Mia Breitkopf …In Six

Reposted froim 1/13/12

My interview with Mia Breitkopf whose article “61 non-librarian jobs for LIS Grads” is catching on fire.

Naomi: What is your dream job and why?
Mia: Last year, when I was itching to define my career goals, I went to the bookstore and walked away with Life’s A Bitch and Then You Change Careers by Andrea Kay. I worked through the exercises and this is what I learned: I want a job where I can apply my passion for learning and teaching to help people of all ages. I want to work collaboratively in a setting that values intellectual curiosity, and I want to be up and moving, not sitting at a desk all day.

I decided to enroll in the MLIS program at Syracuse University (SU), because, even though I’m not sure I’ll end up working in a library, what I’ll learn in the program will prepare me to meet my professional goals. I hope this leads me to my dream job. I think it will!

I don’t think there’s just one job out there for me. I think there are lots of jobs I can tweak into becoming my dream job.

Naomi: What blogs should we be reading?
Mia: It turns out that grad school doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading anything that’s not absolutely necessary for my job or for my coursework. So, to be honest, I’m not doing a lot of blog reading these days. My Twitter feed, my email subscriptions to a few blogs, and my husband’s recommendations mostly influence what I read.

I do sneak in a few moments, though. In addition to the writing of some amazing bloggers other INALJ “…In Six” interviewees have mentioned here, I try to read anything my professors Jill Hurst-Wahl (@jill_hw) and Dave Lankes (@rdlankes) write, and anything by my fellow SU MLIS students, including brilliant future librarian Topher Lawton (@hieanon and Information Space).

I’m new to librarianship and curious about all sorts of things, so my RSS feed (which I will get to use again, someday!) includes blogs that inspire me, including Museum 2.0, Wired Magazine, Food52, and Civil Eats. I also read everything my sister Emily Breitkopf (@emilybreitkopf) writes about kids and gender, even when I’m busy, of course.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Mia: The Choral Public Domain Library. It makes me want to sing.

Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
Mia: I have favorite books as objects for sentimental reasons. These include a beautiful little flip-book my sister Sarah created for me, the Palmyra Kings Daughters Library-sale copy of Stranger in A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein my husband gave to me when we were high school kids, and a very beaten up copy of Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder, which I think I lent to Sarah, come to think of it. (Sarah, I do want that back sometime.) I love lending, giving, and receiving books, made or bought. For me, there’s something spiritual about interacting with books.

My favorite book to consult, one I use all the time, is Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. It’s never failed me. And, if I had to choose a favorite novel or work of non-fiction and I were under duress, I’d probably blurt out, “anything by Cormac McCarthy!” at the last moment. If I weren’t under duress, and I’m not today, I’d say this is an impossible question for me to answer.

Naomi: Favorite thing about library technology?
Mia: Before library school, my experience with library technology was limited to an barcode bleeper I used to check in music scores at at my undergrad workstudy job and the card puncher at the public library in Macedon, NY, where I worked in high school.

Since I started my MLIS study, I’ve essentially been doing nothing but thinking about how technology has already and will continue to change the way libraries do the things they do. Technology is changing the way librarians can communicate with the community, the way the community members communicate with each other, and the ways people can create. My favorite thing about technology in libraries is that it offers a field-enriching opportunity for librarians to explore strange new ideas and seek out new projects and new community engagement strategies: to boldly work in a way no librarian has been able to before.

For example, this past Saturday I visited the Fayetteville Free Library in Fayetteville, NY, and watched a MakerBot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer print an object designed by the person I was standing next to. It was amazing for both of us.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Mia: For each job you apply to, thoughtfully tailor your resume, cover letter, and all correspondence, including emails. Make sure every word directly supports the fact that you would be an excellent fit for the position. It’s a pain, but it’s a must.

Mia Breitkopf is studying library and information science at the iSchool at Syracuse University. She holds a bachelor of music in music education from Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam. She taught music in public schools for three years and worked at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, a philanthropic grantmaking organization in Philadelphia, PA, until she decided to trade it all in for adventures in librarianship. After loving living in Philadelphia for seven years, she and her husband, Jeremy Lane, moved to Syracuse in August 2011. Follow her on Twitter @MiaBreitkopf, and read her postings on Information Space, the blog of the iSchool at Syracuse University, and at her personal blog, miabblogs.

Photo used with permission