Colleen McClowry …In Six

My interview with INALJ success story, Colleen

Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Colleen: Since I was concentrating on finding work in the Bay Area, I used resources that listed jobs by location. I browsed INALJ’s California listings, search engines like, and the resources available to me at the University of Illinois. As it turns out, I ended up getting my current position through a Recruiter (the LAC group) that was listed on INALJ. For those of you scared off by recruiters–don’t be! They were very friendly and a great resource for someone like me looking in a specific geographical area.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Colleen: I love to travel, and I try to make it a point to visit libraries of all kinds when I’m doing so. I’ve visited quite a few libraries that I’ve really loved. One of my favorites is the library at the Manga Museum in Kyoto, Japan. I taught English in Japan before grad school, and was continually amazed by the influence Manga has on Japanese culture. Kyoto’s Manga Museum Library was a very relaxed and welcoming place. It felt similar to the Manga Kissas (coffee shops with Manga) found all over Japan. I spent the whole day there reading books from all over the world. It felt pretty surreal to be in there, watching all the comic fanatics ogle over their favorite reads.

Naomi: Favorite book?
Colleen: There’s too many to choose! I guess if I had to pick one it would probably be Native Son by Richard Wright. This book completely changed the way I thought about issues of race and class – its’ themes are so powerful. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, the book also held a special significance to me since that’s where it takes place.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Colleen: The intellectual stimulation that goes on in library and information settings is my favorite part. No matter what type of library setting you’re in, you can encounter novel technologies and individuals who can teach you new things and enrich your life. Being a librarian to me, in this day and age, is like being a world problem solver and innovator. Our colleagues and patrons are constantly showing us new ways to do things and planting seeds of knowledge that ultimately will help us better share information.

Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Colleen: I admit that before coming to graduate school I was a sort of anti-Twitter, but I must say that Twitter is a fantastic resource for staying up-to-date with the LIS field. It’s especially a great resource for job hunting. Some feeds to follow are: @WeAreLibrarians @ArsTechnica @Resourceshelf @HackLibSchool @LISNews

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Colleen: It’s never too late to try something new and change the path you thought you were meant to be on. I studied to be an English teacher during undergrad and look where I ended up – working for a software company : ) In other words, be flexible! I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. I started graduate school thinking I wanted to go into instructional academic librarianship, but I had an awesome assistantship during my time at GSLIS that totally transformed my interests to being all things IT. When it came to the job search, rather than focus on a type of library, I shifted my thinking to skills sets.

I was born and raised in the great city of Chicago. I studied at DePaul University for undergrad, and taught English as a Second Language before attending graduate school at the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS). I recently finished at GSLIS, and will be starting my career as a Systems Librarian at Innovative Interfaces in Emeryville, CA. When I’m not nerding out at work I enjoy relaxing in coffee shops, cooking, doing yoga, and hiking.