Success story and blogger Andrew!
Naomi: If you could take any of your hobbies and create a job out of them or integrate it into your job what would it be? And how?
Andrew: I have a background in theater, and when I can, I like to incorporate my enjoyment of demonstrating my ideas in an absorbing manner the way a good play can. I keep my bibliographic instruction workshops lively, and I update my blog several times a week. I think my background in theater actually has been helpful for a more abstracts reason.
One of the most important lessons I learned about theater years ago is that when people want their plays to be produced, they have to be willing to mount them themselves. This means that a theater artist has to multitask, multitask some more, and multitask their multitasking. I once directed a play that I wrote, designed the minimal set and costumes, collected the costumes and props, worked the lights during the performance, and came close to playing multiple parts in the play. Most theater productions don’t have much of a budget, so the participants have to beg, borrow, and figuratively (one hopes) steal props, costumes, and set pieces. This mentality has served me well in my current job.
Since last May, I have worked as the head (only) librarian at the Institute for Health Education (IHE), a career college for adults who are becoming certified as medical and dental assistants, phlebotomists, and similar professions. IHE is in the process of becoming accredited as college that can grant associates’ degrees, so it’s been an exciting time for me to be involved. One of the reasons I was hired is my background in education, and I have been given a strong role in setting academic policy for the college. For example, I am the primary author of the new student catalog and faculty handbook. Additionally, I carry out all traditional librarian duties such as collection development, reference, cataloging, bibliographic instruction, shelving, and interlibrary loan. I have had to turn a small classroom with a few dozen old textbooks into a lending library with about 2,500 (and growing) volumes using minimal resources. I wear more hats than the guests at a royal wedding, and that is where my background in theater has served me the best. I hope this does not read as though I am complaining about my job; I enjoy the variety of my duties.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Andrew: I love the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center at Lincoln Center. There’s always something exciting for us theater geeks to look at.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Andrew: This is not the most original choice, but The Complete Works of William Shakespeare is essentially the complete human experience. From Hamlet’s navel-gazing, which many readers can identify with to uncomfortable depths, to the power struggles between politicians–or between two people who refuse to admit they’re in love, or even two clownish amateur thespians—the plays and poems are both timeless and timely. Measure for Measure, with its theme of the intersection of politics and sexual morals–and the inevitable hypocrisy caused by such juxtaposition—feels fresher than a typical, topical, “ripped from the headlines” TV show.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Andrew: I’ve worked in academic, school, and public libraries, and in each case, my favorite aspect of my job has been the opportunity to help people find the information they need. Is there anything more satisfying than seeing the joy of discovery in a patron’s face?
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice? Anything people should avoid doing when job hunting?
Andrew: We all know it is a difficult, daunting time to look for work. Do not despair. Try every outlet you can think of. Network whenever you can. Be so focused on finding a job that you don’t have room in your brain to consider giving up. You will get upset at times. That is okay. Get frustrated, complain privately, but keep going. Stay as positive as you can, and if you can’t muster up any enthusiasm, pretend that you can when you write cover letters, network, and have job interviews.
Do not hold out for your dream job. Accept a job that is not perfect for you, work hard, and learn everything you can from the experience until you find a better opportunity. If you keep an open mind, you may find that you enjoyed the job far more than you thought you would.
Naomi: What blogs should we be following?
Andrew: A quick look on Google or another search engine will find a host of blogs, so you can be specific with your search terms. Add words like the state in which you want to work and type of job you want as search terms.
In addition to http://inalj.com/, I have looked at the job blogs at http://sla-divisions.typepad.com/njslajobs/ and http://slanyjobs.blogspot.com/.
Sometimes, I write about job search techniques on my blog, which is geared toward my students. Some of the posts are specifically about working in the health fields, but other information can apply to anyone looking for jobs:
Born and raised in New Jersey, Andrew Gerber works as the head (only) librarian at the Institute for Health Education in lively Jersey City, a job he had learned about from I Need a Library Job. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University’s School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies; an M. A. in the Teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a B. A. in English and Theatre Arts from Drew University. A sometime (although not in a long time) theater actor, director, and playwright, he has written award-winning plays that have been performed in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Andrew, his wife Elyse (a substitute teacher who married beneath her league), and their assortment of stuffed animals live in East Rutherford, New Jersey, home of the alleged “New York” Giants (2012 Superbowl champs, obviously) and Jets (his father-in-law’s favorite team). His blog IHE Library News is at http://ihelib.blogspot.com.