Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Fulfilling Your Dreams

I Always Knew

by Leila R. Ferrari

Pat was a librarian at heart and in her work world. Her ability to relate to children and adults alike made possible a wide variety of opportunities for all the age groups involved at the residential center. Her time there was a treasure for all of us. This story is in Pat’s own words.

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I remember when I always knew what I wanted to do. I always knew I wanted to be a librarian. I was in third grade when I knew I wanted to be a librarian. The teacher asked me to be the narrator in the play because I was the best reader. I bought those Scholastic books because we had no real school library at that time. I would put cards in the books and check them out to my friends.


I thought things would go in a straight line, this would happen, this would happen, boom, and I would be there. I remember going through some very interesting turns on the way there. Some were painful and not what I expected. I always thought too, that I would have my career and also get married, this and this would happen. But that never happened. I remember having great pain and then out of the blue having a chance to go to library school. I remember going to school and taking three times the amount of studies as anyone else. I remember “remembering when” and “asking why” at the same time.

Librarian training is a master’s level training. I worked full time and went to school at night. I borrowed from the credit union, went to school at night, had to drop out a year at a time to pay back the loan so I was eligible to apply for another loan. Close to the end, the school actually gave me the money to finish up one class because I was so close to the five-year deadline. I worked for a private company throughout the time I went to library school. [As a volunteer] at the rescue mission, a Sunday afternoon program was in place for the kids, which I became a part of. Sometimes I brought my sewing machine down and showed them how to use it. They would occasionally go on field trips and they would always get a meal. Typically, the Sunday program was like a Sunday school, with songs, talks, and artwork. I saw the same kids most of the time.

Some people would say that it’s only taken so-and-so a year and a half, but it’s taken me five years, due to financial problems. Some people just skated through. I remember when I first completed my studies, and got my first librarian job, I toured a rescue mission with the feeling that I should be doing something there. So I called the director and worked up a program to deal with the kids involved. I worked there several years as a volunteer. Then came the time to move on. Later a position was created at a children’s residence, and everything seemed to come together, the right people were at the home, at the school, in power at the time. It all came together and everything fell into place in exactly the right way. It was an important time as far as being able to do something real in my life. Everything came together in a strong way.

Here’s what I would tell other librarians. Find out what your strengths are as a person, and go with that. Don’t let anyone deter you. If you’re good in this one area, don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not important. Don’t let them tell you, why don’t you do it like so and so. Do it your own way. My way is just as good, it’s just different. It’s okay for people to have different approaches.

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Pat’s expression of resilience is especially strong concerning the pursuit of her educational goals. Once she established the educational program required to realize her dream, she went after it in any way that suited her fancy. This included learning to ignore some people while listening to others, which is another example of setting boundaries and listening to oneself. These tools help overcome obstacles and provide a shining example of resilience.

About the Author

As a psychology major, educator, and later a family therapist, Leila R. Ferrari has a keen interest in how individuals face difficulties and solve problems. She obtained permission among acquaintances in the business and professional world, co-workers, administrators, and personal graduate school friends at the time, to interview and tape-record their personal stories. The topics covered overcoming obstacles, surviving and thriving beyond traumatic events, as well as solving everyday challenges. This is one of those stories.

*Names and other pertinent details in this story were changed to protect privacy. 

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
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