My interview with the founder of Archives Gig, Meredith Lowe!
Naomi: What made you start your blog?
Meredith: I was already gathering archives job announcements for the job listserv at University of Wisconsin – Madison SLIS (my employer), and I thought that I could create a service to do the same thing, but to a wider number of people than the subscribers of that listserv. I poked around the web and didn’t see anything similar, and thought that I would have liked a resource like Archives Gig while I was job hunting.
It’s not exactly what I would call a real blog. Almost none of the content comes from my own brainpan – I just post what I find, and it feeds out to Facebook and Twitter.
Naomi: Are there other blogs or resources you can recommend?
Meredith: Arlene Schmuland has a really nice guide to archives job hunting, called That Elusive Archives Job. Another resource is You Ought to be Ashamed, which is a blog that critiques certain tendencies of the archives job market, and also discusses ethical employment. Finally, although I earned my MLS in 2008, I really like Hack Library School for current discussions about what LIS programs are teaching, and the cool stuff students are doing.
State library associations, professional associations, and library schools have listservs that often post jobs, sometimes jobs that are only posted there. Listservs are a bit old-school now, and there’s a lot of duplicated info, but I recommend subscribing to a few as digests and seeing what you come up with. You can also sometimes find jobs on networking sites like LinkedIn.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Meredith: I was privileged to watch a show-and-tell presentation by the rare books librarians at the Baden-Württemberg State Library in Stuttgart, Germany. They have amazing books, like a 17th-century book of collage art and gorgeous illuminated manuscripts.
Here in the states, I was able to be part of a tour of the Playboy photo archives and early Hugh Hefner papers. It was a tour that archives students in my school put together, and it was one of my most interesting archives experiences.
In terms of beautiful buildings, though, the Library of Congress is amazing!
Naomi: Favorite book?
Meredith: I am a huge fan of these authors: Catherynne Valente, Haruki Murakami, Peter S. Beagle, Neil Gaiman, Michael Ende, and Jasper Fford. Yeah, I read a lot of fantasy!
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Meredith: I love how collegial this profession is. Once someone figures out how to do something cool, they’re excited to share what they’ve done with the rest of the community. I learn so much from conferences, on Facebook, through Twitter, and on blogs.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Meredith: It’s really easy to get burned out and frustrated after a couple of months of applying… and applying… and applying and not hearing much back. I suggest that you keep a few hours aside each week to apply for jobs, and not get sucked into the trap of hitting the refresh button of that one good job board every few minutes. Keep a list of what you want to apply for, and tailor your resume/CV and cover letter for that job.
In the mean time, network like it’s going out of style. Seriously, every connection you make grows your reputation and increases your chances of landing a job. Try to join a professional association and volunteer within that organization. Make connections with local professionals. Be active in your community, both inside and outside libraries and archives. Dig out that grad school paper you wrote a couple of months ago and see if you’d like to pursue publishing it. There are lots of ways to demonstrate that you are excited and engaged with your new profession!
Meredith Lowe is an Outreach Specialist in Continuing Education Services at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She plans and coordinates continuing education programs for information professionals of every stripe. She founded Archives Gig in February of 2010, and continues to post archives jobs every weekday.
reposted from 11/29/11 and 4/16/13 and formerly titled, Meredith Lowe …In Six and Meredith Lowe of Archives Gig …In Six