Naomi: What is your dream job and why?
Carrie: At this point, due mostly to our slow economy, my dream job is any librarian position. That’s the realistic answer. The idealist answer is, aside from becoming a culinary librarian which seems like a long shot, a job that allows me to do a little bit of everything: a little bit of the public side, a little bit of the technical side, and hey, while I’m at it, maybe a little bit of the IT side, too. I consider myself a jack of all trades and I have really enjoyed many of the activities that I’ve done in the library. I love helping people find something they’ve been searching for, but I really liked cataloging, too, because good cataloging is the basis of being able to find things in the right place. One of the main reasons I came to librarianship was because I liked working in databases, so the research and database management aspect appeals to me as well. The type of library doesn’t matter as much to me. I’ve worked in a large academic and in a small museum library, and I’ve really enjoyed them both for different reasons.
Naomi: If you could take any of your hobbies and create a job out of them or integrate it into your job what would it be? And how?
I love to cook, and I love to read cooking narratives (e. g. Ruth Reichl, Julia Child, Edna Lewis, M.F.K. Fisher, Laurie Colwin, and Amanda Hesser), so I’d take that knowledge I’ve gained and become a culinary librarian (See? Official “Dream Job”). I’m a faithful follower of good food blogs, like Orangette, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Smitten Kitchen, and 101 Cookbooks, as well as food critics like Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post. Also, I happen to have a library of cookbooks of my own: a friend who was moving into a smaller apartment gave me her cookbooks that she had amassed over decades, so that’s how I ended up with things like The Taste of Country Cooking, The Gourmet Cookbook, Beautiful Wives’ Cookbook, The Congressional Club Cookbook, and about 300 more. It’s crazy, because it’s been really hard to find the space to keep the books, but I wouldn’t part with them for any price. Sometimes a cookbook is so much more than that. It can be a memoir or a story, or just a good overall view of another country or region’s cuisine. I like to think I have the skills to be a good culinary librarian, maybe at a culinary institute, simply because I’ve been immersed in the “field-literature” for so long.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Carrie: I make it a point to visit the libraries in many of the cities I visit, so I have several favorites. I have to say that the first time I visited the Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Branch in Baltimore (where I currently live), I was astounded. It was so big, and so beautiful, and so full of books! It felt like heaven on Earth. I still love that library very much. It makes for a perfect place to while away a rainy day afternoon. I also fell in love with the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. It’s a relatively new building, so it’s very modern. The architecture is just spectacular. There are so many nooks and crannies, lots of natural light, and they have really nice exhibit spaces. When I was there, I had the good fortune of seeing an exhibit of All Over Coffee author Paul Madonna’s drawings. That library definitely stands out in my memory.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Carrie: Oh, you can’t ask a librarian this. There is no firm answer. The best book I’ve read recently, in terms of storytelling, was Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky. It was a simply-told tale but incredibly hard to put down, and quite a nice surprise. Bad Marie follows a character, Marie, as she makes one ill-fated decision after another. It’s fantastically good. One of my overall favorites is Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. I really enjoy reading travel and nature narratives, but Abbey’s prose is particularly profound. The book is about his season spent as a park ranger at Arches National Park in Utah, but to me, and to many others, I think the book is about so much more; respect for our planet and its beauty is a pretty strong theme in this book, though Abbey was also a bit of a churl. Just so I don’t leave anyone out, some of my favorite authors, in no particular order, are: Roald Dahl, Tim O’Brien, Wallace Stegner, John Steinbeck, and Cormac McCarthy.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Carrie: I like how libraries can appeal to everyone on some level, and how, although they are changing significantly, libraries and librarians the world over are making the effort to stay on top of the changes. That’s evident from what I see in library magazines and journals. I don’t get worried when my non-library friends say that libraries are becoming obsolete. That is simply not true.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Carrie: Don’t be afraid to learn more after school is over. Take classes at your local community college; attend workshops and conferences that are in line with your interests. I think that library science can be complemented by many other fields, such as museum studies, information management, and information technology. Keep looking, keep applying, and keep networking, because something’s sure to come along eventually. I hope that’s true, anyway!
Carrie Price is a recent library science graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. She decided to become a librarian because she enjoyed the challenge of finding and organizing elusive information. With interests in databases and digital repositories, among other things, she believes it’s only a matter of time until she lands the job of her dreams. Prior to her library work, she worked in development at an animal shelter and a school. She fancies herself somewhat of a cook, and enjoys learning about and making food from other cultures, though lately she can’t seem to move away from variations on vegetarian bibimbap. In her free time, she enjoys running (and sometimes racing), biking, hiking, and taking photographs–in short, anything that gets her outside as much as possible. In the future, she hopes to travel the world.