My fellow Marines always gave me confused looks when I told them I wanted to be a librarian after I finished my contract in the military. It’s not a field that many of them considered, but to me it made perfect sense. I worked as a linguist, which meant that in addition to translation, I also had to search through vast quantities of information in military databases and make sure that the right information got to the right people. In addition, while my time in the military was always interesting, it was difficult to see the results of my work in such a large organization. I wanted to enter into a career field where I could see the changes that I was making on a community level.
The importance of libraries was only reinforced for me during my service. Like me, many of my fellow service members grew up going to libraries and for many of them, it was the best source of information in their communities. Base libraries served as a safe haven from the stresses of military life. Each company commander I talked to had a shelf of books outside their office that anyone was free to use. Being well-read and well-informed was just as important to military leadership as going to the gym and working out regularly.
All of these factors led to me obtaining my Library and Information Science degree and starting at the Glen Ellyn Public Library. Now instead of searching through military databases, I search through library databases to help our members find the information they need, whether it’s reference material for a paper, an article from the Chicago Tribune, or just the latest work of popular fiction. I believe that reading is one of our most important tools in gaining different perspectives and continuing to learn as we age and I’m proud to be a part of this institution that places freedom of information so highly. It’s easy to see how important the library is to Glen Ellyn and the difference it makes in our community members’ lives.