My interview with Ellie of In the Library with the Lead Pipe
Naomi: What is your dream job and why?
Ellie: If they need a librarian at the Franklin Institute, that could be a top contender. And if we’re dreaming big enough for me to also magically have the competencies required, I’d also be happy to be the librarian at Fermilab or Cern. (Can you tell I have a thing for science?) As it is, I’d have to say, sappy as it sounds, that being a librarian has turned out to be the real dream job for me. I’ve had other jobs and they’ve always been what I do; being a librarian is what I am. It’s part of my definition of self. Working in community colleges has been particularly rewarding and inspiring.
Naomi: What blogs should we be reading?
Ellie: In the Library with the Lead Pipe, obviously.
When I first started out as a librarian I followed most of the names everyone has heard of. As my workload has piled up and my at work blog reading time has dwindled and my willingness to do work related reading at home has dwindled, so too has my librarian RSS feed.
A few librarian blogs that I particularly enjoy are:
- Attempting Elegance
- Information Wants to Be Free
- Pegasus Librarian
- Swiss Army Librarian
For presentation ideas I like Presentation Zen.
And unrelated to librarianship, I have been completely absorbed in issues of gender and diversity in gaming and highly recommend The Border House.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Ellie: I haven’t done a lot of library sight seeing, so I’m going to go with my hometown library – the Indian Valley Public Library. This is the library where, for my 9th grade paper on Christopher Columbus, I learned to search for books with broader terms and then use the index to see if my topic is covered. They granted me informational interviews with several of their staff (including the director) when I decided to go to library school. It’s where my mom recently showed me her adorable technique for picking what mystery to read next – look for a long running series (many matching spines in a row) with mild mannered covers. (She prefers cosies.) And I have fond memories of sitting in their giant circular wall.
Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
Ellie: I’m not very good at favorites. And for a librarian, I don’t really read full on books that much. I really enjoy Oscar Wilde (last year my friends and I had a fantastic tea party where we read aloud The Importance of Being Earnest), Philip Pullman (The Ruby in the Smoke was my absolute favorite book as a child) and Dickens. David Attenborough’s autobiography, Life on Air, was fantastic if you’re already a fan. More recently, I just finished the first two books of a trilogy by Kameron Hurley that were excellent.
For library reading I highly recommend Critical Library Instruction: Theory and Methods and Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educators.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries?
Ellie: They’re full of awesome people.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Ellie: Write a good cover letter. Most jobs ask for communication skills and this is where you prove you have them.
Lastly, I will add that it is very clear to me that my technology skills, and more specifically my willingness and ability to learn new ones, were highly influential in getting every one of my library jobs to date.
Ellie Collier is a Reference & Instruction Librarian at Normandale Community College, a 2008 Emerging Leader, and one of the co-founders and editors of In the Library with the Lead Pipe. She is also an avid gamer (board & video), crafter, and deep sea aficionado.