This summer I’m taking a course at the School of Social Work that covers grant writing, marketing and fundraising. I find it fascinating to think about all the ways that Social Work and the Library world intersect. One thing that was mentioned in a class before break was that as people who work for the public, we can’t strike as we will hurt those who need us. This got me thinking about how critical the idea of advocacy is within the library community but also how difficult it is. As a librarian, my job is to help my patrons and for them to know that I’m there for any questions or recommendations, but public libraries are taken for granted in the United States. The role of libraries is in a state of flux and that is a difficult thing to get across because a library can be a variety of things for all of its patrons. Fundraising ends up giving good advice for how to connect, know who you’re appealing to and figure out what will be compelling for them. I think this is something that all librarians know how to do because its part of our day to day lives of helping patrons, but adding that next step of who needs to know what I do. This is something I keep thinking about as I put myself out into the world in the course of trying to find a job. I need to know who I am and how I fit into various libraries in the hope that I’ll get hired by one where I can enrich their community.
One of the main challenges for me of this course is that by the end of it we have to create a grant. I took this grant as a challenge to design a program that centers around storytelling as its one of my great loves. Today I turned in a draft of a few parts of this grant and I realized that my ideas are in this fascinating place where I know what I want to do, but I need to think forwards and backwards so they fit into the grant format.
I’m also preparing to apply for my first couple of jobs and its exciting to realize how much knowledge I’ve acquired and how many previous experiences led towards being a librarian. When I was in college, I worked for the Swarthmore College library one summer and enjoyed all the things going on around me. I’m also constantly volunteering at my local libraries as they’re truly my favorite places and after college, I had an internship at a museum library. When I did all of those, I wasn’t considering being a librarian, I simply wanted to be somewhere I enjoyed. Its just turned out that they all helped me to get to this place of preparing to step out into the world as a librarian.