Today would be a links of note post Saturday, but because there’s been so much going on in my life over the last couple of weeks, that’s not going to happen. Most of what I had planned on linking up is stuff that I pulled together in a post on Book Riot this week, “We Need Bigger Megaphones For Diversity in Kid Lit.” What I have to say isn’t that important. It’s what the links in the post say that stands out.
Sunday — tomorrow — marks five years since Kimberly and I started STACKED. We plan on a few of celebratory posts next week, including interviews of one another and a giveaway of books that have impacted us in some capacity while we’ve been blogging.
In no way did I think I’d be doing this and loving this for five years. I thought it would be fun and enjoyable. That I’d read a lot of books and talk about them.
I never thought that blogging would lead me to some of the best and most important friendships and relationships in my life. But it has, and I’m beyond grateful for that every single day.
Over these last five years, I’ve been working in libraries. First, at a suburban two-library system. Then to a small, individual library where I was the entirety of youth services. Then on to the semi-urban library I’m at now. Each of these library positions has come with accomplishments and with set backs. In each position, I learned as much about who I am and how I function and think and work as I did about the job itself and how other people function and think and work. In some ways, it’s been really good and in other ways, it’s made me do a lot of thinking about what I want to be doing down the road.
I knew pretty early on that management in libraries was something I had no interest in. The problem is that in public libraries, you can only go so far without choosing a management path. Especially if you’re in the kind of position I’m in, being a little location bound and that location isn’t an urban area with many opportunities available.
It was with many of the friends I’d made through this blog I was able to get through some of these hard parts of my career. I’d work through what was tripping me up, talk about my wants and needs in a career. I’d talk about the good, too, but I knew through these conversations and just my living and working through my life that I needed to change something.
There have been days, especially recently, getting out of bed has been hard. My mental well-being was taking a severe hit in a way that was a wakeup call to me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t taking steps to make a change. It was that the impact of not figuring it out and feeling overwhelmed with what was currently on my plate was hitting me hard.
Last week, I had one of those days. It was Tuesday. I got up, I went through my morning routine, then I checked out and went back to bed. I made it through, then I made it through Wednesday, too. Would I make it to the weekend, though?
Thursday, I got a message in my inbox I wasn’t expecting. Would I be interested in a job? It wasn’t in librarianship, but it was a job that melded a lot of interests and passions I had together and I was the first person they thought of for it.
It took everything not to respond with an enthusiastic yes the minute I got that email. Not because it was a way out of where I was. But because it was a way into something I was exceptionally excited about.
I let it sit in my inbox for a few hours while I went through the rest of my routine, got through my shift at work. Then I responded.
On Friday morning, I talked with Rebecca on the phone, hearing more about the job and what all it would entail. “I know you’d not talked about wanting to change careers so I had no idea if you would really be interested but…”.
Of course she didn’t know because it wasn’t something I talked about. Because I love libraries and librarianship. Because there’s so much opportunity within the community.
I am ready for the change.
Starting May 1, I’m going to be an associate editor and community manager for Book Riot, with some responsibilities over at Food Riot, as well.
I put in my notice at the library this week, and over the last few days, everything has been a whirlwind in the best possible way. How do you wrap your head around not just a new job, but a new career all together? It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I’ve been on and off all week about it, in terms of trying to close down one part of my brain and my routine and prepare myself to open up to a new one.
A few years ago, a friend I met through blogging told me that you can’t always predict the way a path goes. That it’s not always going to be clear, but that it will unfold in the ways its meant to, when it’s meant to do so. And that person was right.
You can’t predict the way that the path moves. You can only be open to the possibility it might zig or zag, whether or not you know just how much you need it to do so.
But I am so excited about this opportunity.
At this point, I don’t foresee changes to Stacked. Libraries and reaching teens are still passions, and I hope that by continuing to write here and write at Book Riot, I’m of help to those who work with teens, with YA books, or who themselves have respect and interest for YA. Instead, this means there will be more writing at Book Riot in addition to the writing here. There might be hiccups or bumps or the need for adjustments down the road, but until there’s a change in the path, this is still my home.
Last year, I wrote a post called “You Can, You Do, and You Will.” Rereading it today, it still hits home everything I think and feel — and maybe even more this year, this time around.
This is a huge opportunity and I hope that I’m able to really work toward doing more of the things I’m passionate about in a venue that’s been so supportive, nurturing, and fun to be a part of.
Kelly Jensen is a former librarian turned editor for Book Riot. She's the author of IT HAPPENS: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader and the forthcoming Feminism For The Real World (Algonquin Young Readers, Spring 2017).