Marsha Taichman …In Six

My interview with success story Marsha

Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Marsha: I found my current job via the Partnership listserv, which usually focuses on Canadian job sites, but occasionally advertises jobs in the US. A few of my friends sent the job posting to me thinking it would be a good fit for my set of skills, which boosted my confidence when I was putting together an application.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Marsha: The library that had the most significant impact on my life is probably the one at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. It was there that my love of art books flourished. I spent time in this library during high school, and while I researched and wrote my graduate thesis. The stacks are closed, and the staff will bring you the books you request on carts. And oh, the books! There is a beautiful view of the city, as well as lovely old desks and comfortable chairs. It’s a wonderful place to spend time.

Naomi: Favorite book?
Marsha: I don’t think I can choose a single book to call my favorite. Some books I read and re-read include: The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger), The Namesake (J. Lahiri), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (D. Eggers), Naked (D. Sedaris), Valencia (M. Tea), Self Help (L. Moore), Camera Lucida (R. Barthes), The Poetics of Space (G. Bachelard) and On Longing (S. Stewart). I love having lots of art books around and flipping through them for inspiration.

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Marsha: What still astounds me about libraries is the democracy of membership. As a library user, you can borrow any circulating book for a period of time, and during that time the book is yours to use. You can read it, you can make notes and photocopies from it, you can keep it on your bedside table or tuck it into your bag to read on the bus. You can’t write in it or dogear the corners of the pages, but those are small concessions. The fact that the material between those covers is available to any number of people, and that a library card is a passport to so much information is something that never ceases to make me happy.

Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Marsha: Specialized listservs are great for finding out about jobs. The ARLIS listerv for the Art Libraries Society of North America is good for finding jobs in art libraries. You find out about some of the best jobs through word of mouth, so it’s important to network and listen for hidden job opportunities. When I was looking for jobs, I went to the websites of certain museums like MoMA and the Guggenheim regularly to see if new jobs were posted.

Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Marsha: When you find a job that you really want, go after it ruthlessly. Find ways to convey your enthusiasm, and do as much research as possible about the institution. Make every effort to compile a stellar application that speaks to the job description and highlights the skills you have that would serve the position well (any skills whatsoever, even if they seem only marginally relevant). Have people proofread your coverletters and comment on your resume. Job hunting can be incredibly discouraging, but have faith that something will come up in time.

Marsha Taichman is the Visual Resources and Public Services Librarian in the Fine Arts Library at Cornell University. After spending a decade working and going to school in Montreal, Quebec, she is enjoying small town life in Ithaca, New York. She has an MLIS from McGill University and an MA in Art History from Concordia.