Chris Bourg …In Six

My interview with Assistant University Librarian for Public Services at the Stanford University Libraries and Feral Librarian, Chris Bourg!

Naomi: What blogs should we be reading?
Chirs: Sadly, I’m finding that there are very few academic librarians blogging regularly – and even fewer library administrators. So let me take this opportunity to call on my colleagues in library administration jobs to start blogging!

My go-to list of academic library blogs includes:

I personally try to add some value to the blogosphere at Feral Librarian

Some of my favorite diversions when I just can’t bear to look at another budget spreadsheet include:

  • Indexed
  • Sully Baseball
  • THXTHXTHXNaomi: If you could take any of your hobbies and create a job out of it or integrate it into your job what would it be? And how?
    Chris: One of my favorite hobbies is watching sports – mostly baseball and college basketball — so archivist for the Baseball or Basketball Hall of Fame seem like dream jobs to me. I’ve been very lucky here at Stanford though, because there is a faculty member here who regularly teaches classes on the Rhetoric of Sports; and I always volunteer to teach her library workshops and be her assigned librarian. So, I actually do get to integrate my sports obsessions into my job. I even show videos of some of sports’ greatest last minute comebacks and almost-comebacks at the start of my library workshops as a way to warn students that waiting until the last minute doesn’t always work out so well.

    Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
    Chris: I don’t want to upset any colleagues, so I will say (honestly!) that I have loved every library I have ever visited.

    That said, I was in Vancouver for the IASSIST conference this past June, and absolutely loved the Central Library of the Vancouver Public Library system – it is smack dab in the middle of the city, and occupies a full city block. My favorite part is a great piece of sculpture outside the library proclaiming “The Words Don’t Fit the Picture” – which is a cool commentary on libraries, and the title of a pretty awesome 1972 Willie Nelson album.

    Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
    Chris: Two books that I read every year or so are A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) and The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver). I also love every novel ever written by Reynolds Price, Anne Tyler, and Ann Patchett. Whenever I need a reminder about why I work in higher education, I reach for my well-worn copy of Teaching to Transgress by bel hooks.

    Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
    Chris: Libraries are such a great mix of services, collections, and technologies; but my favorite part of libraries are the people who make everything work.

    I have awesome colleagues – both at Stanford and around the world. Working in libraries means you get to work with lots of really smart, dedicated, interesting people – some who work in libraries because they love books, some because they love technology, and most because they love both. It seems like everyone I meet who works in libraries is really dedicated not only to their own library, but also to the mission of libraries in general. I consider it a great privilege to share a profession with people who are dedicated to providing the world with access to information.

    Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
    Chris To be honest, I have not done much job hunting myself, so I’m a pretty lousy source for job hunting advice.

    On the other hand, I have been on the hiring side of the equation for many different kinds of positions within the Stanford Libraries.

    My best advice once you land an interview is to really, really, really do your homework. Every search committee I have ever been on has rated candidates on how well they “did their homework”. Your homework should include getting a current organizational chart, Googling the heck out of everyone on your interview schedule, and activating your social networks to get yourself an introduction to someone who works there so you can ask some questions about the job and the library before your interview. I put some of my other interview advice into a blog post: Suit up: Some free advice on interviewing for library jobs: http://chrisbourg.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/suit-up-some-free-advice-on-interviewing-for-library-jobs/

    Chris Bourg is the Assistant University Librarian for Public Services at the Stanford University Libraries. Before coming to Stanford, Chris was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Military Academy, West Point NY.

    Chris’ family includes her wife, her college-age daughter, and her dog. She reads lots of books (e- and print), goes to plenty of movies, and enjoys hiking in the many fantastic public parks of Northern California. Every year, Chris cheers for the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series, the Stanford Cardinal to win the women’s NCAA basketball championship, and Duke Blue Devils to win the men’s NCAA basketball championship.

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