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Naomi House’s interview with success story Krystin.
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Krystin: My school offered a career colloquium presentation on A Day in the Life of a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Librarian. I have been interested in special libraries from the very beginning, and prison libraries specifically since about 2009, so signed in to listen to the presentation. After listening in and asking a few questions I took the presenters advice and decided to begin the application process for a CDCR Librarian position. I scored high on the entrance tests and had a few interviews, and ended up having a few locations offer me positions.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Krystin: My favorite library would be the Omaha Public Library – Charles B. Washington branch. I worked here for awhile as a Library Aide and computer instructor, and this is where my desire to work as a prison librarian was cemented. The branch has a fantastic Black History collection and the staff are absolutely amazing, from the branch manager to the aides to the security guards they will all go above and beyond for every patron. Patrons are there before open and stay after close sometimes just chatting with the staff, it’s a very amiable and open environment and I loved every minute there both as staff and later as a patron.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Krystin: I don’t know if I can name just one! The one I have probably read the most in recent years is Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey. Her running away and the struggle to find the career that suited her best, finding one not widely advertised, and the hard work to become the very best in such a tough environment has always spoke to something deep inside me. Whenever I feel hopeless or like giving up because things are getting overwhelming I like to reread Crystal Singer.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Krystin: The indomitable spirit of librarianship is my favorite thing in this profession. Librarians are there to help guide you in your quest for knowledge, to heck with whoever is trying to stop you. Even in fields with few professionals you will find librarians – we are everywhere, helping everyone. We’re in Ivy League Schools, elementary schools, community centers, hospitals, prisons, and even on the top of mountains and in tents in the middle of parks during protests. Anywhere there are people you will find libraries and librarians and this passion, dedication, and refusal to give in is what I think is the best of this profession.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Krystin: There are a few I could suggest, mostly leaning towards prison librarianship or detective fiction: http://jailtutoring.wordpress.com/, http://prisonlibrarian.blogspot.com/, http://www.criminalelement.com/, http://cltlblog.wordpress.com/
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Krystin: The best piece of job hunting advice is one I got during my undergraduate practicum. Don’t be afraid to move for an opportunity! Librarianship can be tough to break into, and many of the best jobs out there are likely not to be anywhere near where you live. I am taking this advice – moving from Nebraska to California – and it’s scary but I am so glad I listened.
I currently work for a local credit union as a Teller Supervisor, and work from home as a consultant for a writing service creating job documents such as cover letters, resumes, CVs, etc. I have an associate’s certificate in Library and Information Services and a BGS in Library Science. I am attending San Jose State University for an MLIS mixing Young Adult and Reference pathways and expect to defend my thesis in Fall 2014. Following graduation from SJSU I will be attempting acceptance to New Mexico State University for a Masters in Sociology. I am also shopping around looking at the different PhD’s in Library Science and Information Services. Who doesn’t want a doctor in the family?