While attending a professor's retirement party, I met a new librarian who told of an interesting discovery. She had struggled with deciding whether to become a high school librarian or find work in an academic setting. Then she discovered a position that would offer the chance to work in both settings. That chance encounter helped me realize that we sometimes mistakenly believe life is asking us "or" questions, when life is really offering us "and" opportunities. That is, we can do this and that, not merely choose between two options.
Consider this example: Michael Rogalla, children's librarian at Champaign Public Library in Illinois, lives two lives. In addition to presenting children's storytimes, participating in literacy initiatives, and collaborating with children's librarians across the state, Rogalla also serves his community as a part-time firefighter and emergency medical technician. Here is his story.
"It all started when I was the youth services and outreach coordinator for the Scott County Library System in Eldridge, Iowa," said Rogalla. "Essentially, I was the children's librarian for a rural county with some 14 towns." One day, after seeing an advertisement in the local paper for fire department volunteers, he signed up. From then on, he would literally run down the blockwhen paged with an emergency call. "It made for some interesting times as kids cheered me on during story time when my pager went off. Luckily,I had supportive co-workers to fill in at a moment's notice."
Three years later, Rogalla moved back to Illinois and took the library job in …