Mothers and Librarians

May 13, 2007 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Today is Mother’s Day and I thought I’d write about my mother and how she influenced me to become a librarian – subconsciously, of course.  I can’t ever remember a time in my childhood when books weren’t an important part of my life.  When I was too young to read on my own, I remember my mother reading a chapter a night out loud to my brother and me.  We listened to Paul Bunyon, Peter Pan, Aesop’s Fables, and both Grimm‘s and Andersen’s Fairy Tales.  When I started reading on my own, we would look forward to the weekly trips to the Redford Library youth department.  I fondly remember reading the biographies of Molly Pitcher, Patsy Jefferson, and Juliette Gordon Lowe.  At Christmas time, my brother and I would board the bus with  mother and make the annual trek to downtown Hudson’s where we were allowed to select one special book to put on our Christmas wish list.  As I got older, my mother’s mother would take me over into the adult section of the library and let me pick out mysteries (Mickey Spillane, Mary Roberts Rinehart) that she would check out on her own card and let me read.  (Children were not allowed to check out adult books back in the 1950s!) 

When I was in the 7th grade, my mother went back to college and got her Master’s Degree in English.  She was still there at U of Detroit working on her PhD when I was there in undergrad.  My 0lder brother was working in the university’s library, so it naturally followed that I would do the same.  By the time I was a senior, I was working full-time in the reference department and got free tuition.  Loving books and spending a career with them didn’t click until after I had earned a MA in history and found there were no jobs in the museum field.  After the birth of my second child, I began a six year stint as a library aide, a job my mother also held at the same time.  It wasn’t until 1986, after the birth of son number three,  that I finally got my MSLS.  Looking back, it was a long trip to a career I’d  loved but didn’t realize it.  Mother always wanted me to be a teacher – she thought I had a gift in that area.  I’m hoping she would be proud that I’m both a librarian and a teacher of patrons and other librarians.  Hats off to you, Mother, and Grandmother too, on Mother’s Day!  I miss you both more than you’ll ever know.


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Perceptions of Librarians The Great Divide

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Well Rounded Librarian by Kathy Petlewski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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