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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How This Librarian Ended Up At Home.

Hello, I'm Jaelithe, the Librarian @ Home. Welcome to my blog!

In the last couple days I have been getting acquainted with Blogger, which makes me feel a little like a seasoned library staff person around 1995: suddenly confronted with the Internet as an information resource and the often intimidating learning curve of technology.

In my case, it is 2010...but still, learning how to navigate new software is a little intimidating. (Especially since I'm trying to teach myself!)

I received a journalism degree in 2001 and a library science degree in 2004. Both programs seemed to focus on a very similar train of thought that went something like this: Omg, omg, the Internet is changing, like, EVERYTHING about our field! How will we adapt? Will we still be relevant?

I have spent a lot of time thinking and learning about how technology has and will change newspapers/tv news/print publishing/libraries, etc. etc. and it seems that now, less than a decade later, a lot of that future-casting is no longer speculation, but reality. (For example, reading books on Amazon's Kindle. Need I say more?) Yes, yes, it is a very exciting time for information creators and what am I doing?

I'm sitting at home.

Even though home is where I want to be...I still want to be a part of it all! This blog is my attempt to do just that.

I am a woman, daughter, wife, mother, dog mama, housekeeper, and home cook in Louisville, Kentucky. I used to be a librarian, but I dropped that gig (for the time being) after my maternity leave was up and my employer was all "Hey you, come back to work or quit, okay?"

Leaving that job was hard because it was the best job I'd ever had. Seriously, it was the best job EVER. I spent most of my time at work reading book reviews and determining whether my library should buy a book and, if so, how many copies at which of our branches. (In other words, they paid me to shop for books!)

But...the Husband and I were pushing 30 and thinking less and less ambivalently about starting a family. I was discussing our fears about the leap to parenthood with one of my librarian colleagues, who told me point blank: "It is the most important thing."

And he was right. It is. Maybe not for everyone, but for me it most certainly is.

Of course, starting a family doesn't mean one parent has to quit working. So how did I end up at home?

Although I spent my 20s establishing my career, I was ever mindful of the fact that I would most likely have a child (or two) and that I would possibly want to stay home when that happened. I wasn't sure on which side of the fence I would land, but I had always hoped that when the time came, I would have a choice. Luckily enough, in our situation that was the case.

So...I gave up LJ reviews and circulation stats for breast-feeeding and play dates. (I also gave up the perk of low premiums on health insurance for COBRA, but that should probably be left for another post!)

Today my daughter is 17 months old. It's cliche to say but time flies and babies grow like weeds. Much of the past 17 months is a blur to me, especially the early days of night feedings and not getting my first cup of coffee until 2 or 3 p.m.

Parenthood most definitely changes a person. But I would argue that leaving your job to take care of your home life (with or without a baby) is also life-altering (especially if you are a feminist American woman in the 21st Century!) Now add those two events (new baby, no more job) back together and the extent of the change is magnified even further: changes to your lifestyle, finances, sense of self, role in your marriage....YIKES!!! Despite all this change, beneath it all, I am still me. At home or in the library, I am me!

I know what I just said doesn't make much sense: I have changed a lot, but I am still me. And quite frankly, I am a little confused myself at this point. Let me close by saying this: I hope this blog will allow me to explore the many roles I play and the many roles that American women play (whether they have careers, children, neither or both!) I hope to find readers who can relate to me (or not) and challenge me. I hope to build a community of thinking, reading, caring, smart women and men.

Additionally, I want to draw from my past as a public librarian. I hope to talk about books, and I want to demonstrate how I have applied the skills of librarianship to my life at home. I am certain these topics will appeal to many, and not just those in library land!

More to follow,