Naomi House’s interview with success story Melody.
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Melody: I found my job listing through the INALJ New Jersey page. I was interested in working in school libraries, so I checked that site daily and was able to find many possibilities. I applied to about 15 districts, totaling about 25 positions among those districts. I found all those listings on INALJ! I was contacted by four districts for interviews and reached second and third round interviews or demonstration lessons with three of those districts. Ultimately, I was offered a position working between a high school and two middle schools. But INALJ really made my job search.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Melody: I really think that Princeton Public Library is gorgeous. It’s clearly a well-maintained and constantly changing place. Plus, it’s clear that the space is meant to fill needs for the community regardless of how diverse those needs might be. The library has an extensive magazine collection, free meeting rooms, a third floor devoted entirely to teens and kids, a cafe called Terra Libri, several nice art installations, a number of computer mini-labs, a constant book sale area, and varied programming from movie nights to book clubs. Simply put, it’s a place that feels alive and that is clearly an important part of the Princeton community. I think that’s the vibe that all libraries should strive for!
Naomi: Favorite book?
Melody: For most librarians, this is a difficult question to answer. I’m tempted to say Harry Potter because I grew up with Harry. But, I think I have to say Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I read this book as a child and as I’ve re-read it over the years, it still feels just as impactful as it did when I was child. That’s a trick that many books simply don’t have. It’s also chocked full of memorable lines to remember when you need a pick-me-up. One of my favorites is: “So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Melody: These days, libraries are modern day chimeras. They contain many unique parts that can reach out and impact many different parts of their communities. What I love about this is how rapidly libraries have evolved within the last ten years and how much flexibility and imagination this growth allows librarians and libraries to use in deciding what the libraries of the future should be.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Melody: You should definitely follow John Green’s Tumblr. The man is a genius…and he’s also really hilarious. (http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/) There are some fabulous Facebook communities for librarians. It’s a great way to keep in touch, interact with a lot of conversations without the awkwardness of email listserv chains, and crowdsource help and advice. My particular favorite groups are the ALA Think Tank (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ALAthinkTANK/) and Lifting Librarians, which is a group of librarians who come together to talk about physical and mental wellness, exercise, and general health issues (https://www.facebook.com/groups/liftinglibrarians/). They’re all so welcoming and helpful!
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Melody: Be enthusiastic and be yourself. And apply for jobs even if you don’t meet all the qualifications. When I initially started my job search, I had imagined myself working in an elementary school. But, I branched out and applied for middle and high schools too. When I was interviewed for my current job, they could tell that some of my programming and technology ideas were more geared for elementary students rather than middle and high school students. But they loved my enthusiasm, ideas, and IT degree. So, even though I might not have been the “ideal” candidate, they offered me the job right away and have been very supportive of my ideas because they love my energy! So, even if you’re not perfect, try for the job! You may just get it! (And even if you don’t the experience is really valuable.)
All Jobs for INALJ can be found here: http://inalj.com/?p=1441 Updated daily