My interview with success story Elizabeth
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Elizabeth: During my job hunt, I not only subscribed to the INALJ e-mail, but used my Google Reader to follow something like 20+ job feeds. So to be honest, I don’t remember exactly where I first saw my current job listed! I’m sure it popped up in at least a couple different places. I applied in July, did phone and on-campus interviews in October and November, and the rest is history. As a Midwesterner and lifelong city girl, I’m rather surprised to find myself living in rural NY State, but it’s been a cool change of pace, and the job itself is terrific.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Elizabeth: As an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, I had this totally amazing library job where I would make the rounds to campus branch libraries and page books or photocopy articles for faculty. And for some reason, I always loved the math library in Vincent Hall. (Please note that I haven’t taken a math class since high school.) The reading room had natural light and high ceilings, and the stacks were off in a separate area that was really quiet and serene. It’s one of those spaces that pop up in my imagination when I’m reading a novel and need to conjure up a small library.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Elizabeth: It’s nearly impossible to choose, but To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis is definitely in my top five. The frame story is about time travel, but the bulk of the book is a comedy of manners set in Victorian England. It’s got something for everyone: science fiction, alternate histories, physical comedy, romance, a scene-stealing dog named Cyril, etc. I almost never re-read books, but I think I’m going to read this one again before the year is over.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Elizabeth: In my view, librarianship is about connecting people with information by providing access and helping users make informed choices. So, my favorite thing about libraries is that this mission can be fulfilled in so many different ways, because seeing the endless variations is fascinating. I also love that libraries are a team effort with each individual contributing to a common goal. I like that sense of camaraderie.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Elizabeth: To keep up with library news and technology trends, I like American Libraries Direct and Stephen’s Lighthouse . The Ubiquitous Librarian is penned by Brian Mathews, who has thought-provoking things to say about outreach and user experience. Wayne Bivens-Tatum, who was one of my instructors in library school, has a blog called Academic Librarian with extremely well-written, substantive content. I also enjoy Agnostic, Maybe, Sense and Reference , and Information Wants to be Free .
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Elizabeth: While I learned a great deal during my recent job hunt, I learned even more by serving on two search committees at my previous position. The best advice I can give: Your cover letter matters. A lot. You should write directly to the job description, carefully explaining how you meet the qualifications and highlighting relevant successes. The search committee doesn’t have time to painstakingly review your resume to see if your experience matches their needs, so the cover letter is your chance to connect the dots for them. Oh, and librarians are sticklers for good grammar, so proofreading is essential!
Originally from Minnesota, Elizabeth Andrews recently moved to northern New York State to become the User Services Librarian at SUNY Potsdam. Previously, she served for five years as the Interlibrary Loan Assistant at Loyola University Chicago. Elizabeth has a Master’s in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois and a Master’s in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. Current job duties include providing reference services, teaching instruction sessions, participating in collection development, and assisting with outreach efforts. Her professional interests revolve around outreach — how to communicate the library’s value and support student learning through creative marketing, events and programs, instruction, and other services. Hobbies include reading anything and everything, yoga, trying new recipes, exploring her new surroundings, and walking the fine line between being a doting cat owner and a crazy cat lady.