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April 12, 2006

What I want to do when I grow up

It is the practice of my library to internally publicize candidates for AP (librarian) positions - who they are, when the interview is, and if there's an open session, what they'll be presenting. This is the first time I've had it known library-wide that I'm a candidate for a position. Consequently, for the last week I've had random people approach me offering well wishes and asking me the all important hard question: "Is this what you want?"

This has made me think quite a bit about it. Ever since receiving my degree, I've just concentrated on getting a job, any job, to get my foot in the door. Now that my foot is in, even as precarious as it is, I'm finding that I really should consider this. If nothing else, it's likely someone will ask me about it in the interview process - my career goals should be geared towards what I want.

Here's what I've come up with: I'm excited about the future of libraries, and I want to take an active part in making that happen. The OCLC's Perceptions of Libraries Report gets me excited, ALA Midwinter 2005 TechTrends get me excited, ALA Midwinter 2006 Extreme Library Makeover speakers get me excited. I want to help make my library vibrant and relevant in the 21st century. Some of the specific things I'm interested in doing are:
  • Customer Service: Be more approachable to our users, and reach out to them through anticipating their needs, giving them what they want, and avoid the condescending attitude that so often prevails at the reference desk. If the stapler needs refilling, it's not beneath me to refill it!
  • Take advantage of new web technologies that streamline and advertise our services and are also part of the digital language of our students. Today's teenagers on MySpace are next year's college freshman.
  • Marketing: as a University, we do have a captive clientele, so to speak, but we can do so much more to show them how relevant and helpful the library can be. It, along with the Student Union, should be the cultural center of the University.
  • Finally, it would be nice to use my undergrad degree in some way, but I'm coming to realize that being only a subject specialist wouldn't be enough.
All that said, I still need a job. I really don't want to leave the University, which has been my home for over a decade (though the community colleges are tempting, with higher pay and 9-month contracts...mmmm...summers off...). I recognize that, even though changes are on the horizon, it still takes time, so my dream job above may not be available tomorrow, or next month, or even when my temp job expires in July. I'm also new to the profession, so while I'm drawn to the public service aspect of library services, who's to say I won't find equal satisfaction in Technical Services, or Collection Development? My job satisfaction requirements are pretty simple: as long as the work I'm doing is relevant, intellectually challenging, and makes a positive difference in the organization which is appreciated and recognized by my peers, I'm a happy camper.

A recent Library School grad can't really be too picky right now, especially one in my position: unwilling to relocate from an area that has a glut of willing MLS's.

I'm glad I'm getting so much support in my library and from so many unexpected sources. There is a great community here that seem to want me to stay, and I certainly have no desire to leave. It gives me hope for my future here, which is more than a lot of recent MLS grads can say.

1 comment:

  1. It's too bad they aren't having you give an open presentation. It was awfully difficult to obtain the giant foam rubber hands with your name on them. I had to have them custom made. And many manufacturers are understandably reluctant to make foam rubber hands with the word "ANALI" printed down the index finger.

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