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How Do I Become a Librarian

In Her Shoes: Stephanie Chase, Librarian Extraordinaire


All of us have a dream job we're secretly harboring. Readers recently shared their dream jobs, which inspired this new Savvy series: In Her Shoes.

What's better than sharing books with people who have the same love of reading? Being a librarian is definitely a hard job to beat, and Stephanie Chase, director of Stowe Free Library in Vermont, can attest to that!

SavvySugar: What makes your job a dream job?

Stephanie Chase: The idea of being a librarian is just really exciting because you get to talk about something you love every day, and most of the time with people who love it too. I think my favorite thing is you get to know the people in the community and you get to know why they come to the library, why they use the library, or what they like to read and to be able to show somebody you remember that . . . I think with our busy lives, people love to have somebody remember and that's one of the best parts about public service.

To find out what a librarian's job is really like (and no, it's not just shelving books!), read on.

SS: This question comes from reader MartiniLush. Tell us what a librarian's job is really like!

SC: I think most people don't recognize all the things that go on behind the scenes, what they think of librarians is just shelving books and that the point of contact stops right at the front desk. I have a column in the local paper that I write every two weeks. We have Facebook, we do Twitter, and we have a blog for our library. We have the ads that are going to go in the paper . . . there is also the developing the collection and what you're going to buy to make it available for people. That's probably one of the most fun parts of my job — looking at what's being published and what's being released and being able to match that up with what the community will like. Right now it's budget prep time, so I have to be thinking about what the library's budget will be for next year and obviously you have to be responsible in how you spend that. There is the whole programming piece — everything from figuring out kid's story time and what crafts you are going to make and for adults it's more lifelong learning type lectures.

SS: What are the most challenging parts of your job?

SC: Keeping up with things and adapting. Really working towards being ready to help people when they come in. You read a lot about information overload or hear a lot about it and I feel like when people come in needing us to help them find something to read, we need to look like we're not panicked too.

SS: How many books do you read a year?

SC: I've read 86 books so far this year, which is a little behind last year. I read almost 150 last year.

SS: What was your favorite day on the job like?

SC: Elements of my favorite day include making connections with other librarians I know and find out what's happening in other libraries . . . Also, I love when I go to some place and somebody says, "Do you want the usual?" When I have a great day, I've managed to do that with a patron. Patrons come in and they need me to find something to read and I help them do that. I really love when somebody who finds a great book to read and will have a great experience.

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