Column Description: Come follow me on my journey as a new academic librarian, yet a "seasoned professional" as I learn to integrate my old skills in new and innovative ways. While most middle-aged people are mid-career I am just beginning, let's see what stumbling blocks I might face and what hurdles I might overcome!
Remember back when people asked you when you were younger “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember my answer changing many, many times throughout my life. Never once though did I think, I want to become a librarian!
Which in hindsight, I am not sure why the thought didn’t cross my mind. I lived only 10 houses away from my local library, the only place I could walk alone without my mother. I spent countless hours there perusing the shelves, and many a summer there doing arts and crafts and other activities. This was the 1980’s where if you were lucky, you could also get a chance to play on the Oregon Trail! It was a space where a nerdy girl like me felt seen, heard, and accepted.
Years passed from those days, and I went on to college where I obtained my Psychology degree and then my Counseling degree to pursue a career as a counselor in higher education. It was a career well suited to me. I loved working with adult students, I liked academia and I considered myself a good listener and problem solver. These attributes made me an excellent counselor, and I did well in my field.
There was however something missing. As a lifelong learner, I felt that my career had become stagnate. I thought about going back to school, but as a single mom at that point in my late thirties, I thought it was an impossible dream. Furthermore, what would I go back to school for, and how could I be doing that while also working full-time and raising a family?
So, I did what I did best, and started researching. What programs would suit my interests? What programs could be done online? What career could I see myself doing for the foreseeable future? Then I stumbled upon a program in my own backyard. The Master of Library and Information Science at Syracuse University. I thought about my skills and interests.
Working with adult students, CHECK!
Working in academia, CHECK!
Listening and problem-solving skills, CHECK!
The answer was staring me dead in the face. I would go back to school to become an academic librarian. But the doubt started creeping in. I could only take one class per semester. It would take me until I was at least 41 years old to finish my degree. Then, when I did, would anyone hire me?
But instead of focusing on the doubts, I thought back to my childhood, and I remembered some of the happiest times were at my local library. I am not sure if it was the feeling of nostalgia, remembering the warm and kind librarians and their storytimes, or the feeling I got of the taste of independence at a young age going to the library alone, but I applied to the program with not much thought on the future, which is out of the norm for a planner like me. I was accepted shortly after and started my journey to becoming a librarian. Finally, I had a definitive answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Giovanna Colosi of Cicero, NY is currently working at Syracuse University as The Librarian for the School of Education and Subject Instruction Lead in the Department of Research and Scholarship. Her specialty areas include Teaching and Leadership, Disability Studies and Higher Education.
Prior to her move over to Librarianship, she worked as an academic counselor/instructor in The College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University for almost 9 years and in several different roles in higher education since 1997.
Giovanna also sits on the Board of Trustees on the Northern Onondaga Public Library and holds the role of Executive Secretary. Giovanna is active in many regional and national library organizations and is currently co-chair of the ALA New Member Roundtable Membership Promotion, Diversity, & Recruitment Committee.
Giovanna holds a master’s degree in counseling and human services and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The State University of New York at Oswego. She also obtained her MLIS degree from the I-School at Syracuse University in 2016.
In her very limited free time, Giovanna spends it with her two children, Sofia and Jack, playing with her Labrador Sloan, attending her favorite Bootcamp classes and watching various baking shows, (even though she does not bake!)