Grocery job helped science librarian find her way here

“I was working at a grocery store and realized that I liked public service, but I really didn’t care for selling lottery tickets,” said new Sciences and Health Sciences Librarian Jamie Conklin. “I thought about what I liked doing where I could also work with the public. I figured I liked reading, I liked information, I loved writing research papers when I was in school. That’s how I transitioned into libraries.”

Conklin had a bachelor’s in English from the University of Central Florida, and went back for a masters in Library and Information Science at Florida State University. She got a job in a large, public library system.

“I worked for the Orange County Library System, mainly at the Orlando Public Library, downtown,” she said. “I started there as a shelver and worked my way up to assistant manager, and kind of skipped librarian — and that’s when I thought I wanted to step back and do the librarian piece, which I love.”

But she didn’t want to work at a regular library. She wanted to work in a university library, and as a young adult she’d picked up a love of ecology and the outdoors — so she went back to school again to pick up another bachelor’s–this one in biology–also from the University of Central Florida.

“I’m a big believer in lifetime learning, but I’m laying off classes for a little while now because I’ve just gotten done with a second bachelor’s,” she said with a laugh. “But eventually, anything related to the environment, ecology–but I’m also interested in cooking and dancing, anything like that.”

Conklin grew up in the Midwest and says she’s happy to return to the four seasons after a decade in Florida. She likes hiking, camping, biking and nature–and along with her husband and their dogs Buddy and Molly (both ASPCA finds)–she looks forward to exploring her new home in the Edwardsville area.

“There’s a bike path right behind where I live, and I love that,” she said. “I feel like there’s a lot of local community going on. I’ve only experienced it a few weeks but it looks like it has everything I need … and the traffic is a whole lot less than in Orlando, too.”

She is at work in Lovejoy Library already, assisting students in the sciences and health sciences–helping them find what the need and avoid what they don’t.

“We all suffer from information overload now,” she said. “That’s one of the things I love about being a librarian, working with students and the customer service aspect of helping them get through their research and into their careers later on.”

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