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Naomi House’s interview with Library Journal 2012 Mover & Shaker, Joshua.
Naomi: How did you come to work for your current position?
Joshua: After graduating from the University of Illinois with my MS in Library and Information Science, I accepted the position of Reference Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Science at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. For the last four years, I have been the Humanities Librarian at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.
Naomi: Can you speak a little bit about the program you won the Library Journal Movers & Shakers award for?
Joshua: Honestly, I am not sure which project ultimately put me over the top. According to the writer who interviewed me, my nominations came from a broad cross-section of librarians, faculty members, and institutions. Unlike many of the Movers and Shakers, I probably stick out as not pioneering any nationally-recognized project or program. At Denison, my nominations revolved around my library instruction and digital projects, from campus scholarship to community archiving. My nominations from McNeese focused on my role in the resurrection, and online relaunching, of the Library Certification Program. This program provides an opportunity for students and working professionals from around the state of Louisiana to complete the necessary Library Science certification needed to become a School Media Specialist. All of these projects were collaborative, and community based, so I always feel a bit timid when asked about the award.
Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
Joshua: On the fiction side, John Updike’s entire Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom series is certainly at the top of my list. I would also put Lorrie Moore’s short-story collection, Birds of America near the top. Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco’s Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt and Derrick Jensen’s The Culture of Make Believe are both sitting on my reading table at home.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries?
Joshua: The endless possibilities.
Naomi: Any tips for job hunters?
Joshua: Don’t let job descriptions intimidate you. Very rarely will a library actually get a candidate who is fluent in six languages, has an MLIS and two PhDs, and a deep understanding of XML, XSLT, EAD, jQuery, Linux and cold fusion.
Joshua Finnell is a visiting lecturer at McNeese State University and Humanities Librarian at Denison University. His work has been published in New Library World, Reference & Users Services Quarterly, and the Journal for the Study of Radicalism. You can follow his work at http://joshuafinnell.wordpress.com/