It’s crazy what a difference a year makes. I received my first dose of the Covid vaccine one year to the day that I was laid off from my position at Scholar Athletes due to the pandemic. While working at Scholar Athletes allowed me to achieve a goal I had since undergrad, the layoff allowed me to start on a path to achieving a new goal of a career in librarianship.
A year ago, I had no idea what I was going to do. Since I had already started library school, I knew that I wanted my next position to be library related. I could not foresee that I would be working three part-time jobs and going to school full time. Almost six months after I was laid off, I began working as the Program Director of the Literacy Volunteers of Kent County. LVKC is an adult literacy non-profit that is housed in the Coventry Public Library (RI). I also started working on an Institute of Library and Museum Services grant under the direction of my advisor, Simmons University Assistant Professor Dr. Rebecca Davis. This grant supports research into the experience and use of academic libraries by African American undergraduate students. Lastly, I started working as a Reference Librarian at the Coventry Public Library.
I value these experiences for the different areas of librarianship that I’m exposed to. Working at LVKC helps me expand and develop my non-profit leadership experience and continue to support underserved communities through education. In supporting the IMLS grant, I’m exposed to academic librarianship and research that will hopefully make a difference for African American students. As a Reference Librarian, I’m getting the hands-on experience that I need since I had never worked in a library before going to library school. I enjoy the challenge of responding to the different reference requests I get. I’m service oriented, so I like that feeling of helping someone find something or figure something out.
The week of this one year anniversary also happened to fall during National Library Workers week. I started the week off by creating my first display at the Reference Desk. Although it wasn’t successful in terms of books being checked out, it served as an important lesson. I used that experience to create another display and a book was checked out within hours of the display going up!
I intentionally wore my ‘blessed’ shirt to get my first shot because this year has been a blessing. It’s given me a different perspective and outlook on life. I’m grateful for all of the experiences of the past year because I know that they’re guiding me on the path that I’m supposed to be on. Right before her passing, Cicely Tyson spoke at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting promoting her memoir Just as I Am. She said, “What’s for you, is for you.” Those words have resonated with me. While I miss the security of having a full-time job with benefits, I understand that these positions are for me in this season of my life. They’re helping me and preparing me for what’s ahead. In anticipation for what’s next, I’m taking advantage of everything in this season.