Faculty Guest Blogger: Leslie Worrell Christianson, MLIS
Leslie Worrell Christianson: In certain circumstances, it is important for things to line up, for there to be a logical order. For example, in the library where I spend my time as a librarian at Marywood University, we use a system to create order. Anyone who knows the system can find and access an information package which may be an article, film, or a book. Access to information is the beginning of knowledge creation which is highly individualized. We each create from our own body of knowledge, which is an accumulation and amalgamation of all of the information and experiences that we gather. How we create our lives is an expression of the decisions we make based on our body of knowledge and it is unique to each person. There is no system to creating a life or a career that will make sense to everyone, but it will be an expression of who you are.
How we create our lives is an expression of the decisions we make based on our body of knowledge…
My professional life has not followed a path that everyone could understand or one that would be right for everyone. However, it has allowed me to use my experience and flourish in a way I would have never imagined. As I mentioned, I am a librarian at the University. I have a master’s degree in library and information science and an undergraduate degree in art studio and art history. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I worked as an art teacher, an assistant at an auction house and gallery, and a docent. I also took some graduate drawing and painting classes. Eventually, I wanted to use my undergraduate education in an art museum library or university library that has an art department so I went to “library school.” As a librarian for Marywood, I have worked with the art department to build a collection that best serves our students. Last August, I was given the opportunity to serve the art department in a larger capacity by becoming the assistant director of art galleries. I would never have imagined that my path would lead in this direction nor could I have planned it this way. I now have the opportunity to incorporate more of my undergraduate degree into my work and also to build a stronger relationship between the art department and the library. There is no system or plan that would have led me to where I am now, but I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Keep this in mind as you make decisions about your future. Don’t look for a system or path that makes the most sense to everyone. Evaluate the information you have gathered and the experiences you have had and make choices that best express who you are. There is no system to a well lived life.
I am happy to talk with anyone that is interested in learning more about careers in art librarianship, visual resource management, or archives. Stop by the Learning Commons or the Art Galleries.
—Leslie Worrell Christianson, MLIS
User Services & Copyright Librarian
Interim Asst. Dir. of Art Galleries
Chair of the College and Research Division of Pennsylvania Library Association