Newsletter of the Association of Library and Information Science Students (ALISS)





Vol VII Issue VI

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Field Report: Ventura County California

By Sarah Bosarge
“Another year without a Christmas vacation.”

That’s what I’m thinking as I stare out at the six foot icicles hanging off my roof. I’m no fan of frigid weather, and I don’t ski. A bad combination when one lives in Park City, Utah. Wouldn’t it be nice to be somewhere warm, like Hawaii . . . or Ventura County?

I thought it would be fun to treat myself to at least a “virtual” vacation and visit my friend, distance MLIS student Barbara Eales, at her home in Oxnard, California. There to meet me are Barb, her partner John, their two cats Astro and Luna, and Jackie the Jack Russell terrier (and honorary Husky).

Oxnard is the largest city in Ventura County and is situated about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The average annual high temperature is 73 degrees and the average annual low is 51. Today it’s a pleasant 63 degrees. I think I might be able to thaw out here.

Barb has suggested several things we could do, including hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains(Barb used to be a docent for the park system there), and visiting the Huntington Library (I’d like to see the Ellesmere manuscript of the Canterbury Tales) and the Getty(which, by the way, is hiring).

Barb was born and raised in LA, graduating from UCLA in 1978 with a BA in anthropology (in spite of the fact that she comes from a long line of engineers). After a career in electronics distribution sales, she decided a few years ago that she wanted to work in libraries and so started researching MLIS opportunities. Barb explained to me, “My mom passed away in 1998 . . . and her passing really woke me up to how short a time we have to live our lives. I felt like the energy I was expending at work was no longer ‘fun’ and I wanted to spend my time doing something I was interested in and inspired by . . . One of the aspects I loved about my distributor experience was being of service to people and I tried to keep that in mind when looking to change careers.” Ventura County seems like a long way from Seattle and so I asked Barb why she chose the iSchool to pursue her MLIS education. It turns out Barb really enjoys Seattle; she’d even like to live there someday.

As a dMLIS student, Barb was able to get a job as a tech at the Camarillo Library, part of the Ventura County system. Impressed with her work and dedication, her colleagues helped her secure a $4500 grant from the state of California to use towards her education. In turn, Barb’s education is benefiting the library.

Barb said the following about her upcoming directed field work experience: “Camarillo is building a brand new library building four times the size of the one we are in, breaking ground in 2004 and slated for completion in 2006. My field work will probably be focused on training county staff and patrons on our new Dynix/Horizon system, which we are switching over to in early 2004. I have had some very receptive responses to my initial inquiries regarding introducing a county information literacy program. It feels like things are starting to really come together and I am very grateful for the opportunities the county and UW’s program are facilitating!”

Barb is a self-described “anarchist who votes Green most of the time,” and so I had to find out what she thought of having Arnold Schwarzenegger as her new state governor. She said, “I was against the recall as . . . the cost of it seemed absurd given our financial woes. However, the situation in California is bad and Davis had made some mistakes exacerbating the problems. So, my attitude about Ahnold is, ‘Let’s see what he does – I’m not sure we could do worse than the situation we were in.’ But it is a bit embarrassing to have the Governator.” She noted that one of the first things Schwarzenegger did was repeal Davis’s vehicle tax, which would have gone to support local government services such as library programs.

I can almost feel my toes again, so it’s probably time to head back home to Park City. Barb tells me that everyone should drive the California coast sometime in his or her life. Says Barb, “drive the coast from Ventura/Santa Barbara up through Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel, and Santa Cruz. That is California at it’s finest. Then keep on heading north through San Francisco . . . and the redwoods. Hit the wine country. Visit Yosemite; I can’t help myself, the sheer beauty of the first view of Yosemite Valley makes me cry every time . . . It is a gorgeous state and it is only going to get more crowded so, the sooner you visit, the better.”

I’ll have to come back “for real” some time. Until then, I have Jackie the Brat’s Harbor Tour to remind me of my virtual Christmas vacation.


Barbara Eales

Barb's dog: Jackie the Jack Russell Terrior and Honorary Husky.