Tammy Ivins …In Six

My interview with success story Tammy


Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Tammy: I believe that I found the job posting on libgig.com, pulled from ALA. I did not know anyone affiliated with or anything about Francis Marion, but (after researching it) the university sounded like a great fit. The head of reference gave me an unscheduled informational phone interview a few weeks later, and so I was very glad that I had my application materials & notes readily accessible on my computer! Some time passed before I was invited for a Skype interview and then shortly thereafter an onsite interview. For the onsite interview, I had less than 24 hours notice to prepare and plan a demo instruction session, but I took the opportunity to show my willingness to jump right into something quickly. The day after my onsite interview, I was offered the job (yay!).

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Tammy: The library for the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. It is a great library space because it balances being many different things in a small space. It has great collaborative work areas, cozy reading spaces, technically advanced computer lab, and an instruction space. At the same time, just through a doorway is a large “warehouse”-like storage area for books, ensuring that students still have easy access to everything that they need.

Naomi: Favorite book?
Tammy: What a hard question. I’m going to answer with the book that I most commonly grab off the shelf to read just for fun: Searching For Dragons by Patricia Wrede. This YA fantasy novel is one of the greatest humorous adventure stories ever written. Besides making me laugh out loud on almost every page, Searching always interests me because the characters end their journey end in almost the exact same spot that they started. It seems like a good research metaphor to me: sometimes you have range far and change your path multiple times only to discover something right under your own nose.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Tammy: Being able to help people as they acquire knowledge. It sounds cheesy, but it makes me so very thrilled to just be able to help people learn. I mean, every time some learns something, that new knowledge irreversibly changes their perception of the world. Every day I get to watch people building a new world as they learn and discover. Not only do I get to watch, but I get to help them. How cool is that?

Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Tammy: Everyone should be reading askamanager.org by Alison Green. Ms. Green has some amazing advice no matter where you are in your career. I also encourage anyone working in public services to read the blog consumerist.com. Full of consumer horror and success stories, it is an amazing way to keep yourself grounded and remember to always look at services from the patron’s perspective.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Tammy: Two pieces actually. The first is to never stop refining or improving your application package. I applied for jobs over a period of about nine months, and by the end my resume and cover letter looked completely different. They changed partially because I customized them for every job, but also because I improving them overall. Nothing is ever perfect just the way it is, always keep improving. Secondly, I would recommend that when you get that interview, relax! I know that you will be up against a lot of competition, but just remember that they want you to be a perfect fit. They want to end the search and hire you! So just be the amazing applicant that they hope you are.

I graduated from Davidson College, NC in 2007 with a dual degree in Theatre & Classical Studies and absolutely no idea what to do with my life. I had a two year fellowship working at the Davidson College Archives, and then I was off to UNC-Chapel Hill to get my MSLS. While at UNC, I worked in three different libraries on campus to get more work experience. I started applying for jobs about six months before graduation. Three months after graduation (after approximately nine months of job hunting) I accepted a job offer, and I am now happily on the faculty at Francis Marion University where I work as a reference librarian. My professional research interests include partnership building, outreach, collection development, reference, chat reference, copyright, and instruction.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ.com. INALJ has had over 19.5 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 & 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro. She presents whenever she can, most recently thrice at the American Library Association's Annual Conference as well as breakout talk presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa and as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting, at the National Press Club, McGill University, the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has relocated to being nomadic. She runs her husband’s moving labor website, KhanMoving.com, fixes and sells old houses and assists her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food as well. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 

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