Susanne Markgren of LISJobs Career Q&A …In Six

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

My interview with Susanne of LISJobs Career Q&A

Naomi: What made you interested in starting your online Career Q&A?
Susanne: Career Q&A with the Library Career People began as a column in the online newsletter Information Career Trends in 2003 and is still under the auspices of My co-author, Tiffany Allen, and I have been writing answers to actual questions (from actual readers!) since then (it is the longest job I’ve ever held). We have Rachel Singer Gordon to thank for giving us a chance to do the column, and for continuing to support it, and us, after so many years. Tiffany and I have similar writing styles, lots of library experience, and very different work histories, so between the two of us, we feel like we can take on almost any question. Writing for Career Q&A has been a wonderful experience for me because it combines some of my favorite things: giving advice, librarianship, career development, and writing.

Tiffany and I are currently writing a career book for librarians, based on our Q&A column. It will contain all sorts of advice for librarians working in all different types of libraries in all different stages of their careers. And, the advice is not just from us, but from other working librarians as well. We are quite excited about it!

Naomi: Are there other blogs or resources you can recommend?
Susanne: It is apparent that librarians want and need online forums to communicate with one another and to discuss questions, issues, problems, and provide tips. I think, for job hunting librarians, the LinkedIn groups have the best discussions and advice and currency (and I wish I had the time to keep up with all of them). The ones I read regularly are: LIS Career Options , Librarians in The Job Market , Job Skills for Future Library Careers , ALA JobList’s Librarianship Job Search and Careers, and INALJ (of course).

And, for fun and inspiration I like to go to Librarian Wardrobe, This is What a Librarian Looks Like, Library as Incubator Project, Strand Books and Book Riot.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Susanne: I’m easily infatuated with historical significance and beautiful architecture and glorious reading rooms, so I would have to say: the Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge University (visited during a semester abroad); Life Science Library at the University of Texas (I worked there when I was in library school); New York Public Library, Steven A. Schwarzman Building (I relied on their computers when I first moved to NYC); and the New York Academy of Medicine Library (I used to work just down the street from them).

Naomi: Favorite book?
Susanne: This is difficult to answer. When I am reading a book, I am obsessed with it. And then, when I finish it, I put it on the shelf and wait for the next one to come along. I hardly ever re-read (adult) books and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about books, unless I’m in the middle of one. Also, I have an extremely short attention span (I blame my kids), so my favorite book is usually the one I am currently reading. Ones that I’ve read and enjoyed (and still remember) in the past year are: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Susanne: My favorite thing about libraries and about working in libraries is… the technology. I love working with technology, old and new, to create better web sites, better tools and better services for our users. It gives me an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to experiment with emerging technologies, discover new uses for and make improvements on existing technologies, and implement new systems and resources that are both exciting and useful for the library, its staff, and its users. And my ability and/or drive to continually learn more about web design and how to make things work how we want them to work, has defined my library career.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Susanne: I can’t do just one. Here are five:
• Get library experience before applying for librarian positions (seriously important!)
• Know your strengths and play them up
• Apply only to jobs you really want (and you are really qualified for), and be convincing about why you want the job
• Have a professional online identity (or professionalize your existing one)
• Write a good cover letter

Susanne Markgren is currently the Digital Services Librarian at Purchase College, SUNY, an instructor at Manhattanville College, a co-author of “Career Q&A with the Library Career People” , and the mentoring program coordinator for ACRL/NY . She received her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and her MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin.

reposted from 4/16/12 and formerly titled Susanne Markgren …In Six

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