What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?
I have a BFA in Studio Art, focusing on Sculpture and BA in English, focusing on Creative Writing. I worked as the Education Coordinator at a small contemporary art museum in Rochester, MN. I was interested in working in an art museum, an art library, or someplace that combined art and education programs. I also had the requisite restaurant, food service, and and bartender work experience to help support my careers in the arts. I was a DJ who worked at a variety of events, from weddings, to fashion shows, to gallery happenings. I've always been interested in producing engaging art works, combining art and writing, like making zines, comics, and installations. I hoped I could bring these things to where ever I went after grad school.
How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?
I realized during SILS coursework that I was a good fit for working with people in a public or school library setting, even though it took a little bit to actually find myself in either of those places. After I graduated I volunteered at the Alamo in San Antonio, TX, working in the archives. I soon after began working as a teen services librarian at the San Antonio Public Library, working at four different branches throughout the city. While doing teen services outreach at schools, I realized how much I wanted to work in a school library full time. A school library job connects all the possibilities of my expertise with students and teachers, mixing libraries with sculpture, music, and more.
Another factor that contributed to seeking a school library job was my new family members. With two young daughters, my wife working full-time, and my schedule dedicated to after school and weekend hours at the public library, it was apparent that a school library schedule would be much healthier for myself and my family.
After three years of working as a teen services public librarian, I switched over to a small private high school, working as the sole librarian, serving a 400 student population. I did take a significant pay reduction switching to a private school, however the schedule and autonomy help balance out the changes. I am now slowly pursuing teacher certification in Texas, although the process is slightly more expensive and time consuming than I planned.
In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?
My current job duties and responsibilities as school librarian are to manage library resources, connect with teachers to conduct library instruction sessions, develop, maintain, and weed the library collection, create an open and welcoming space for students, teachers, and staff, and use the library space in engaging and innovative ways.
What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?
I've installed at least six art shows in the library, making the library feel like a gallery or museum. I've also created a flexible maker space, with an ever changing assortment of supplies like a 3D printer, micro dremel, werkstatt moog synth, lightbulb kits, stacks and stacks of cardboard, and more. I also expanded the comics collection, officially called "graphic novels" and "manga". No school library is complete without a selection of essential comics like the angsty explosions of Akira or the psychedelic line work of Moebius.
What were some of your best experiences at SILS?
My best experiences were connecting with students with similar interests, like working in public libraries, collaborating on curriculum projects, and putting on Guybrarian DJ nights.
What inspires or motivates you?
Remaking the world into something new. Making spaces open, welcoming, and fun. Connecting people to intriguing ideas, processes, and art works. Learning how to do new things and sharing the desire to learn totally new processes, like 3d Printing, making zines, and more.
Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?
Connect with as many SILS people as possible, building your network.