Interview with Abby Nafziger
GC Graduation Year
Why or how did you choose your field? Were there specific experiences that influenced you?
The field of libraries was a bit accidental for me. In the spring of my senior year at GC, I made plans to move to Chicago with some friends after graduation. While I had majored in history, I hadn’t had any clear idea of how I was going to use that background in a career. However, once I learned about the possibility of working as a library aide in a local high school, I got quite excited about the idea of working in a library. I saw it as the perfect chance to combine a love of books, research skills, information literacy, and education into one career.
What’s exciting about your job or this field?
Being a school librarian requires a lot of flexibility and enthusiasm; so far, I have found positive interactions with students to be the highlight of my job. Whether it is helping them find the perfect book or the answer to a tough reference question, the chance to teach and mentor students is my favorite part of the job.
What has been a challenge in your career journey?
While I continue to work in my original aide position, I am currently seeking a full time school librarian job. Unfortunately due to the recession, schools and public libraries are both suffering. While I continue to view the library profession as a hopeful one, it can be difficult to continue the job search during an economic downturn.
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
Not so far, though going to school part time, while working full time was difficult, it allowed me to integrate a lot of theoretical learning into the practical—something that I think will continue to help me in my career for years to come.
How did your liberal arts education assist you in your journey? Are there specific examples you can offer?
Librarians are known to be extremely versatile. Having an interest in many different areas and enjoyment of discovering knowledge are all helpful traits in the field; these are definitely encouraged by a liberal arts education. I also highly value the research skills I learned through my history major and the international experiences I had at GC.
Did anyone offer you some memorable advice that you’d like to pass on? Or…what advice would you give to a young person just starting out?
Don’t feel like you need to know right away what you want to do with a particular major. I chose history because I loved the classes and deeply appreciated the professors, and I haven’t regretted that choice.