Kevin Davey …In Six

My interview with success story Kevin

Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Kevin: The position was posted in the RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) library job board.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Kevin: In general, I have always liked older big-city central public libraries. Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh is a good example. I was only there once, over 15 years ago, but at the time it was monumental in style, largely dark in its work areas, with a look and feel of having been lived and worked in. Libraries, in my ideal image, are places where you can go and find the record of our culture and civilization. With the help of librarians, of course.

Naomi: Favorite book?
Kevin: East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Kevin: Technological advances like the Internet and online indexes to periodicals have made incomparably more information available than was available when I first became a librarian. Not all of that information is reliable, though, so my job as a reference librarian is to help people sort through and evaluate

Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Kevin: Lou’s Feed, by Lou Carlozo, at He highlights various aspects of the economy and its effects on various groups of people.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Kevin: Be prepared to adjust your expectations. The job market for librarians is changing rapidly, and the mix of library-related jobs that are available are much different than they were only a few years ago. There are also relatively fewer jobs available in the field, with many more people competing for them, so expect a longer wait before you land a library job.

I grew up in the small Ohio Valley town of Cambridge, OH, and got my BA in History from Bryan College, in Dayton TN. I have been a librarian since 1981, when I received my MSLS from the University of Tennessee.

My first job as a librarian was at Lorain (OH) Public Library. I worked for two years at Sussex County (NJ) Public Library as Extension Services and Adult Services Librarian. In 1985 I moved to Chicago and took a job at Chicago Public Library. I worked for 13 months in the Interlibrary Loan department, then transferred to the Information Center, CPL’s telephone reference department. I worked there for almost seven years. In 1993 I left CPL for 2 ½ years, during which time I briefly attended North Park Theological Seminary and then worked for 20 months at the American Theological Library Association. In September of 1995, I returned to Chicago Public Library, and worked for sixteen years in the Business, Science and Technology division.

In September of 2011, I retired from CPL, with the intention of working part-time so that I would have more spare time to pursue some interests I hadn’t had enough time for while working full-time. Finding that part-time job took longer than I was expecting. I knew the job market was not good, but I’ve gotten jobs in bad economies before, and expected that having more than 25 years of experience would put my resume at the top of many piles in pretty short order. In the event, though, in eight months I worked for two months at an unsatisfactory job unrelated to librarianship, with low pay and bad hours, and had interviews at only two libraries. However, I got one of those jobs, and this month (June) I started a job as a part-time (29 hours) reference and instruction librarian at Kennedy-King College, one of Chicago’s City Colleges. I had applied there on February 6, and was called in for an interview on March 9. I had a second interview on March 20. The process took a little longer than I was expecting, but I started there on June 19.