A journey to news librarianship: The story of a wannabe

Unlike most news librarians, who somehow just end up in the profession, I have actually wanted to become a news librarian since my sophomore year of college. It began with the infamous career test, which resulted in "librarian" as my top career match. Influenced by stereotypes about the profession, my first reaction was disinterest. But, my natural curiosity led me to learn more about the library profession. I discovered that there were "special librarians" and that libraries are diverse and can actually be exciting. I was working at a law library at the time, and after speaking with librarians and learning more about the profession, I decided it could be a match after all.

Since I am a Texas resident, and out-of-state tuition is insanely high, I searched for library schools in Texas. Luckily there were three, but unfortunately none were near me (I was at the University of Houston at the time). I applied to Texas Woman's University, because I thought it would be a good idea to become familiar with the library program since I planned to go there for graduate school. Plus, after being at a large university, I was ready for a more community-like atmosphere of a smaller school. That summer, I packed my bags and transferred to Texas Woman's University in Denton, TX to begin my junior year.

I changed my major to mass communications, since I have always been interested in news and the news process. I also thought it would be ideal since I was interested in news librarianship. Simultaneously I was working in a campus library and volunteering at a public library-just to cover my bases and explore the different areas of librarianship. But I was still leaning towards news librarianship, as I was constantly scouring the SLA News Division web site, reading the profiles and learning more about what is involved in becoming a news librarian.

I graduated with a BS in mass communications and immediately started graduate school in library and information studies. I landed an internship with the Dallas Morning News Library, and it made me even more interested in becoming a news librarian. It was an amazing experience, and I was constantly taken aback by the knowledge of the news librarians. I also interned at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Library for school credit in my last semester and eventually was hired as the night librarian. Unfortunately, this is a part-time position and even after two college degrees and professional preparation, I'm still broke.

Thus, my quest to become a (full-time) news librarian is an ongoing one. Although I love my job at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a full-time position is not going to be available anytime soon, and part-time employment just doesn't quite pay the bills. Unfortunately, news librarianship is indeed a difficult one to enter. After numerous rejection letters, (most saying I need more experience-you mean besides my two internships? And how do I get more experience if no one is willing to hire me?) it is discouraging, yet I still follow the dream I set for myself years ago. Hopefully, I will land a job in a news organization doing what I love to do (that is, learning on the job by finding answers to obscure questions and keeping up to date with information resources and technology). Until then, I suppose I'll just remain a "wannabe news librarian."

Angelica Cortez can be reached at angelicacortez@msn.com.

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Last Update: 06/02/04
Amy Disch
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