Mon | Aug 20, 2018

A cherished career

Published:Saturday | August 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Kereen Burton, senior librarian at the Portland Parish Library. - Photo by Gareth Davis

Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer

Port Antonio, Portland:

Making the switch from teaching, which was her first-choice career, to becoming a librarian was not the easiest of decisions for 34-year-old Kereen Burton, who continues to excel in her profession.

Burton, who started out as a pre-trained teacher at Gideon Educational Centre in Buff Bay, Portland, in 1997, only spent a short period in the classroom as she quickly developed a liking and passion for the Jamaica Library Service.

"I learnt about a vacancy at the Buff Bay Branch Library," she said. "I hurriedly applied and was successful. I started out as a records officer, a job which allowed me to learn a lot about the operation of the Jamaica Library Service, its service offerings, its relevance, and its impact on people's lives. By then, I was more than convinced that I had made the right switch, and I was on fire for more and my passion was more intense."

Burton spent 10 years in the post, where she had overall responsibility for circulation and reference duties, carrying out tasks related to income-generating activities; coordinating programmes and activities for both adult and junior clients; and managing daily routine functions with the guidance of the rural development and senior librarians.

Her desire to succeed and to remain relevant as an employee were the motivating factors behind her going to the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2004.

According to Burton, she was forced to work part time and attend classes at the UWI while travelling from Buff Bay to Kingston daily, which was very challenging. But it was something she was determined to do as she also wanted to care for and spend valuable time with her newborn child.

Burton further said: "I was determined to play a major role in my daughter's life, and I wanted to be close to her at all times. There were days when I was stranded in Annotto Bay (St Mary) for hours at night, trying to get home after leaving university. But each time, I remembered my child, the negatives, and any thought of quitting disappeared."

Enjoying her job

Burton graduated from university with a bachelor's in library and information studies, with a minor in education. Her success afforded her the opportunity to assume the role of being in charge of children services at the Portland Parish Library.

Today, Burton is the senior librarian at the Portland Parish Library, a job she thoroughly enjoys, especially with the overwhelming support she has received from staff members.

Continuing, Burton said, "We are a family here and we continue to display levels of professionalism at the workplace. There is some similarity to my first-choice career of teaching, and at the library, the emphasis is to get more and more persons to read, including children and the elderly. The library is all about educating, informing, and entertaining."