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Naomi House’s interview with success story Maria.
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Maria: I was an internal candidate, so I knew about the job opening for months in advance! It was a nerve-wrecking position to be in, because I knew everyone on the committee and I was privy to constant updates during the search and interviews. That’s not to say I received any special treatment: there were over seventy applicants for the position, and I went through the exact same process that everyone did, complete with an all-day on campus interview.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Maria: I’m a huge anglophile; I studied for a year in Hull (home of William Wilberforce and Phillip Larkin; also the butt of many jokes) and did quite a bit of traveling throughout the UK. Visiting the British Library in person was an almost religious experience for me. I studied English literature, so seeing the only existing copy of Beowulf in person, even behind bullet-proof glass, was a huge deal. I also spent a whole afternoon skulking around Oxford’s Bodleian Library (one of the oldest libraries in Europe!)
Naomi: Favorite book?
Maria: It’s hard to pick just one, but these would definitely be on my list: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Maria: I’ve always been in awe of libraries and librarians, which is why I’m so glad to have been affiliated with them my entire working career. The romantic notion of librarianship is so important to our image — we know everything! we’re really into books! we’re old fashioned! — but the newfangled type of librarian, who deals with technology and web 2.0, is our present and future. I’m one of those young, tech-savvy librarians who loves social media and creating a world outside of the physical library, but that’s not how a majority of people see us. So I guess my favorite thing about libraries and library technology is the fact that it’s a work in progress. The profession continues to grow and adapt, and the perception of librarianship has changed as a result, and will continue to change. Being a librarian right now is just plain awesome.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Maria: Other than my blog, you mean? (I kid.) I follow over 200 feeds, so I’ve got quite a bit to choose from. I’m a huge fan of tech-related blogs like Mashable! and ReadWriteWeb, but also fun things like Lifehacker and Librarian Problems. If I have time to waste I usually check out Mentalfloss or Tastespotting.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Maria: Whether you’re applying internally or externally, connections are so important. Making the transition from long-time staff member to faculty was a huge leap for me, but it was made easier by the fact that I had already proven that I was capable of working with faculty members, that I had their trust and that they generally liked me. Making an effort to become involved with projects, led by important decision-making people in the organization, is a great way to prove to the higher-ups that you have more to offer than what you are currently doing. Don’t be afraid to speak up and say “Hey, I can do that!” That’s how you get the hands-on experience you need.
My name is Maria Atilano and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. I have a BA and MA in English (from UNCG and UNF, respectively) as well as an MLIS from FSU. While an undergrad I worked as a student assistant in my university’s library, mainly in the Circulation department. After graduation I was lucky enough to be hired as Senior Library Services Associate at UNF’s Thomas G. Carpenter Library, where I worked in Special Collections. In October 2012 I was promoted to Library Services Specialist and moved to Public Services. Recently I was hired as Assistant University Librarian in Public Services, for which I mainly participate in the Library’s outreach and service programs. In my spare time I read, blog (Pop Goes the Librarian), bake, and watch copious amounts of Netflix.