How a visit to the Barnard Placement Office Gave Me Life's Direction (For Better or Worse)

Joan Sweet

Start of senior year, we're encouraged to visit the Placement Office to discuss where we think we're going. Like many English majors, I thought I'd like publishing, but to give myself a gimmick I said I'd like to publish children's books.  The Placement Officer said "How about being a Children's' Librarian?" I said "Who, me?"  But she had a plan--the American Library Association (ALA) was hosting a panel of librarians to explain the field to college Placement Officers.  Barnard was the only school to bring along students. I think 5 of us went. I know one classmate who definitely became a librarian (in academia) and I went to Columbia's School of Library Service for my MS and worked for NYPL as a Children's' Librarian for 40 years and an Adult Specialist and Supervisor for 7 more.  I never forgot the Children's Librarian on the panel holding up The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward to explain where he got his inspiration for the picture of the bear almost capsizing the rowboat. So, that's how Barnard gave me my career.