Julie Tanaka …Success Story

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

My interview with success story, Julie

Naomi:  How did you find your current job?
Julie:  Graduation was approaching and all I could think of was being stuck in the anteroom between being a grad student and gainfully employed. While I was browsing positions for Medieval and Early Modern European History, I stumbled across the posting for this job on H-Net. I think I ended up running across it later on one of the library listserves as well.

Naomi:  Favorite library you have been to?
Julie: My favorite is Switzerland’s oldest library, the Stiftsbibliothek St.Gallen (Abbey Library at the St. Gallen Monastery). In addition to the manuscripts that date to the 8th century, the library has a gorgeous inlaid, wooden floor (and there are fuzzy, felt slippers that you have to slide over your shoes before entering to protect the floor). A close second is Seattle Public Library with its odd, towering shape precariously perched between 4th and 5th Avenues, its glass and steel, its Book Spiral, and the very red fourth floor.

Naomi:  Favorite book?
Julie:  There are too many to decide on a favorite–I change my mind constantly.

Naomi:  Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Julie:  I enjoy seeing how tradition and innovation can work together. The emergence of and constant evolution of digital projects, library spaces and services, and so much more are exciting. It’s also great to see how the library profession continues to broaden its perspective and work with people from diverse professions and disciplines who combine their expertise to create super cool things.

Naomi:  Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Julie:  For those interested in “old” meets “new”, in this case medieval manuscripts and social media, check out https://twitter.com/d_gura. David Gura, the Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts at the University of Notre Dame, tweets images of “Today’s Find”. These are manuscript fragments found in Notre Dame’s collections. You can also follow the progress of Notre Dame reconstructing Bergendal 8–this is going to be a spectacular exhibit! Follow the tweets.

Naomi:  Best piece of job hunting advice?
Julie:  If you’re looking for a job in an academic library, become familiar with the hiring process. It can be quite peculiar compared to that for some other types of libraries. Don’t be surprised by how slow the application and interview process might seem. Make sure the job description relates to your interests and that you meet the minimum qualifications, but don’t try to read too much into the description. In other words, don’t try to guess who they want to hire. Also don’t just rule a job out based on location. When I saw the Notre Dame posting, I couldn’t quite see myself living in South Bend, but I’m glad I finally sent my application. The job is awesome, and I couldn’t have asked for better colleagues.

I am originally from San Jose, CA, where I studied Humanities with a concentration in European Civilizations at San Jose State University before earning a Master’s in Classics from UC Irvine and a PhD in History from UC Berkeley. I taught undergrads in the Bay Area and Tacoma, WA before returning to school to earn a MLIS from the iSchool at the University of Washington. Recently I made the trek to South Bend, Indiana where I am the new Western European History Librarian and Curator of European Manuscripts and Early Printed Books for the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame.


previously published on 10/17/12