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Curious about the field of Library Sciences? Listen to what this Archivist has to say as she bares all the pros and cons of her profession.

Q: What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives?

A: I am an Archivist, which is a branch of Library Science. I graduated with my Master of Library and Information Science degree earlier this year, and began working in this field about two years ago, in the beginning of my graduate studies. If I were to describe myself with only three adjectives, I'd say that I am sarcastic, creative and eccentric.

Q: What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what worked best?

A: I am a white, bisexual female. People often assume that I am a lesbian, I remember an incident in high school where I found that someone had written inside a bathroom stall in 3 foot letters: JENNIE AND SUE KISSED, STUPID DYKES. I never kissed my friend, which made it even more insulting. There have always been a lot of assumptions that people make about me because I am somewhat reserved. I don't often disclose that I am attracted to everyone regardless of gender, because bisexuality seems to be misunderstood or brushed off as "experimental" or a "cover for my true sexuality." I honestly think that I receive more discrimination based on my gender and looks alone, because I prefer a gothic style of dress and have piercings, whereas my sexual preferences aren't something that are immediately noticeable. When people were openly harassing me in high school, it fueled my fire and pushed me to become more comfortable with my own identity. As sad as it is, that trauma helped formed who I am and made me a stronger person. I always stood up for my friends who were receiving the same kind of treatment, but often found it difficult to stand up for myself. I used to just choke it down and be stoic about it, but I now have no problem questioning someone when they say something hateful or prejudiced.

Q: How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

A: My day job entails processing and indexing automotive advertisements. I assign metadata descriptors to both print and audiovisual advertisements for future accessibility. A common misunderstanding about the library world is that libraries are dead, which simply isn't true. People will always need to access information, now more so than ever.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?

A: I would rate my job satisfaction a 5 out of 10. It is really quite boring, but it is low-stress which is more important. I wanted a job where I could go home at the end of the day and not think about my work, where I would be free to make music and art while maintaining a steady income. I am an artist and for me, this is a means to an end and not my dream job.

Q: If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?

A: I worked on a project for a women's historical museum archiving their entire collection of audiovisual materials and it taught me a lot about the strength women have to overcome a great deal of obstacles in life, which was very inspiring to me. However, most of my work isn't particularly moving. I mostly look at historical advertisements all day, which can be slightly amusing.

Q: Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?

A: I believe that people make the assumption that working in a library means that you get to sit around a read all day. The truth is that you don't have time to read, and you could possibly get fired for doing so. Eventually, books just look like big, heavy dusty things full of opinions that you have to move around. It kills the magic a little bit when you see what's behind the curtain. I have also worked in an art museum research library cataloging books and assisting curators, which I thought would be the perfect environment for me, but in the end I didn't care much for it.

Q: How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

A: I began working in this field after managing an independent used book store. After spending years working in retail management, I wanted to leave the world of customer service. I decided to attend graduate school after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts to obtain job security and mainly to defer my student loans, which led me down the path that I am currently on.

Q: What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?

A: The most important thing that I have learned outside of school is that the working world is dull and unfulfilling, and unless you are passionate about your work, you had better supplement your working life with some exciting hobbies.

Q: What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?

A: This field is very low-paying, especially considering the amount of school that is required to get your foot in the door. A Master's degree is required, and many of the jobs begin at $30,000 as a starting salary. It is really unfortunate considering the amount that individuals with the same amount of schooling in other fields are making. I am not an extravagant person with fine tastes, my goal is to live comfortably and not have to struggle to make ends meet.

Q: What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

A: If a friend were considering this line of work, I would recommend shadowing someone in this position to decide if that is what they really would like to do. There are a lot of misconceptions about libraries and archives because there is an illusion that is maintained for the outside world that it isn't hard work. It can be very tedious, but there are many different types of libraries and positions out there. If you aren't interested in public libraries, there are medical, corporate, museum, and academic libraries to name a few. There is a great need for people with technical skills because information is being digitized at a fast rate and shifting away from traditional print media.