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Naomi House’s interview with success story Lauren.
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Lauren: I found my current job while volunteering with INALJ. It was posted on the LAC website, which I was checking every other day. I think I applied the same day it was posted, so I must have been one of their first applicants. I’m glad I didn’t wait around because they called me very soon after.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Lauren: The Little Walnut Creek Branch of the Austin Public Library has a special place in my heart. It’s the first library I worked in and the people there inspired me to become a librarian. It’s a community gathering place, filled with people of all ages from all over the world. And they have guinea pigs!
Naomi: Favorite book?
Lauren: The Outlander, by Gil Adamson. It’s set in the Canadian wilderness at the turn of the century. The protagonist is on the run because she killed her husband (for reasons that aren’t revealed until the end). I think what I like most about this book is that you can’t tell if she’s crazy or if the murder was justified. It really makes you think about what life was like for women back then, with no freedom or control of their own lives.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Lauren: The best thing about libraries is that they break down barriers! It’s such an exciting time to be part of the library world because we can really make an impact on digital equality. I also love that the library is open to everyone, no questions asked. No matter where you’re from, what language you speak, how much money you have, etc., the library belongs to you!
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Lauren: Every time I had an interview, I returned to this (long) list of librarian interview questions from the University of South Carolina LIS website, http://www.libsci.sc.edu/career/invufaqs.htm. It covers everything. I also set up alerts on every job website that I could. I think I saw just about every librarian job in the DC area!
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Lauren: Don’t be scared off by the preferred qualifications on a job post. I think a lot of employers are willing to go with someone who seems like they want to learn. My background is in liberal arts; I never thought I’d work in a sci/tech library. I was completely honest about my experience, but also confident in my ability to learn about science and engineering research. Librarians know that other librarians can teach themselves anything!
Lauren is currently the Outreach Librarian at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Library in Maryland. Having completed her MLIS degree from Rutgers in May, she’s thrilled to finally call herself a “librarian” after eight years of working in libraries. Lauren came into the library world like most History majors, looking for any vaguely history-related opportunity after college. She got a job with the Austin Public Library and soon realized how much she liked being part of an institution that enriches the community. Most recently, she worked for the Cheng Library at William Paterson University in New Jersey, where she enjoyed helping students and training student assistants. Lauren lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two cats. She loves visiting the many historic sites around the District and recently enjoyed a fantastic view of the inaugural parade.