favourite reaction has been from friends who say that I'll be "The Keeper of Knowledge". This is to me a more accurate description of librarianship, but I may be biased. However, I think it taps into why I chose this path. Librarianship has always been about more than just books (although I don't think anyone goes into this job who does not find utter joy in reading, but sometimes I go whole minutes without thinking about books!).
A library is a wonderful place in which someone has collected lots of information that they think other people would want or need to know. Simplistic but true. And I want to be a part of that. Collection development, organisation, digital preservation, curation, outreach, all of it. Yet at the heart of it, the real reason I chose to become a librarian is a desire to share knowledge with people, whether that knowledge is of astrophysics, art, philosophy, the day's news or a really good story. As a Keeper of Knowledge I want to fling the gates wide open and invite people in.