Andy Woodworth …In Six

Reposting from 1/10/12

My interview with the fabulous blogger Andy Woodworth of Agnostic, Maybe .

Naomi: What is your dream job and why?
Andy: If I could do my blog as a full time job, I’d be ecstatic. I enjoy the conversations around these issues as well as the analysis and reactions. It would be pure heaven for me.

Naomi: What blogs should we be reading?
Andy: I just cut down on my Google Reader subscriptions, but I do have a “must read” section. That includes Bobbi Newman, Sarah Houghton, Jessamyn West, the whole Hack Library School crowd, In the Library With a Lead Pipe, Will Manley, Roy Tennant, Jason Griffey, David Lee King, David Lankes, Buffy Hamilton, Cathy Jo Nelson, Doug Johnson, Rita Meade, Toby Greenwalt, Nancy Dowd & Kathy Dempsey, Justin Honeke, Patrick Sweeny, Colleen Harris, Eric Riley, Barbara Fister, Stephen Bell, Eric Hellman, and Steve Lawson. And the occasional John Berry editorial in Library Journal.

They represent many aspects and fields in libraryland; I believe it’s important to keep informed about what is going on in other areas. This really hits it all.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Andy: With my apologies to my good friends at the Darien Public Library, but the Princeton Public Library is my favorite. It’s just right in the center of town and just feels like the future of libraries. I’ve been there for conferences and events and just enjoy it the whole time.

Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
Andy: The great irony of my chosen profession is that I’m not a big book reader. As you might gather from the blog listing above, I do a *ton* of online reading. But when I have read books, there are some that I really enjoyed: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, the David Sedaris books, the George R.R. Martin series, and the Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries?
Andy: That libraries save lives. While we tend to think of certain occupations as being lifesavers (police, fire, medical workers), I believe that making the difference in someone’s life by helping them out at their moment of need does make a difference. It’s not the dramatic experience of a fire rescue, ambulance speeding down the road, or police officer neutralizing a dangerous suspect, but it’s on the smaller scale. It’s a game of inches, so to speak, in making the little differences that add up to big ones. I believe when you can make someone’s life brighter or better, it has a ripple effect to the people and things around them. They might be a better mood, a better mindset, or a better disposition for the things that life throws at them.

People will probably argue with me on this point or bury it in modern day cynicism, but I defy them to prove me otherwise. The little things count, the little things matter, and as a librarian I can help people on that small scale.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Andy: It’s always overlooked, but talk to the people you know! This includes family, friends, distant cousins, neighbors, and old acquaintances! The healthy percentage of people placed into jobs got there through the people that they know. Human beings are social creatures that make connections to each other; use that as part of your job hunting arsenal! I got the introduction to what would eventually become my job through a friend of the family. It works, so use it!

If you feel a bit odd about asking for help, then just take a moment to be brave. Remember, these are the people in your life who love or like you; they want good things for you. And if they can help you reach those good things, they’ll be happy themselves knowing that they made the difference. Talk to them. You may be surprised by who they

Andy Woodworth is a librarian, blogger, and library activist in New Jersey. He was a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, author of the Library Journal Backtalk article “We Need Big Tent Librarianship”, co-author of the eBook User’s Bill of Rights with Sarah Houghton, and most recently the creator of the “Defending the Right to Read is Everybody’s Job” book challenge reporting awareness campaign with the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. His blog “Agnostic, Maybe” can be found at He tweets as @wawoodworth

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