Billy Cook …Success Story

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Naomi House’s interview with success story Billy.

billycNaomi:  How did you find your current job?
Billy:  The INALJ Jobs list. The position was only advertised for a very brief period, in a geographic area I wasn’t looking in, so I never would have found it without the hard work of everyone at INALJ.

Naomi:  Favorite library you have been to?
Billy:  The Rijksmuseum Research Library in Amsterdam is pretty spectacular, and I’ll always have a soft spot for the Cambridge University libraries, but if I have to choose, I’ll go with my favorite library to work at – the SILS Library at UNC. It has the biggest ILS collection in the southeast, the best manager anyone could ask for, and to top it off, it’s a loud library.

Naomi:  Favorite book?
Billy:  “It” by Stephen King. No other book has affected my day-to-day life like that one. I first read “It” in 5th or 6th grade, and while I connected with the characters very deeply, the book absolutely terrified me. Every morning on my paper route, my imagination went into a tailspin. I couldn’t go near a drain for years, and yet I would still stay up late re-reading the book most nights. Like many of King’s other works, it does a fantastic job of describing the dangers and joys of childhood, the power of nostalgia, and poses the dilemma of which is scariest – the monster under the bed or the reality of what happens to us as we grow up and leave childhood behind?

Naomi:  Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Billy:  I really enjoy being embedded in an organization and having to sell myself and the profession all day every day. Industry is really starting to understand and embrace the need for hiring people with our particular skill set, and it’s rewarding to be a part of this shift in perception.

Naomi:  Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Billy:  Career Q&A with the Library Career People ( I was lucky enough to have Tiffany Allen as a mentor during my time at SILS. Her advice was a one of the big reasons I was able to land a job. In addition, Tiffany and Susanne Markgren have a book coming out later this year titled, “Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career,” so be sure to check that out.

Naomi:  Best piece of job hunting advice?
Billy:  Persevere and be gracious in defeat. I went through months of interviews for this same position last year. I made it to the final round, but they chose someone else. I was disappointed, but rather than burn any bridges, I thanked them for the learning experience and moved on. They called me a year later, out of the blue, to say that they wanted another librarian in the company and asked if I would be interested in applying. A month later I was hired.

Billy Cook (MSLS ‘12) was a successful sales manager in the aerospace industry before fate (aka economic recession) brought him to the School of Library and Information Science (SILS) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since graduating, he has built a digital image library for Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, was a knowledge management consultant at a Fortune 500 company, and spent the past school year as a library management intern in the SILS Library. In his spare hours, Billy organizes and facilitates continuing education webinars for SLA members as the LMD Professional Development Chair. Recently, he was hired to help implement a company-wide knowledge management effort for a major healthcare company.