new beginnings

Hello world!  This is my very first post on my very first blog.  It seems like the perfect time to do so because I will be starting graduate school in a few weeks and I think it will be nice to have documentation of this journey for myself and for others who are also considering entering a Masters” of Library and Information Science program.

Getting to this place was not a straight path nor an easy journey for me.  Obtaining my undergraduate degree was filled with trials and tribulations, to the point where I even gave up hope on doing so.  Books have been the true love of my life since I was a little girl.  I believe more than an other influencing factors in my life, books shaped me and my view of the world.  Books were able to give me opportunities that I otherwise never would have had.

As a little girl books were sacred to me.  My mother immigrated to the United States from Taiwan and could not speak or read English when she first arrived.  My father, while incredibly intelligent and a book lover himself, could not afford a college education and worked his way up in his industry.  We owned a handful of books at home and strangely a large collection of back issues of Reader’s Digest that dated back years before I was born. I didn’t have a library card at a young age or have access to books through a library because the city I lived in didn’t have a public library.  I honed my reading skills off of those old Reader’s Digests.  I read them cover to cover, sometimes multiple times because this was the main reading material I had available.  My mother discovered the public library in the city she worked in, Berkeley.  Since she didn’t have experience with American literature, especially the kinds of books that children should be reading, she relied on a suggested reading lists created for different grade levels by the Children’s librarians of the Berkeley Public Library.  She diligently checked out every book on the lists for me and crossed each one out when I was done.  To this day we still have some of these marked up lists with my mothers notations in the margins.

I remember one of my first visits to the Children’s room of the Berkeley Public Library.  The books on the shelves felt larger to me than any treasure.  The amount of books available staggered me and I couldn’t believe that I could have the opportunity to read as many of them as I wanted.  My hunger for knowledge was insatiable while looking at these books and I devoured as many of them as I could.  The few books I did own were either purchased from the annual library booksale, where you could buy old discarded library books written in the 1950s for dollars to the box, or donated to me by family friends.  To an outsider, these books may have looked well worn, damaged, or unimportant, but to me they were my greatest possessions and I took care of them with pride.

This great love and respect for books was imparted to me at that young age, and since then books have been a great part of my joy in life.  I was never a great student at mathematics or the sciences, but my proficiency at reading always managed to save me academically and helped me succeed.  I began working at the Berkeley Public Library six years ago.  It felt like a I had come full circle, working at helping others in the same place that had such a big impact on me.  I often wanted to use my knowledge and love of reading to help others but I couldn’t due to the restrictions of my entry level position.  By this time I had given up on completing my undergraduate degree, due to one incomplete grade in a past class.  I told myself I was working exactly where I wanted to be, but I always had a small voice in the back of my head telling me I could have more if I wanted.  Last year I finally faced my fears, my personal shame and my disappointment because I knew I could make my dreams a reality if I worked at it and I knew the accomplishment at the end would be the greatest reward.  I successfully completed the course and received my B.A and embarked on the journey that has led me here as an incoming student in the School of Library and Information Science.  I worked hard for this dream and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.


One thought on “new beginnings

  1. Great post, Jennifer.
    Congratulations on going back and completing your B.A.!
    I love the story about your mom checking out each book on the library list, and crossing out their titles as you read them – what a loving thing to do. I’m glad you still have that list with her notaions – that’s a treasure to keep.

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