(Note: Heather Hilton is one of the two Taylor & Francis 2014 Student Travel Grant Award winners. Below is her winning application essay.)
“There is no darkness but ignorance,” Sir William Shakespeare wrote in his play Twelfth Night. (Shakespeare, 1936, 4.2.46-47)As information specialists who assist in the dissemination of knowledge to the world, librarians are one of the lights in this this world that help chase away darkness. Using electronic resources, we as a profession reach a larger audience than ever could be touched before. I want to be a part of that light, and attending Electronic Resources and Libraries is the first step on my path.
When I was laid off from Wall Street five years ago, I didn’t even have my bachelor’s, but I knew I wanted to try and find something I love to do. After much soul searching, I decided to become a librarian and assist others in discovering the worlds and knowledge I had found inside the pages of books. My friends asked me what took me so long to figure out what they always knew: I was born to be a librarian. Apparently it was obvious to everyone but me.
I was one of the many who were reluctant to try e-books: You couldn’t re-create the joy of opening a new book, the smells, and the experience. But I could still discover new worlds and new information, and I could carry many more e-books with me than my usual number of books. I’ve also since found a love of them in my heart equal to those of paper books. I have discovered that electronic resources enrich my quest for knowledge and assist me in my classes. They have helped improve my life, opening avenues of knowledge that I never knew were possible.
Neil Gaiman said, “Google can bring back a hundred thousand answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” Despite the plethora of information available, there still needs to be someone to guide the ship to the right port, to assist searchers in finding their treasure. I look forward to the day when I can officially engage in this pursuit.
The Electronic Resources and Libraries Student Travel Grant has gifted me an opportunity I could have never hoped was possible, a chance to learn cutting-edge ideas and methods in electronic resources. It is the possibility of meeting other like-minded individuals—people who share the same passion for information that I have— and learning from them outside a classroom. I am deeply humbled and honored to have been chosen and to be present here today. Thank you Taylor and Francis and ER&L for this opportunity that I have been privileged to receive.