In my May/June column we heard from media specialists who are refocused and recharged in their second careers. They are busy with writing, speaking, online teaching, consulting, and multimedia production. In Part 2 we will learn how these accomplished people built a bridge to retirement and what they have to say about all they’ve learned in their new careers.
Maintaining Professional Organization Relationships
Active membership in a professional media organization is key to building that bridge to retirement. The former media specialists interviewed for this article were involved in their state professional organizations while they were fully employed; many were also active nationally. They served as committee chairs and state officers and held many leadership posts vital to establishing contacts and acquiring skills and attitudes that help them now. Most importantly, they established contacts and made relationships with people they now work with in their new careers. Sharron McElmeel, online instructor, author, and speaker, wrote, "So all the while I was building my public school career as a library media specialist, I was also planting the seeds of what was to come—I used my research skills to expand my personal goals of building a nation of readers, one family, one community, one state at a time. So for twenty plus years I have been doing what I am doing now—only in different proportions."
Pam Cheskey’s multifaceted positions in the New Jersey Association of School Librarians helped her get started in a rewarding new career. "About two months before my retirement was to take effect, I received a call from Dr. Carol Kuhlthau asking if I would be interested in working with Rutger’s University School of Communication, Information and Library Studies … Of course I did not hesitate to say yes. This is the dream job for a school library media specialist," she noted. Cheskey’s professional contacts have helped her reach out for support in setting goals for the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) at Rutgers and establish partnerships within the library world in New Jersey as well as other states. Gail Petri’s dream job with the Library of Congress began with contacts she made as an American Memory Fellow.
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