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Naomi House’s interview with success story Wanett.
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Wanett: I’m juggling a variety of positions at the moment. I submitted my application for the volunteer Social Media Manager position at Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York (www.nycarchivists.org/) in the fall of last year. I began managing ART’s social media in October, working alongside the current Communications Director. When the call for board nominations was announced in the spring, Ryan (the CD) said he was pleased with my work and asked if I would like to be nominated for his position! Right now, I’m in the process of meeting and greeting the rest of the committee and switching over responsibilities and email accounts.
My library internship resulted from a more traditional path. After noticing the post on the Brooklyn Public Library (bklynpubliclibrary.org) site, which I checked nearly daily, I submitted my resume and hoped for the best. The odds were on my side as they had 5 slots to fill, which I believe led to interviewing more applicants than normal. I got the call to come in. After some harrowing moments waiting for a bus to arrive on one of the most unreliable bus routes in Brooklyn, I hopped in a cab and made the interview in plenty of time. Once there, I managed my jitters admirably and delivered a great interview. Before I made it home, I received a call saying that I’d gotten the position!
In addition to my work with ART and BPL I’m also working for two maker communities. At Handmaker’s Factory (http://handmakersfactory.com.au/), I put on my librarian hat to research designers of color in fashion’s history and review fashion and sewing related events at New York’s cultural institutions. At Kollabora (kollabora.com) I manage the sewing community, upload content and guest blog. Both feed my creativity, which makes it possible for me to do everything else.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Wanett: Hands down, my favorite library is BPL’s Walt Whitman branch. Though it is small and mostly unremarkable, it was my childhood library and will always be special to me. It was one of the first places I was able to travel to on my own and it held so many stories to for me to get lost in. I was a child in great need of escape so having this branch nearby saved my kid sanity.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Wanett: I’ll be cliché and say that asking a book lover what their favorite book is is like asking a parent which child is their favorite! As a mother of four, this dilemma is particularly applicable to me. I can narrow down my faves to a few. When feeling a bit serious: I Wish I Had a Red Dress by Pearl Cleage and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. When in need of a great laugh: Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes and any of the Georgian Nicolson Series by Louise Rennison. When feeling nostalgic: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and poems from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Wanett: I love how library technology helps the community. I just completed graduate school in December, so all of the book learning about the digital divide is still fresh to me. Despite my familiarity with the statistics, I am still shocked by some patrons’ issues with basic tech. I feel such satisfaction when I assist someone with an issue they’re struggling with. I love that the library is the place they turn to for help and that I’m doing my part to provide it.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Wanett: I don’t think I’m following any hidden gems. My reader holds a mash-up of interests (libraries, archives, DIY, fashion, art, business) and I visit places like Code Academy and Coursera when the learning bug hits me. I would like to encourage more people to submit photos to Librarian Wardrobe. I think the project is an amazing way to display the creativity and diversity of librarians.
Naomi: Best piece of job-hunting advice?
Wanett: The best advice I received: Find and join professional organizations. Once in, volunteer and attend as many events as you can. It’s a great way to meet people, and the experience can pad out your resume. If you secure one of these volunteer positions, work hard to make a great impression. Following this advice led to my work with ART and I believe that having that library related experience helped me land the BPL internship.
Stay up to date with the latest in your field and related fields. You can do that through reading, webinars, professional meetings, and informal meetups. The ability to speak intelligently about your work is important. That’s much easier to do when you know (and are genuinely interested in) the latest news. Share this information with everyone you meet. I believe the good karma pays off and making friends in your industry can’t hurt.
Lastly. Look. Look. Look. LOOOOK for jobs! I spend so much time looking for library jobs; I should add it to my resume!
Wanett Clyde, a native New Yorker and Brooklynite for life, is a librarian interning at Brooklyn Public Library. She’s also a wife, mom and nocturnal being who crafts everything from stories, clothing, paintings, PowerPoint presentations and blog posts in the wee hours of the morning.