Naomi House’s interview with success story Matt.
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Matt: I contacted my local library to see if there was a need for help. It turned out they were looking for a temporary substitute clerk with archives experience and I was hired after my interview. When the person I was filling in for retired, my director made me a permanent staff member. My archives concentration in graduate school really helped because the director wanted someone who could organize our historic materials, preserve a 300 year old land patent in the library’s possession and provide local history and genealogy services to patrons.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Matt: Wow this is a tough one! Although it’s been a while, the Longwood Public Library in Middle Island, NY will always be my favorite. It was the first library I ever visited and the programs for kids and adults were superb. The Riverhead Free Library in Riverhead, NY is a close second because it was my first job and have a lot of fond memories of working with the staff; in fact they pushed me to go into library science after graduating high school.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Matt: Please Kill Me: An Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil was one of the most interesting and entertaining non-fiction reads I’ve checked out. It was enjoyable to learn how The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Stooges and others formed from the band members themselves and what it was like to be part of the scene from roadies, groupies and various misfits. I also love the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Baseball in the Garden of Eden by John Thorn.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Matt: From personal experience, the fact libraries provide an outlet for someone to foster their passions makes them valuable resources. Growing up, I had a lot of interests and it was satisfying to have the ability to find books on everything from the American Revolution to slot cars and monster movies in one place. As far as technology, the LibGuides platform has really helped increase the visibility of our materials throughout our system.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Matt: Outside of I Need A Library Job; which is essential reading, Library Lost & Found, Off the Record by Society of American Archivists, Holly Hibner’s library blog and The Practical Librarian.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Matt: Be flexible, be patient and if an opportunity doesn’t exist, make one! My current position requires me to perform circulation, reference and sometimes children’s room duties in addition to creating a functioning archives program from scratch. These experiences have given me the confidence of walking into an interview with a deep understanding of the various functions necessary to run a successful library. Coming out of grad school with a concentration in archives; I knew it would take some time before landing a full-time job, so I started participating in our local historical society as well as SAA, NYLA and the New York Archives Conference to network and represent our library. It was at one of these meetings where I got a contract archivist position following a discussion with a director for a neighboring library. The job search can be long and difficult but if you can make a positive impact within your organization, join professional organizations and learn as much as possible about current trends, your job search experience can be a strong foundation to build a successful career on.
I received my Masters of Library and Information Science from SUNY Albany in August 2012 with a concentration in archives and records management. Currently I work as a Library Assistant at The Wallkill Public Library where I oversee our adult non-fiction collection, local history area and archives. Recently I accepted a position as a project archivist for the Pine Bush Public Library to create finding aids for their local history materials and create web exhibits using their historic postcard collection. When I’m not behind the circulation desk or in the archives, I’m either at a Punk concert, the gym or planning my next travel destination. I enjoy Quentin Tarentino movies, horror comics, baseball and micro-breweries.
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