Emily Singley …In Six

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:

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:

  1. Get experience. I really think that it was my 10 years of paraprofessional experience that got me interviews.
  2. 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.