t was hinted at that some folks out there might want to know a little about me.
Well I was born in Columbia, S.C., many, many years ago. When I graduated from high school, I then attended the University of South Carolina — yes that means I am a huge Gamecock fan — and majored in chemical engineering. I studied hard and while attending USC, and worked various jobs — one being with DuPont. I finally graduated and went to work for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control as an environmental engineer.
As an environmental engineer, I regulated the maintenance of facilities in South Carolina that handled hazardous waste and monitored the cleanup of sites that had been contaminated by hazardous waste. It was a great job and I worked with some wonderful people. I did this for 14 years.
About 11 years into the job, I guess I grew up a bit because I started to ask myself: “Is this really what you want to do when you grow up?” The answer I arrived at was no. The next step in my thought process was then: “Well, what job do you see yourself doing for the foreseeable future?” I had not a clue. While working at South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, I had for many years been involved with semi-professional theater with a company in Columbia named TRUSTUS. You name a job that is done in a theater and I have probably done it. What I was best at though was stage management and I think others respected the job I did. So I briefly toyed with the idea of going back to school and getting a masters of fine arts in Stage Management. I was accepted by several schools, but after intense self-analysis, I decided not to follow that path.
It was then that I started thinking about my love of reading. That led to starting to think about being a librarian. Now I knew liking to read was not reason enough to pursue this career choice. So I started volunteering at the Richland County Public Library and investigated the various areas of librarianship that there were to choose from in the field. I did this for two years and discovered that I absolutely loved working with kids and young people.
The next stop was applying to the masters of Library and Information Services program at the University of South Carolina. During the application process, I was interviewed by the head of the program and it was quite puzzling to her (as well to many of my family and friends) why a chemical engineer would want to pursue a career change to a children’s/teen librarian. The answer was simple, at least to me. It made me happy. I loved working with kids and teens and could think of no better ideal than to pass on to them a love of reading and knowledge base. It also helped that I am somewhat goofy and a natural entertainer. Additionally, I was basically an adult who never quite grew completely up so I shared many of the same interest as kids and teens.
If you are still interested, next time I will elaborate on my experience in working in libraries and more. If you feel you have read enough about me, I can also certainly change the subject. Thank you for your indulgence.
n Bill Corder is the Youth Services Librarian at the Robeson County Public Library.