Naomi: What is your dream job and why?
Elizabeth: Librarians are such a terrific bunch of people and I am so proud to be counted among their members. So, a “library” type position. My job is not necessarily a specific position, but a collection of requirements that capitalize on what I see as my strengths- my technological skills, and my analytic problem solving mind. I enjoy working independently.
My current position fits the bill- I am a single librarian for an online campus of students. As such, there’s no physical library; I can work (on occasion) from home, which is a nice perk for a librarian. I am constantly seeking new technologies and ways to better serve my population. I develop and implement new programs–our library VP is very good about allowing me to explore and experiment.
Ironically, despite my independent streak, one of the things I miss about my position is more close interaction with other librarians- I often chat with other librarians at my institution, but I might actually meet them in person only once a week or every other week.
Naomi: If you could take any of your hobbies and create a job out of them or integrate it into your job what would it be? And how?
Elizabeth: lol- a crossword puzzle beta tester? Recipe tester? Beefeater without the risk? Reader of new fiction? Honestly, for the most part. I am very happy with library work and my current job.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Elizabeth: My undergraduate alma mater’s. Grinnell College is a user-centered library, and it shows. They have always worked hard to create user friendly spaces and the staff members are highly motivated and helpful.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Elizabeth: The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. I first read it in elementary school and it was the first time I thought about words and the use of language.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Elizabeth: The way libraries and library technology is always getting better- its dynamic nature. Also the way it is merging with mainstream finding tools. I know most people hate change, but I love it.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Elizabeth: I was a career counselor for several years and a professional resume writer for many more than that, so I’ve thought a lot about this questions. Two things: breaking into the library field can be a challenge. Figure out what your transferable skills are and learn to market them. You have to learn to market yourself. Second: Volunteer. The unpaid library work I’ve done has been far more vital for me becoming a “known” entity in the field. I’ve also garnered skills that have helped me beef up my CV.
Elizabeth Leonard has (like many librarians) had an eclectic past- but there’s always been a common theme- career services. She began writing resumes as she finished her undergraduate degree at Grinnell College. She continued to write resumes for fun and profit for the next 20 years, during which she had a successful career in IT, a Master’s degree from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and a stint as a Career Counselor helping soldiers transition from the military to the civilian world. After receiving her second Master’s in Library and Information Science and finding a great library job, she continued to see terrific jobs which she wished to find a way to share with others. Apparently, Naomi House was having the same idea. They teamed up together to create the Facebook page and twitter streams for “I need a library job.” Presently, Elizabeth continues to support Naomi with her highly successful INALJ revolution.
originally published (bio only) on 10/16/11