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Naomi House’s interview with success story Laura.
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Laura: I was fortunate enough to begin my San Jose State University MLIS studies right when the school began focusing on virtual internships so I stumbled across one of the first paid virtual internships in the SJSU SLIS Internship Database (http://slisapps.sjsu.edu/libr294/index.php). I interned with Credo for three semesters and when I completed my studies, I was offered a full-time position.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Laura: I know I should choose a library with a name that brings a mental picture to each and every reader’s mind but truthfully my very favorite library is the one that I grew up going to: the Hampton Public Library, or as I called it when I was little, “the Clock Library.” It doesn’t have an impressive big building. Actually, I think that the space that it occupies was not necessarily built for a library since it’s in a sort of shopping center in Hampton, Virginia, but I still remember getting my first library card there–my cursive was slightly worse than it is today–and reading as many books as possible so that I could put stickers on the summer reading display. That’s impressive Youth Services if it stuck with me into my mid-twenties!
Naomi: Favorite book?
Laura: This is a tough one, as I’m sure it is for all avid readers. I’m going to go with the book that has change my life most recently and that would be Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. As a part of a really great Credo HR program called “Be Good Do Good,” each Credo employee is encouraged to choose a stretch health goal to try to achieve by the end of the year with the incentive of $500 for your favorite charity if you do it. This year my goal is to go vegan for March and August since I’m already vegetarian and I wanted to see if I could do it. We’re only a few days into March but I spent some time during my first vegan weekend reading Eating Animals and watching food documentaries and I’m already convinced that this is no longer just a Be Good Do Good goal for me. I recommend this book to everyone as the best books are those that make you think and Foer most definitely makes you think.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Laura: The collaboration required to make them work in the Digital Age. Libraries have obviously always involved partnerships with the community and with government for funding but the new library requires so many individuals with different talents in order to thrive. On a related note, I really like how the MLIS degree is so flexible and the skills gained through these studies can be applied in many different contexts, including in positions similar to my current one as a marketing analyst at an information skills provider.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Laura: I’m sure that this is expected but INALJ is an absolute MUST follow. I’m on my local library association’s conference planning committee and INALJ recently came up in conversation and everyone was like, “You must know about this.” I find value in it and I’m happy in my current position so I can only imagine what it does for those who are seeking new positions.
Also, Libraries Thriving, the free online community for e-resource innovation and information literacy promotion. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a co-coordinator of the community but it’s free and vendor-neutral and the free online seminars facilitated by the community leaders feature industry leaders sharing best practices that you might not find elsewhere. And, well, they’re free.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Laura: Network, network, network! If you’re uncomfortable with it, then call it “socializing” and pep talk yourself while looking in the mirror because it’s definitely a must! When I was in library school I tried going it alone but found that it just wouldn’t work. Socializing with fellow students and professors was out of the question as SJSU is in California and my distance-based studies meant I was on the East Coast so the best professional decision I made was to commit time to meeting local librarians. The best thing that I did during my studies was logging into ALA Connect and beginning an email correspondence with Megan Hodge, a very active local librarian who became one of my close friends and who still opens up opportunities for me to gain experience and meet other librarians in my area. Find your Megan Hodge!
Laura Miller is a Marketing Analyst for Credo and Co-Coordinator of Libraries Thriving, an online community for librarians and other researchers interested in e-resource innovation and information literacy promotion. Laura has extensive experience partnering with libraries of all shapes and sizes to develop e-resource marketing plans that demonstrate library value. She holds an MLIS from San Jose State University and a BA of English and Women’s Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.