When I was an undergraduate student, I enjoyed my work at the library in tech services. I processed books, DVDs, musical scores, and other items. That meant that I made book labels, stuck in tattle-tape, stamped, QC'd, and sometimes cataloged them. The work was fine, and I went to graduate school with the goal of becoming a cataloger. I thought it would be something nice to do for a living - a quiet, simple job that would provide me with the free time to pursue all my interesting curiosities. I could live in a small town and manage a tidy home.
Really, though, library work was not my first dream. Before that, I looked into schools for creative writing, hematology, and other studies. I ended up at Gettysburg in the bio and Japanese departments wishing that I had majored in Art History or the Classics!
In graduate school, I stumbled upon this thing called Information Architecture. Creating order out of a collection of web content sounded like just the sort of thing I would enjoy. My technical side really gravitated toward that kind of work. It would involve such tasks as creating site maps, studying usability and user experience, defining controlled vocabularies, and creating usable labels for links and headers. I ended up specializing in an area of IA that was close to my cataloging roots, but I've found it to be a bit too tedious for me in full-time practice. I really desired the variety of IA in its broadest of manifestations.
The fact is that I still love processing information, but at a broader level. I love "learning" - which is the basic information processing activity, taking something and ordering it within the mind to create knowledge. But I also love helping others to learn... and that is something that I don't get to do.
I could never make a good reference librarian because I do not have a knowledge-base vast enough to prove useful.
I could never make a good teacher because I am afraid of kids and not a fan of large college classes.
That brings me to something that my supervisor at Gettysburg told me. He said that I would not make a good professor, but that I would make an excellent tutor or mentor.
Are there any careers out there that combine information processing with instructing adults individually or in small groups? Perhaps... And would these even be available or stable? Let's just say that the jobs I am looking at are really in need of qualified people.
Of course, this could all just be my curiosity getting the better of me. But with my job at LOC soon expiring and no word yet on the possibility of extending that in another department, I find myself wondering. The experience that I do have is not really in the area that I would prefer...but I can't get a different job without experience... So maybe I will be a little adventurous, snag some scholarships, get my second Masters, and do something totally different.
Let's just say that I am entertaining the thought. And gathering as much information from books, email correspondence, journals, and meetings as I can. That way, I can't say that I didn't consider the possibility. I won't be able to have any regrets that way.