What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?
I had worked in public and academic libraries for about a decade before attending SILS. I made the decision to get my library degree because I enjoyed my work, but I realized that I wanted to be a leader in libraries. My education at SILS was the first step in that direction.
How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?
While attending SILS, I simultaneously pursued a second master's degree in public administration, graduating with a dual degree. By pairing my technical library training with organizational leadership, project management, and decision analysis skills, I prepared myself for non-traditional library jobs that tend to focus on collaboration, library data management, and assessment.
My first position after graduate school was working for a library consortium. A year and a half prior, I had pitched them a research project idea that turned into an internship. The internship gave me an opportunity to build relationships and show what I could bring to the team. When they had a full-time position open up about the time I graduated from SILS, I applied and got the job.
In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?
As Director of Library Assessment at Georgetown University Library, I am responsible for developing and implementing the library's assessment program. I work closely with colleagues to evaluate the quality and impact of the library's services and resources through original research projects and ongoing data analysis. A big part of my job is listening to people and helping them to formulate solid research questions so that every assessment project has a defined purpose and specific outcomes.
What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?
Although my job responsibilities focus solidly on assessment, I also spend some of my time collaborating with a small group of colleagues to organize professional development activities within Georgetown University Library. I enjoy planning events that support increased communication across library departments and between administrative levels. And of course, we ask for feedback from our participants, so knowing that our staff is benefiting from these activities makes me feel very proud.
What were some of your best experiences at SILS?
I wouldn't have the position I have today if I hadn't taken a management class at SILS that left me wanting more. The class was meant to be an overview of management theories and in that sense it achieved its purpose, but I was craving more practical strategies and real-world applications. It was that experience that pushed me to pursue a dual degree with public administration, and because I built a skill set that went beyond the standard library science curriculum, I think I stood out on the job market. I have the position that I have today because SILS helped me build beyond the basic librarian skill set.
What inspires or motivates you?
About once a week, a colleague will pop into my office and say something along the lines of, "Hey, I'm thinking about doing a project and I think I need to gather some data. Can we talk?" Absolutely, let's talk. More than anything, I want my colleagues to feel comfortable reaching out to me, and to feel that I am listening. Whether they need help defining a problem or setting up a pivot table, I am inspired by people who ask tough questions and open themselves up to new possibilities.
Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?
Find out what you're great at, and then help others learn to love what you love. On the flip side, it is wonderful to work with people who are passionate and positive, so seek out those people, and learn all that you can from them.