I’m Running Away and Joining the Circus

I love being a librarian.

Some of it is because of the big picture/honorable professional stuff that I frequently blog about here. But honestly, I really love the day to day: staffing a ref desk, hunting down a hard to find piece of information, working with law students…Not only do I never wake up in the morning dreading going into work, but I often am really looking forward to it.

So it is with very mixed emotions that I announce that very soon I will no longer be a librarian.

At least not the kind that works in a library.

If I’m timing this right, John Mayer, the executive director of the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) has just announced that starting August 15, I will be the new Director of Content Development for CALI. This is definitely an unexpected and unplanned development in my career, but one that I couldn’t be more excited and thrilled about. It’s not every day that you’re offered a job that will give you the opportunity to change the world and, knowing some of the projects that CALI is working on and the possibilities of what it can do, well….I really think we can make a difference. Definitely in the way future lawyers are educated, but also in how regular citizens have access to justice and legal materials.

When John offered me the job, he was almost like a combination of Morpheus in The Matrix and The Godfather.

My new boss, John Mayer, at CALIcon Vegas

I realized that I could continue on my safe library career path, enjoying my job and wishing some things in the legal information landscape would be different OR I could take a bit of a leap of faith, alter my plans and spend my time actually making the products I think are needed instead of waiting for them to happen. As you’ve probably noticed, Gentle Reader, I really like quotes. One of my all time favorites is from Ghandi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I really think this position will allow me to do that. And, in the end, that was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Although I am not going to be working in a library, I still will always consider myself to be a librarian. I’m just literally putting my money where my mouth is when it comes to all of my talk about how libraries and librarians should work and collaborate with technologists and other related fields. It’s definitely going to be a different environment and the new freedoms I’ll have to create and explore are a little breathtaking. The CALI crew are also just a lot of fun to be around. As I told John after I accepted the offer, I feel a little bit like I’m running away and joining the circus.

So, this is a big step. It’s exciting and scary and, yes, even makes me just a little sad. I’m sure there’s a German word that encapsulates all of these emotions. But you know, I have always believed that life is meant to be lived to fullest and that you should try new things and take big risks – otherwise you’re just taking up space and counting down the clock until you die. And that’s such a sad waste of a life. I dunno…maybe I was the only kid that was actually listening when they read that Robert Frost poem at graduation.

This isn’t just a big professional step, but a personal one too. I’ll be moving to Chicago, which is slightly different from Valparaiso, Indiana. You know, just a little. So I’m also very excited about the opportunities for adventure that living there is going to provide. I’m a bit of a country mouse, so I am a little nervous, but in my house hunting adventures I have already learned the secret to driving in Chicago: Don’t think about your insurance premiums and just gun it. Which I guess is sort of the theme here.

So. Lots of changes happening in the next month. My last day at Valparaiso is going to be July 29 and I would be remiss if I didn’t also include a big THANK YOU to all of my colleagues here who have been so much fun and valuable to work with. I am so sad about leaving them and this beautiful place.

But…now on to a new adventure.


  25 comments for “I’m Running Away and Joining the Circus

  1. June 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Congratulations, Sarah, on this exciting phase in your career–and congratulations to John Mayer and CALI for recognizing your talents.

  2. June 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Congratulations!!! That’s a very well deserved position and I think will be a perfect fit for what you want to do.

  3. June 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    What a great opportunity! Best of luck!

  4. Laura
    June 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    wow! Awesome and congrats!

  5. Pingback: What Shall I Be?
  6. Laura H.
    June 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I’m so happy for you, Sarah. Congratulations!! šŸ™‚

  7. June 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Congratulations! I look forward to seeing more awesome from you.

  8. Nickie Singleton
    June 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    You go!! Sounds perfect for you. Lucky CALI.

  9. Kathryn Greenhill
    June 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Congratulations. Big move, bold move. I look forward to you sharing your thoughts about online instruction.

  10. June 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Fantastic news, Ms. “Force of Nature.” Once relocated would you please FedEx me Italian Beef sandwitches from Al’s Beef once a month. I’ll pay you back. Al’s nearby locations are 601 W. Adams, 28 E. Jackson or the original spot in Little Italy (not a bad place to live, IMHO, because the neighbor is now really part of the U of Illinois campus) at 1079 W. Taylor St.

  11. June 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Congratulations! Enjoy your job and Chicago. (If you need it, I’ve got advice on the best pizza places, though it’s about 10 years out of date.)

  12. Anne Myers
    June 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Big congrats to you, even if I’m late to the party to offer them. The job will suit you and challenge you at the same time. I have no food or housing advice, but Boston driving taught me to just worry about the front of my own car and nothing else; everyone does the same and it works out.

  13. Michael Ginsborg
    June 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Congratulations! I am very excited about your new career, not least because it matches your skills and ideals and will fully engage your creativity.

  14. Mary Jenkins
    June 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Congratulations, Sarah! This makes good sense for you and for CALI. Good fit.

  15. Kris Niedringhaus
    June 27, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Congrats Sarah. CALI is lucky to have you. Don’t worry, you’ll always be a librarian – no matter where your path takes you.

  16. Suan Nevelow Mart
    June 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I join in on the congratulations. This is terrific news for CALI and for you! I’m looking forward to great new projects.

  17. Donna Bruszewski
    June 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Wow, I am so happy for you!
    You see, you never know where life will lead you!
    Cangratulations, you can do it and I know you will!

  18. June 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Bravo to John Mayer and CALI on a brilliant hire!

  19. June 29, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Sarah, Congratulations! This is a really exciting announcement and I know you are going to do great things with CALI. On behalf of Justia folks, looking forward to working with you!

  20. June 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    What’s a “safe library career path”?

  21. June 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Sarah, I think it is a bold and gutsy move. Good for you for seizing the day!

  22. Julie Graves Krishnaswami
    July 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Sarah, Congratulations. I look forward to working with you at CALI!

  23. Steph Hess
    July 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Congratulations, Sarah!

  24. Janice Cox
    July 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Congratulations Sarah and best wishes! You are right, life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and risks taken. You’ll never be happy otherwise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *