My History in Libraries

1984 - 1990 — Student Helper I, Kaimuki Public Library, Hawaiʻi State Public Library System
"Student Helper" is the State's term for student employees who work part time for barely-over-minimum wage (although there was a period of about three months when those cheapskates paid us less than the minimum wage). Mostly I would shelve books and perform other tasks as assigned. I used to think to myself, "One of these days, I'll graduate, and then I'll never have to step foot into another library ever again."

Dumbest thing heard: "You work in a library? Oh, you must have lots of time to get your homework done."
1990 - 1991 — Library Assistant II & Library Assistant IV, Kaimuki Public Library and other libraries in the East Oʻahu Library District
After graduation, I worked as a circulation clerk on an "emergency hire" basis (month-to-month appointment, no benefits). It was then that I first worked with computerized library circulation systems, and it was then that I first became interested in library automation. I spent several months as an LA II, and when the Sunday/Holiday program began, I became the LA IV in charge of circulation on Sundays and holidays. It was a lot of hard work with lousy hours, but it was also a good experience in that I had a wide range of responsibilities under a variety of circumstances. My duties included supervising the student workers, including my old position. Kaimuki Public Library was large enough to be a high volume operation, but it wasn't so large that you became so specialized in your work that your overall range of experience was limited. Because Kaimuki was one of the larger branches, I was sent to help out at the smaller branches from time to time when they were shorthanded, and I got to see how things were done at other branches.

Pet peeve: People who think that because you are a public sector employee, you are somehow less deserving of the respect and dignity due to any other worker. People who take the term "public servant" a little too literally and treat you rudely and act like they're entitled to boss you around because a fraction of a penny of their tax money goes to your pay check and oh don't get me started...
1991 - 1992 — Master's candidate at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Why library school? I wanted to get a master's degree to advance myself and improve my future prospects, and working in libraries, it was certainly easy enough to get letters of recommendation for library school. Admittedly, I did not apply to library school out of any life long dream or driving desire to become a librarian. But while I was there, I found it to be a really interesting field to study, and I became really interested in working in the field (which also involved warming up to the idea of accepting the title of "librarian"). I found the experience to be quite rewarding and worth the time, effort, and money.

While there I specialized in library automation, not only because of my interests developed on the job but also because my interest in computers in general was exploding at that point.
1991 - 1992 — Substitute Library Assistant and Librarian
I suppose my experience and familiarity with the practices and policies of the HSPLS put me in high demand for substitute work in shorthanded branches. Or maybe my friends at the HSPLS were throwing a little part-time employment my way, because I had given up my job to go to library school full time. Probably both. In any case, I spent quite a few days working circulation at Kaimuki, Hawaii Kai, and Kalihi branches on a substitute basis (which is even lower than emergency hire — appointment is by the day or even by the hour, and pay is at the lowest grade). Once I completed the introductory reference course at SLIS, I got to spend a couple of days as a substitute librarian at Kalihi.
1993 - Present — My current position as Systems Librarian at Leeward Community College. I also served as Circulation Librarian (2002 - 2008) and Head Librarian (2006 - 2011).