How a Librarian Saved My College Career

By Camille Gamboa, SAGE US PR & Conventions Assistant

When I was an undergraduate student at a small liberal arts university in Southern California, I had my first experience of a librarian saving my life—and it wouldn’t be the last. It was nearing the end of the fall semester, and the professor of my Spanish course was going over the details of our final project. Though it was only a couple weeks before the project was due, Profesora Ramirez kindly reminded us that in order to receive an “A”, we needed to read at least one of the books off of the suggested reading list she had provided. Being the ambitious (yet procrastinating) college freshman that I was, I rushed to our school’s library as soon as the class period was over. Sadly, when I arrived, I quickly found out not only that our selection of Spanish literature was smaller than I had anticipated, but that it had already been picked through by my even more ambitious classmates.

In the typical college freshman fashion, I panicked.

I needed this book to get an “A” on that project and I needed an A on that project to get an A in that class. To my panicked 18 year-old mind, not getting my hands on the book I needed would have been absolutely tragic.

Luckily, a very attentive and very experienced academic librarian noticed the devastated look on my face. She calmly approached me and before I could finish telling her my woeful story of my soon-to-be failures as a college student, she very kindly explained to me that I could have pretty much any book I needed in a matter of days through our library’s inter-library loan system. Three days later, I had the book in my hands, two weeks later, I got an A on the project, and four years later I successfully graduated with my bachelor’s degree.

During National Library Week, I would like to celebrate these important learning enthusiasts by sending a public salute to the hard-working librarians at my own alma mater as well as to all of the library staff and library supporters across the globe.

What can you do to celebrate?

To help library supporters celebrate this important week, the American Library Association has set up a website that offers tools, PSAs, and ideas for honoring libraries and library workers. Additionally, library fans can share their story about why libraries are so important to them and read stories from fellow library lovers. You can also send your own salute to a specific librarian who helped you out when you were in a jam by nominating a library “star” here.

Other supporters of National Library Week include Crayola, which set up a webpage with tools and ideas for celebrating NLW with kids, American Greetings, which offers free e-cards that you can send to celebrate the special week, and Scholastic, which funded a $3,000 grant awarded to the Sacramento Public Library to fund National Library Week promotional activities.

SAGE appreciates our librarians, as well. Check out some of the resources we provide on our Librarian Resource Center :

Though libraries should be celebrated all of the other 364 days of 2012, this week provides a great opportunity to honor and thank those wonderful librarians who make scholarship and education possible.

What are you doing to celebrate libraries this week? Leave a comment to let us know.

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