Friday, December 19, 2008

A 20-year path finding its end

This all began back in August of 1988. Just moved in to the dorms at University of Florida. Went to Anderson Hall, back in that day it was where the student employment office was. Filed an application, spotted an opening for a job with the university library, and signed up.
The job was part-time, working with printing labels and adhering them to book spines. Stripping them with security tags. Processing them for the shelves at all the branches at the school (lemme tell ya, the Maps collection was literally back-breaking! And we had to walk those over to Marston Science ow ow ow). In 1988 it was with the cataloging dept., crammed into a small corner of the first floor of Library West. By 1989 they had relocated to roomier space on the third floor of Library East, where cataloging resides today.
All four years of going to UF, I never went to another job. I liked it. I LOVED working with the books. And I'd like to think I did a good job (for all UF students, check all books with spine label dates between 1988 to 1992. Odds are, those labels? I printed 'em :pride:). And the thing was, it got to where that was the real reason I was going to college. My Journalism degree? Well, I was having problems with that (when you have to take the required course, Reporting, twice just to get the bare grade minimum, you need to reconsider. I still think I'd have been happier switching to poli sci, but I digress). I was more interested clocking in to do my job printing labels than going to classes.
So when I squeaked out a Bachelor's in Journalism, with no viable job offers out there (1992 was a poor year for jobs), I sped back to graduate level at University of South Florida for a Master's in Library and Info Sciences. Graduated with high marks by December 1993. Got a part-time Library Adjunct job with St. Pete (Junior back then) College in Clearwater. Got a full-time Librarian job at Broward County (North Regional) in 1994, and worked as a full-time librarian ever since. From Broward back to UF then down to Pasco County. Got published in a few library journals here and there. Enjoyed my work. Loved helping people find things on the shelves, on the computers, and thought I was good at it. I hope I was good at it. Spent 14 years of my life as a librarian.
This week I lost my job with Pasco County Libraries. And this was that, and that was it.
Right now is a bad job market across the board. Libraries are hurting from massive budget cuts. The Florida Library Jobs website has gone from 5-6 pages of openings to just one page. The latest jobs are all in South Florida, where the cost of living is too ridiculous for anyone looking at a $32,000 minimum annual (librarians work cheap, sad to say). Still, I'm sending out resumes left and right. Looking and hoping and praying. But I might not find a job as a librarian. I might have to look elsewhere.
And in some respects, maybe I do. Part of me feels tired, empty. Part of me feels kinda grateful I got kicked out, feeling like it can shake this damn lethargy. But still, I *liked* helping people. I *liked* finding them information, I *liked* the occasional puzzle, a challenge, stuff like that.
I will come about to post a "Best Of" books I've read this past year, but past that? Maybe about stuff I'm writing. I'm still trying that. Maybe other things. Depends on what tomorrow brings.

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