This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions
by Rachael Altman, Head Editor, INALJ Alabama
Meet Rachel Chenault: INALJ Alabama Assistant Editor and Reference & Instruction Librarian at South University
Rachael A: Favorite Library you have been to?
Rachel C: The Erie County Public Library in Erie, PA is my favorite because it’s the library I grew up in. The children’s section was downstairs. It felt like being let in on a secret to be able to go down there. I also got to play with American Girls dolls there, which was super neat! They of course had all the American Girl books, too.
Rachael A: Favorite book?
Rachel C: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Rachael A: Favorite website/blog?
Rachel C: librarianwardrobe.com
Rachael A: Favorite thing about libraries/library technologies?
Rachel C: This is not a technology, but I love how libraries enable people to share their mutual like or dislike of a certain book. It’s so validating when someone shares your opinion in this way.
Rachael A: If you could take any of your hobbies and create a job of it or integrate it into your job, what would it be? And how?
Rachel C: I would love to be in charge of a specialized collection dealing with food, Jane Austen, British Mystery writers, or British Romantic poets.
Rachael A: You have been working in libraries for a number of years–what positions have you held? How did you get these jobs?
Rachel C: I started out as a student worker. I found this job through a friend who worked at the library. While in library school, I worked as a graduate assistant, then Library assistant I, and Library Assistant II. The assistant positions just happened to be open while I was getting my MLIS and directly after I finished my degree. I got married and moved to Michigan and got a job in medical records at a large medical office. I found this job through the state employment website. I then was able to later transfer to the main hospital once I was in the system. After the medical jobs, I applied for a public library position back in Alabama. One of my references knew the assistant director there, and gave me a good recommendation. I had a phone interview and then flew-in for an in-person interview. Both went well and I was offered the job. My current position I heard about through two colleagues at separate organizations. I had three interviews that went great and I am currently thriving in my new position.
Rachael A: Best piece of job hunting/career advice?
Rachel C: Look everywhere. When actively looking, I check ALA, regional library organization, state library organizations, hospital/ medical facilities, usajobs.gov, libgig.com, city/county sites, state employment sites, and I still check the newspaper and trade journals. You never know what will lead to your next job. Be open to anything. My time in medical records got me interested in Health Information Management.