Hi INFO INFO 287! I’m really looking forward to learning with and from everyone this semester. Allow me to introduce myself a bit!
My name is Ariel Dyer, and I am currently halfway through my MLIS degree (I began in last Fall 2019). For the past three and a half years, I have completely fallen in love with the work of public libraries at the Kern County Library system where I worked as a library associate. I really never pursued a career in libraries, but happened to apply for this position on a whim, started working part time as a branch supervisor, and then was promoted to full time supervisor of the children’s library at the main branch. The fast pace, the planning of community events, and the everyday surprises I have encountered in my years with the library made me realize this was a job I could see myself having for a long, long time. After completing my degree, a long-term goal of mine is to ultimately become the director of a multi-branch library system. I am very passionate about the rights and mental health of library workers as well as racial equity in the workplace, and would love to put that passion to use as a director someday.
But what about now? Well, we’re all living in this pandemic. I’m willing to bet it’s thrown multiple wrenches in many of our plans, likely in more ways than one. It definitely has for me! As of June, I no longer work at a library. I made the decision to begin job searching when the pandemic hit, because I was worried about the trajectory of my current library system. (Like many library systems, ours is understaffed and underfunded, and their budget has decreased by 20% for the upcoming fiscal year.) I was also worried about my personal safety and how the library management was handling the safety of its employees. I do find that as a member of the public and no longer an employee, I am more empowered now to advocate for libraries in our community.
Fortunately, I now work for an incredible tech company as their community events coordinator, and will be working from home for at least the remainder of the year. Making the switch from a public library to a private tech company has caused me some serious whiplash, but I love the work culture at my new place of employment. I also love how dedicated they are to pursuing new ideas and thinking outside the box. For instance, we recently launched a free service called Pod Up designed for parents to connect with other caregivers who share their same quarantine values and share the extra burden of childcare during this time.
I chose to take INFO 287 this semester in part because of my new job that is very much outside of the traditional library sphere, but also because of how rapidly changing the world has become now that COVID-19 is on the scene. As a librarian and also just as a human being, I’d like to know more about the future of… everything and anything. Life feels very up in the air right now. So I’m very excited to be here!
In my personal life, I’ve been enjoying hiking now more than ever as a chance to get out of the house. I started out on 2-4 mile hikes but now I typically go for 6 mile and occasionally 8-10. It’s wild to me how many beautiful trails are within two hours’ drive of me. If anyone is looking to hike in the Sequoia National Forest area or in Kern County, let me know! I’ve got some great hikes to recommend. Otherwise, I’ve been keeping myself busy with work and school. When we’re not in a pandemic, I typically am a lot more active as a local musician and performer, and while I’ve done a couple virtual shows, it’s not the same. I’m also an avid horror fan and have been catching up on horror movies I’ve missed, and host a podcast about women in horror with two good friends. Plus reading as much as I can! Currently, almost all of my extracurricular reading has been devoted to Afrofuturist authors. I’m finishing up N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy right now and can’t recommend this amazing series enough!
I’m eager to hear from the rest of you all, as I feel pretty starved for social connection and can’t wait to learn about you and learn together in this class!