My Library Career

When I talk to people about my career as a librarian, a surprising number say “I always wanted to be a librarian.” I’m not sure they have a realistic concept of what a librarian does.

It’s helpful to love books. It’s good to have a passion for helping people and uniting them with books and information.

Most likely, they would find library work similar to other jobs, except you do your work in a library setting. I worked in libraries for 30 years. My first teen job was shelving books which gets rather tedious over time.

After getting my master’s degree in library science, I became a children’s librarian. Getting children excited about books kept me enthused about going to work each day.

Virginia Martin with the storytime kids at the Chardon Library back in the 1970s. Ohio

Later as a reference librarian, then a department head and finally a library director, my job changed. In the final years, I spent more time preparing budgets, dealing with staffing issues, writing grant applications and other managerial chores. That meant less time actually spent with people or books which is what first attracted me to library service.

Virginia Martin Lord during my 15 years at the Baltimore County Public Library.

Shut up in my ivory tower (otherwise known as the Director’s Office), I slaved away at my desk. It was isolating. Still, I loved that my work made a difference in people’s lives through services the library provided. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to be a librarian.

The Weslaco Public Library in South Texas.