Talking with Tidewater colleagues and reading the journals, I realize that we are not the only library system having difficulty filling positions. We have positions, including Master's-level positions, which have been vacant for over a year and have not had many applicants. We are now also in a hiring freeze. All this has forced us to find creative ways to fill these positions. We have decided that the Newport News Public Library System needs to "grow" our staff so we have embarked on using part of our state aid for public libraries to fund the graduate level studies of one of our paraprofessionals. We are also developing a plan that includes continuing education activities for staff development that will hopefully result in promotional opportunities for non-Master's positions.

This brought up the question: Just why did I become a librarian? What influenced me to take up this career? Was there someone who influenced the decision, or did I stumble into it? Did a particular event cause me to choose this -career?

I had always thought that I was one of those who stumbled into it. I had graduated with a degree in French and had planned to enter the State Department or the Peace Corps. I didn't make it into either and had not taken any education courses, so I was not eligible to teach in my state. I had started to work in libraries when I was a senior in high school, cataloging and processing books. My father had always said I would be a librarian, but I had always fought against it. I am not sure why-perhaps because of the glamour associated with my other career goals or because I didn't want/like the stereotypical image of glasses and bun. But I remained at the Oshkosh Public Library, became a branch assistant, and finally decided to go to graduate school.

It wasn't until recently that I realized that there had been many persons along the way who influenced my decision. Gloria Hoegh was the first librarian I remember knowing. She was a bookmobile libra-rian with the Oshkosh Public Library and the quintessential librarian. I was a grade-schooler, yet she allowed me the freedom to browse the entire collection without, I thought, any apparent supervision. Little did I realize that the conversations we had about the books I was reading and her suggestions of "well if you liked-then you'll probably like-" were just that. At the same time, Leonard Archer became the director of the library. Mr. Archer was pretty exotic for a fairly conservative community. My gosh, he came from New York-that hotbed of way-out, liberal ideas. He began a collaboration with the local college to develop a "peoples' university." The really neat thing about this was that his vision did not limit it to adults; youth were included and indeed often seemed to be the focus. His laughter and enthusiasm for trying new ideas showed me the joy of librarianship. Peter Hamon came to Oshkosh in the 80's as extension services librarian. Talk about learning management techniques! Can you think of anyone who would let a bunch of pages run around the library decorating all the plaster busts with crowns of holly and felt eyeballs? And he was pretty tolerant of the time we managed to set a marble stand for one of the statues on another page's foot! At the same time, he taught me that the quality of service provided is one of the greatest measures of effectiveness. They all quietly led me to the career of librarianship through their own actions and guidance. I owe them all a debt of gratitude for leading me to a profession that gives me great joy and excitement.

Well, all of this led me to ask my colleagues why they chose librarianship. Here are some bits and pieces of their responses:

Let's hope that we can instill that same love of and excitement for librarianship in others.