Becoming a Librarian (1991-1992)

From the first moments at Simmons (in January 1991) I realized that I had found the metier that everything in my life had been preparing me for. The luck of the draw put me in Allen Smith's section of the basic Reference Librarianship course, and the first thing he did was to hand out a list of 100 off-the-wall questions that might be asked at the Reference Desk. Our task, he said, would be to find answers using whatever tools we could think of that might serve --to explore the possibilities of reference materials in the libraries of Boston and Cambridge ad lib., and to narrate our searches and findings. Perfect. See some answers I came up with, and a reflection on Hypermedia.
And see also the lyrics I wrote and sang on the last day of that class, most of which refer to questions from Allen's list. I should probably annotate the text, since many of the references are obscure unless you're a Reference Librarian, but the annotated version would be three times as long...

I resolved to be the sort of student I'd always said I wanted, and I went into overkill mode. I did a research paper on cross-disciplinary citations of Clifford Geertz, took the required courses in Management and Cataloging, and realized that I couldn't bear to go back to Acadia. The opportunity to manage the computer lab at Simmons (for tuition credit and a small assistantship) arose at just the right moment, so I resigned my tenured position and continued for another year as a Masters student in Library and Information Science. I took a course in Science Librarianship from Jay Lucker, Head Librarian at MIT, and once again found myself in my element as I explored Boston's library world. I graduated in Spring 1992 and started to search for employment as a Reference Librarian, sending out more than 50 letters of application before I got any responses. Washington & Lee University offered me a job as Reference Librarian and Coordinator of Library Instruction, starting in August, so I moved to Lexington VA and plunged in gleefully. By 1996 I was Science Librarian, with my own satrapy.