Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Police Officer and a Librarian

I was fascinated by a brief article in the current issue of Information Outlook, the monthly magazine of the Special Libraries Association, which highlights the association's Government Information Division and includes an accompanying profile of one of its members, Tom Rink. (The article is restricted to SLA members.)

Rink, who is the current president of Oklahoma's SLA chapter, is perhaps the only librarian with the distinction of also being a police officer. Rink worked as an officer for the Tulsa Police Department for several years when he began contemplating a career change. He participated in a career exploration course at a local community college which ultimately told him that librarian was a career he was well suited for. This was an ironic result, since both of Rink's parents were librarians.

Rink pursued a master's degree in Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma and after completing his degree, admits that he wasn't willing to take a significant pay cut that would come with the switch to a full-time librarian position.

A solution presented itself fifteen months after Rink became a librarian when the Sergeant of the department's Planning and Research Unit asked Rink to build a library for the department. It definitely hasn't always been an easy job, but Rink still seems amazed and thrilled to have been able to combine his two interests into a new career.

Because I was fascinated by Rink's story, I found two additional articles for your reading pleasure:

"Librarians -- on the cutting edge of the information age: the round-about story of the “Gun-Carrying” Librarian." (Rink talks at length about his involvement in the Special Libraries Association at both the state and national level and how it has added to his professional development.)

"An Officer and a Librarian--Tom Rink"


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