In my application to Simmons last year, I wrote that “as a scholar at heart, I am also committed to working for social change,” and that a degree in library science would enable me to “translate my knowledge of radical pedagogy and feminism into hands-on activism.” Becoming a librarian and historian will, I firmly believe, “make it possible for me to bring together all my commitments–to education, feminism, and history–in a vocation that is both intellectually rigorous and politically engaged.”
This is a vocation I came to through my life-long need to be surrounded by the printed word (physically as well as intellectually), and the realization that I was happier in libraries and bookstores than almost anywhere else in the world. Maureen Corrigan wrote in her memoir Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading that “like so many bookworms, I was timid and introspective, and yet reading, my earliest refuge from the unknown world, made me want to venture out into it, instead of sticking with my own kind” (xxiii). No one I know would call me “timid,” but I do have a tendency to be introspective, absorbed in my interior life. Books are an integral part of this interior landscape of mine. Yet like Maureen Corrigan, I find they fuel my curiosity, empathy, and determination to be a part of the living, breathing exterior world. The library seems the perfect solution, a balance between the privacy of books and the engagement of political activism.
Turns out (at least according to the New York Times) I’m riding the wave of a generational trend. In July 8th issue of the newspaper, they ran an article called A Hipper Crowd of Hushers that breaks the “news” that we bibliophiles have known for a damn long time: librarians are an awesome people.
(P.S. Thanks to the several friends who brought this article to my attention!)