Young Adults, Librarianship, and Career Awareness
I’ve been thinking lately about what librarians can do for teens and young adults to raise awareness of their profession as—well, if not a viable career for everyone, at least a fulfilling option that does in fact involve work beyond checking out books and has an entry in the OOH and everything.
For now, I’d love to get some more brains to sound off on the issue (as it seems to me) of under-representation/limited awareness: Is it a problem? Does it need to be fixed? Is it just me? Society’s notions of how to go about career planning in general? When did you first become aware of librarianship as a career? Have you had similar experiences?
I worked in libraries on and off through high school and college, but settled first on journalism (until a soul-sucking internship senior year of HS) and then on academia (until I started to question how rigid and demanding that career might be). It was when I went to Africa after college graduation and found myself working in libraries there, without electricity and with bats, that I finally got to thinking that this was enjoyable, meaningful work I might consider.
That said, while it may be that young people don’t know about librarianship as a career, I am routinely floored by the affection people feel right out of the gate toward the field when I tell them I’m a librarian. I’m not sure they think it’s important or prestigious work, or if they even have up-to-date library cards of their own, but for whatever reason, I find a lot of people get excited about the field in a way they don’t when someone says she’s a teacher or a professor or a doctor. Any similar experiences for y’all?