Magenta Jasinski, Library Assistant at Fenway High School and MA/MLIS Candidate at Simmons University.
2. How did you come to librarianship?
I came to librarianship at the ripe old age of 16, when I started working at a page at the Pauline Haass Public Library in Sussex, Wisconsin. It was an upgrade from the previous job I had, and I fell in love with the field when we did a group "page tour" around the library. I got to talk to all of the full-time librarians about what they do and why they like doing it. I connected with the youth services librarian, who I referenced in my personal statement to get into grad school. From then on, I've been working, volunteering, or interning in libraries of all types— in a church, a toy library, schools, public libraries, and more.
3. How would you explain the importance of your role to a nonlibrarian?
My role as a library assistant in a high school is to support the librarian. I do all of the things she doesn't have time for, like shelving books, making sure the printer is working, making sure kids are leaving when the library is closing, preparing materials as requested, and any other tasks laying around. If it wasn’t for this position, the librarian wouldn't have time to do the more important things like co-teaching, research help, and more.
4. What are you working on right now?
I'm working on a lot of MLIS stuff, like a thesis paper for my Fundamentals of School Library Teaching class, as well as long-term projects. These include developing a camp library for Camp Lightbulb, where I'll be working in July; I'm also doing a diversity audit for my school library. Further out, I'm working on creating a Student Interest Group (SIG) for MSLA and Salem State and Simmons for students to connect with each other, as well as brainstorming ideas for my capstone project.
5. What is going well?
I've found that I really enjoy getting to know students and having an informal relationship with them, as well as making the librarian's life easier. Since my second job is a graduate assistant for the Simmons Center for Community Engagement, I've done programming with my high schoolers outside of their school building, which was exciting. This position has been my first in a school setting, so I've been enjoying learning everything I can as I apply for full-time jobs.
6. What is the most challenging thing so far?
The most challenging thing has been behavior enforcement. I want students to see me as a resource they can come to or just someone to chat with, as I'm not THAT much older than them. However, when they're making out in the shadowy corners of the library and I have to close the space, I hate having to break them up. The awkward conversations and “please quiet down” reminders aren't my favorite.
7. What's the most unexpected thing about your new job?
The most unexpected thing was the connection I've forged with the librarian. Bonnie McBride (Ms. McB, as students call her) is one of the best people I could be working with in this capacity, and she's been a great resource. I didn't think that we would mesh on a personal and a professional level, and it's been fantastic to have her as a job reference and role model to look up to (even though she's shorter than me!).
8. What are you reading or watching?
I've been trying to read the queer books that have been donated to the Camp Lightbulb Library, so my most recent titles have been Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (read her coming out article here: I loved it so much), I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman, and She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan. I can't just read one book! I've been watching Cowboy Bebop and Twin Peaks: The Return while I do homework.
9. What do you hope the MA School Library Association can do for you?
I hope the MSLA can help me further my professional development and help me start off strong in the profession with networking. I've been a member since February, which is only about two months, but I've gotten so much out of the group already. I've gotten many donations for my camp library from the Listerv, I've connected with a lot of people at this past conference in March, I've been able to send articles to those who request them, and I feel like I have a good group of people I can go to for advice and support. Like I mentioned, I'd love for MSLA to help me start the SIG, so I hope that happens!