My interview with success story Emily Singley
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Emily: I set up a customized feed at Higher Ed Jobs. I also saw it posted on INALJ and Simmons GSLIS Jobline. I had all my job site feeds coming into Google Reader, and also set up a list of job sites on Twitter. I checked them all a couple times a week.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Emily: For sheer impressiveness, I’d have to say it’s the cathedral to books that is Yale’s Sterling.
Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
Emily: Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Emily: The challenge of providing intuitive/usable access to a large and diverse quantity of information.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Emily: Some of my favorites:
- ubiquitous librarian
- And write your own blog! This helped me get a job: http://emilysingley.wordpress.com/
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Emily: I was worried when everybody in library school kept telling me that if I didn’t network, network, network I would never get a job. I’m not good at hobnobbing and hate networking. So I’m pleased to report that with absolutely no networking, I got 4 professional job offers during the last 12 months and ended up accepting a position in my area of interest.
Two pieces of advice:
- Get experience. I really think that it was my 10 years of paraprofessional experience that got me interviews.
- Learn as much technology as you can. Libraries really need people with alphabet soup on their resumes: know HTML, CSS, XML, and as many specific library applications you can get your hands on.
My name is Emily Singley and I have been on this planet since 1974. My first career was as an orchestral clarinetist. I hold a Bachelors of Music from Northwestern University and a Masters of Music from the University of Minnesota, and played clarinet professionally for over 10 years before realizing that my life’s true desire was to be a librarian.
Throughout my mis-guided (but fun!) music career, I pretty much always had some kind of part-time library job on the side. I worked in circulation, acquisitions, ILL, and cataloging in both academic and public libraries. I discovered that I love working on the tech side of libraries, and while some of these jobs were not so much fun (circulation in a a public library), looking back, I realize that all these jobs helped me build an impressive resume.
A couple years ago I quit my orchestra job and enrolled at Simmons to get my MLS. At the same time, I got a full-time paraprofessional job working in tech services at a small liberal arts college. Getting that job was the best thing I’ve ever done: the staff were incredibly supportive and gave me many opportunities to perform professional job duties. I sat at the reference desk, performed a website usability study, and implemented a link resolver. While the Simmons degree was necessary, it was my paraprofessional experience that led to my new job as the Systems/Reference Librarian at Southern New Hampshire University.