Out of the Public Library and into the School: Hey. I have a new job.

I somehow got it into my head that I’d never leave the public library system, that I’d be working for my current system until I retired. Through all the budget cuts and layoff scares, I fought so hard to keep my job. I spent every waking minute advocating for the library and desperately clinging onto this position. I was so busy and stressed and worried about losing my job and becoming unemployed that I never stopped to consider what I wanted for my own life. Now that my job is more secure than it’s been since I started over six years ago, I’m leaving.

It’s just time.

I was lucky to find a job in NYC. Recently, I’ve been wondering if I could afford to stay in one of the country’s most expensive cities. Though my family has been living in four out of the five boroughs (and surrounding areas; most of them are in Long Island now) for over 100 years, I feel like I don’t belong here anymore. It’s so hard to financially survive. My partner and I have been living paycheck to paycheck since forever. While this situation is not uncommon for your typical NYC resident, it has become exhausting and clearly unsustainable. I knew that I either a) had to make a big career change or b) leave NYC. Since most of my family lives in New York, I am glad I can stay. Seeing my father on a regular basis is very important to me.

As for my new job, I’m making what feels like a massive transition from the world of urban, public libraries to an urban, independent school library.

I’ve settled into a role as the resident know-it-all here, but soon, I’ll have to come to terms with a new environment, library mission, and set of coworkers. I imagine my first year will consist of observing and asking questions, rather than innovating and creating. Experienced public librarian, no longer. I am ready for n00b-dom. I am equal parts excited and terrified.

This blog will definitely still exist, though its tone and mission may shift a little or a lot.

I have less than a month left here in the Central Youth Wing. I’ll have three days off and then I’ll go straight into my new position. It’ll probably prove to be exhausting and overwhelming, but I’m ready.

Wish me luck.

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

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30 thoughts on “Out of the Public Library and into the School: Hey. I have a new job.

  1. Ray, Rebekah

    Dear Ingrid,
    Congratulations and all the best. I made the same transition about thirty years ago. I had a three year old and no reliable parenting partner, so you can imagine the public library schedule was a killer.

    Though the world has changed a lot, the one thing I would say is the first year of being a librarian teacher is about learning names and experiencing the rhythm. I took the whole teacher certification thing AFTER being a library teacher with an MLS for fifteen years, in my late fifties, during the recession when there were no jobs (long story). Since most independent schools did not require a teacher cert it had not been an issue before. I just thought I could do some good in a public school, which did require it. The experience of doing the Ed cert and student teaching where I did (Short story: it was the cheap option, and I had to take a loan to do it) was very demoralizing. The bottom line is: don’t let anybody tell you that having a lesson plan that PROVES you have achieved some kind of limited goal is more important than sharing the love of books and literacy…Sharing how things are organized can be fun if you care about the content. I hope you will find teachers who love teaching and will be glad to talk with you after school about how you can collaborate . I know I don’t need to say to YOU that sharing the fun and joy is the most important part.

    Stay awesome.

    Rebekah Ray
    Library Manager, Adult/Teen Librarian

  2. tmcameranesi

    I wish you Big Glittery Luck! I’ve enjoyed your blog emanating from the public library system, and expect to love it emanating from a school library starting in the Fall. Suerte!

  3. Congratulations, Ingrid. A recent job-changer myself, I relate so hard to not stopping to consider what you want for your own life until you come to the realization that “it’s time.” And you’re so right, it’s exciting AND terrifying. I’m so happy for you!

  4. Monica

    Awesome! I love hearing about great new school librarians and I know you’ll be one of them. Shake up those kids’ ideas about the library, education, and librarians. Shake up the faculty’s ideas about these things as well. It’ll be scary and exciting, but I bet you’ll handle it.

  5. I’m so excited for you, Ingrid! Even though it is extremely scary to leave your comfort zone and a job you’ve carved out for yourself and become hot stuff at. But it’s good to know when it’s time to move on. You are going to do great, and your attitude of knowing you will be a “n00b” and will need to ask questions proves that you’re already poised for greatness in your new role. I wish you all of the luck dragons!!

  6. lochwouters

    You will be amazing! Nothing is better than having great skills and passion in one arena – and then putting on the brakes and stepping into a totally new environment. It forges you, grows your wisdom and might and really opens your eyes to your power to do good for libraries and kids.

  7. Michelle Nogales

    If there had been such a thing as a full-time school librarian in the San Francisco Bay Area when I was in library school, that’s the direction I would have taken. There wasn’t, so I’m a public librarian, and it turns out I love it with all my heart. But I will be very interested to hear your perspective on the differences! Much luck to you, and I will continue reading avidly.

  8. Good luck! Moving from public to schools has brought me equal parts of relief, pleasure, frustration and it’s own unique brand of stress. Judging from your tweets you’re strong enough to work it and I bet you’re going to be fabulous. I totally relied on networking to get me through my first year and continue to do so. Best wishes for your new start, Kim (School Librarian for only 1 1/2 years).

  9. Longtime lurker – congratulations! I made the switch from urban public children’s librarian to school. There are days where I long for the flexibility of programming and outreach, but there is real joy in developing relationships with a group of students and watching them grow year after year. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

    1. Hi longtime lurker! Thanks so much for your well-wishes.
      I’m sure I will miss lots about the public library system (think: toddler time), but I am also excited. Glad to hear you’re doing well in the transition from public library to school!

  10. Pingback: Authors Talk About the Teen Transgender Experience | SummerTeen 2015 | School Library Journal

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