International Librarians

Last week I focused on both a journal and an LIS blog because I found a connection between the two I was reading that I was interested in exploring. As I was browsing the journals this week I came across one from the University of Illinois that sparked my interest- if only because it was so nicely put together. I scrolled through the table of contents and I saw one or two listings for international opportunities that the GSLIS faculty and staff have experienced and I hastily scrolled down to find those articles.

I love to travel, I love talking about travel, and I love sharing why I think traveling is one of the best decisions anyone can ever make. I’ve been very fortunate that in the last three years I’ve been able to travel all over the world, and I know that not many people have those opportunities. Once I began school here at Dominican I sort of filed away and adventures I had planned, because I assumed that I would be stuck on American soil for the duration of my time as a grad student, and probably for a while after graduation as well. However, I had no idea that there were so many international opportunities for librarians and LIS professionals. Page 10 of the journal begins to talk about the faculty’s summer travels, “Alistair Black went to Dublin, Ireland, for the 20th Annual Conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), held in June at Trinity College Dublin”, and other faculty members were present at events in Beijing, Germany, Finland, and many more around the world.

Map: Public Libraries around the world

There are more public libraries around the world than I would have thought, and there are many in developing countries as well. Their goals are to help support their citizens, to help them grow, and to help them become educated and informed. A few of the librarians highlighted in the journal had experiences like this, where they were hired to help develop and modernize libraries in developing areas of the world, as well as in already modernized areas:

“A school librarian navigates the bustling streets of Mumbai, passing street vendors and swerving rickshaws; another librarian quickly grabs an umbrella to fend off the London drizzle before heading out for her morning walk. A master’s student watches the sun rise over the Nile River while a GSLIS grad wanders through Liberty Square in the former Soviet country Georgia.”

It sounds like the beginning of an epic spy novel starring a librarian as the main character. It also sounds like the beginning of an adventure I would like to experience. I would still consider myself to be undecided as far as what kind of librarian I would like to be after graduation, and that’s probably a decision I’ll have to make soon, but I know I would love the opportunity to work abroad doing something that I love and am passionate about.

I’ve had the opportunity to work abroad, and even though the work wasn’t something that I was passionate about, I learned new skills and grew as an individual through that work, and the experiences I had while doing that work. I can only imagine how much I would learn and grow professionally if I was fortunate enough to have an experience like that.

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