Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Michael: My best, abstract answer is that I found this gig through diligence. I had been aggressively looking for professional library work for a year – before I even graduated. I signed up for the INALJ mailing list, I scoured the ALA JobList feed, www.floridalibraryjobs.org, and watched the RSS feeds for updates regarding new library positions in various counties and universities. I even geared my graduate work’s emphasis toward technology and networking, mostly because I felt it was the most interdisciplinary and marketable track available. I can’t rightly remember through which medium I found the call for a Web Services Librarian at Nova Southeastern University, but–not to demean the coolness of that role or my thankfulness for being considered–it was certainly just part of the daily resume pump. I was surprised and confused when initially contacted.
Naomi: Favorite Library?
Michael: My new home-library (the Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University) is certainly up there. Real cool. Hurricane proofed. High-tech. Naturally lit with some odd, imbued CIA-vibe. It’s the largest library building in the state of Florida and patrons enter into a five-story tall atrium.
Naomi: Favorite Book?
Michael: Egads. Atlas Shrugged is among my most profound reads. I am bothered how it has been interpreted politically, even by the author herself – the effect of the novel on me was singular, politically secular, and transformative. I’m an English major in Victorian Literature, so there’s that. Um. However, I think my favorite book of all time–we’re talking in terms of expert writing [translation] AND story–is Yevgeny Zamyatin’s WE. This was the super science fiction anticipating Orwell’s 1984. It’s a dystopian future, but you know … the presentation of the world isn’t all too dissimilar from the worlds of some of the cool new YA published in the last few years: Hunger Games, Matched [and its sequel Crossed], Divergent. All good stuff.
Naomi: Favorite Things about Libraries / Library Technology?
Michael: Its democratizing force. Also, as computers and gadgets become more ubiquitous, I think it’s reasonable not only for libraries to provide free tech support in the Geek Squad sense, but for the buildings themselves to become the wireless hubs for the community: city-wide, free [well, tax-supported] wireless internet should be pumped from the roofs of library branches. IMHO.
Naomi: Any Websites / Blogs we should be following?
Michael: In terms of job seeking: INALJ is invaluable. For my Florida colleagues, I recommend avid eyes on www.flordialibraryjobs.org. Also, it has been awhile since the site’s been updated, but www.cvparade.com has wonderfully creative examples for modern and bold CVs and Resumes. Everyone out there should have an about.me profile. If you’re still in graduate school, watch Hack Library School.
To aspiring library web developers, some advice: focus on user experience, accessibility, and usability. Design for fluidity: assume that in five years only 10% of your traffic will be on a big screen. Get comfortable with Drupal: most public libraries use drupal as their CMS. I am not personally a fan, but “Drupaliteracy” [my coinage! :)] is a pre-requisite for your resume. Museum-types and archivists should check out OMEKA for easy virtual exhibitions.
Naomi: Best Job Hunting Advice?
- Diligence. Pump out resumes and applications daily.
- If presently employed, perform expertly and innovate outside of your role and make yourself resume lines.
- Curate your online presence: make your social profiles private, get rid of any pictures and updates you don’t want your employers to see – because they will definitely scrape the web for reasons to not hire you.
- Apply nationally, even if you don’t really want to end up in Kansas [no offense …], and assume you will not be contacted anyway.
- You do not have to say “no” to an offer until it is made to you, until then everything is an exercise in job-hunting. If and when you get an offer, remember that you can say “no” to it. Sometimes you will be contacted by an employer you applied to months prior, and maybe that offer is no longer up your alley.
- Become an expert in marketing yourself. Ask around or look inward and find something about you that is positively memorable and then make that the part of you your prospective employers see in writing and in person.
- NETWORK. You all know this, but this is really the only way to learn, grow, get inspired, and GET JOBS. Please chat me up on Google+ (gplus.to/michaelschofield), Twitter [and join us for #libchat] (twitter.com/gollydamn), and everywhere else – but I’m blah about Facebook and I’m pretty sure my LinkedIn hasn’t been updated in forever.
Michael Schofield is a twenty-something librarian, sci-fi enthusiast, ultrageek, and by happenstance a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. A recent graduate from the School of Library and Information Studies at Florida State University, he has little to no reverence for the traditions of the “bibliosphere” – it should modernize, virtualize, and progressively redefine itself to remain relevant. Michael and his wife Kristen are the young [but super proud!] parents of an almost-one-year-old, who has already been dosed with a full and linguistically correct reading of the entire Lord of the Rings!
photo is Michael with his wife Kristen :)