Lauren John is BayNet’s newest board representative for special libraries. A librarian for the San Francisco’s Town and Country Club, she organizes monthly literary discussions and leads book groups. Her groups have appeared in public libraries, bookstores, boardrooms, museums, living rooms, retirement communities and synagogues. At Infopeople, she has taught librarians how to run book discussion groups and is the author of Running Book Discussion Groups: A How To Do It Manual.
How did you decide to become a librarian?
I originally thought that I would be a journalist and I took lot of writing and media classes in college at the State University of New York at Binghamton, which I attended from 1974-1978.
In my media and society class in my senior year, I wrote a paper about the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast that Orson Welles did on Halloween night. In the broadcast he announced that Martians had invaded New Jersey. Preposterous as that sounds today, people believed him and there was widespread national panic.
The paper that I wrote was about how and why people believed the broadcast. I went to the university library looking for answers, and the reference librarian there (wish I could remember her name) told me that I could go back to the newspapers for 1938 and read the news accounts of the broadcast and the reactions to it in the editorials. I spent hours and hours in the library looking at primary source documents on microfilm – fascinated by the letters to the editors and also sidetracked by the fashion ads. I soon realized that I was hooked on the research as much as the writing. (The paper got an A).
When I graduated from college, still unsure of what I was going to choose as a career – I took a summer class at St. John’s University School of Library Science in Jamaica, Queens. The class was about the publishing industry and the teacher was Patricia Glass Schuman – who later founded Neal-Schuman publishers. I loved the class and enrolled in the MLS program in the Fall. Note – Neal-Schuman published my book Running Book Discussion Groups in 2006.