What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?
I graduated with a bachelor's in economics and quickly realized that I wasn't interested in any "traditional" jobs for economists. Turns out, investment banking just wasn't for me. After a year teaching English in Shanghai (to clear my brain) and a year and a half working as job coach for adults with autism, I was ready for the next phase of my life.
Hello, library school!
How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?
My first job out of SILS was as a reference librarian at the Main Library at Durham County Library. That was a great job! I learned a lot about working with a diverse population, finding out about community needs, and addressing them on the cheap. From there, I moved to being the Adult Services Manager at the Southwest Regional Library when it reopened in 2010. Also a great job! I worked with a completely different population (even though I was only about five miles away) and got to learn how to address a different type of need. Plus, it's a busy, busy library. That job kept me and my awesome coworkers on their toes.
I also write romance novels, under my real name. Never read a romance novel and want to start? Shoot me an email for recommendations.
In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?
Now I work at NoveList, as a NoveList Consultant, which means I'm of the Sales and Marketing team. I do demos for customers, answer questions from the sales force about NoveList products, write marketing content for the website, newsletters, etc, and do the occasional training and presentation. You'll see me at ALA, Midwinter, and PLA. Stop by the EBSCO booth and chat.
It may seem like it's a far cry from what I did as a librarian, but my library training serves me well. When I'm talking to libraries, the experience I had as a librarian helps me understand their needs. I also have that librarian instinct--how can I serve you? How can I make your experience better?
The best part of my current job is that I'm talking with librarians from around the country (and world) abut their programs and services. Since I started here, I feel like I have a better overall view of public library services then I did when working for Durham or when in library school. And I get to share the awesome things libraries are doing and help them make a bigger impact. I get to help them serve their community better. Can't ask for more than that.
What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?
I think it's best for me to answer this job by job. While at the Main Library, I worked particularly with people looking for jobs, applying for school, taking online classes, etc. I still see some of the people I helped with job applications out and about on their jobs--over seven years later. I know I made a tangible difference in someone's life and that makes me proud.
At Southwest, I focused on readers' services, specifically on romance readers. I won the Romance Writers of the Year Librarian of the Year Award in 2010, organized large romance fan events, and am still running a romance book club that has been going strong for seven years. While I'm proud of all of those things, the support the women in the romance book club offer to each other still astounds me.
Here at NoveList, I'm still working to make my mark. Without sounding too sales-ey, I'm really excited to play a part in bringing linked data for libraries. I think it's important to the future of libraries and I get to play a role right from the beginning.
What were some of your best experiences at SILS?
The Oxford trip! I developed some lasting relationships with the people on my trip and some of the lessons I learned there have stuck with me. Plus, I have a Bodleian library card.
What inspires or motivates you?
Libraries. I believe in libraries and everything they can do to make a community stronger. And librarians and library staff are at the heart of that serve. We make it happen.
Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?
Be open to your future. It's easy to think that you're going to do one thing (I was going to be a law librarian, had taken the LSAT, was working at the law library and everything), but one class can change your mind. Nancy Blood talking about readers' advisory in Claudia Gollop's reference class opened my eyes to something I hadn't known existed. Between that and listening to Duncan Smith talk about readers' advisory interviews in my popular materials class with Barbara Moran, my career-trajectory was changed forever. And for the better.