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in oakland


in oakland

Scott Bahlmann

Dear M,

I'm in Oakland right now for a conference of children's librarians and educators. I was invited by the other Salt Lake City librarians that I came along with, the manager of our main library children's department and the leader of our children's services team (the great thing about attending library conferences is that I pretty much have an entire public restroom to myself!).

It's a three day conference, so I'm spending most of the week here. It was after I had registered and got the hotel squared away and everything that I really decided to move. I was feeling guilty about using the libraries resources when I wouldn't be with them for too much longer. Feeling the vibe of a larger, more condensed city than Salt Lake was certainly appealing, but that slightly ulterior motive didn't help alleviate my guilt any. 

At the airport, thought, as we were all waiting for our flight, the children's manager very casually brought up that my manager had mentioned my interest in moving. My initial thought was 'Oh boy'. But it was a great moment of conversation about my reasons, which they both supported, and my expected timeline. I did mention the position of a children's services manager I was planning to apply for in Portland (this was what prompted me to tell my manager in the first place a few months back), but it ended up being the Portland on the other side of the country, so I didn't pursue the position. Anyway, they know I'm keeping my feelers out for employment. 

But really, what I wanted to share ...this has all been exposition... is the terrible wonderful thing about a long conference away from home. You get to know the people you work with in a different way. I'm sure there are many people who go and hang out with their co-workers at the pub just down the street from their job, but I've never been one to do that. I feel much closer to these wonderfully funny and charming women so devoted to children's literacy and so supportive of me, regardless of my involvement in the same specific organization.

This has been a fantastic conference, and it makes me more frustrated at the limiting stipulation of having  a MLS to be a librarian in so many places. I got my degree in theatre, which has been a great boon for my children's programming, and interactions with the public in general. And I've worked at libraries or bookstores pretty solidly since I was in high school, but without that specific paper, my position as a children's librarian is really a Utah exclusive. 

I really didn't expect to become so passionate about these little beasties, or feel so invested in contributing to their success and love of stories. I'm so interested in seeing where I'll end up, and how I can use this in whatever my next position turns out to be!