Jillian Suarez …Success Story and Assistant Librarian at the Guggenheim Museum

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

Naomi House’s interview with success story Jillian.

jilliansNaomi:  How did you find your current job?
Jillian:  This is a long story, so I apologize up front. I had been an intern with the Guggenheim Museum in fall of 2011 while also interning at MoMA in their archives department. At the end of the semester, I decided to stay on for another session to catalog and learn more about their archives department. Lets be honest, I was just wrapping up my degree with the University at Buffalo and it was a rough time to find any entry level position. Anyways, it was during the spring internship session that the director approached me to transition to a part-time position.  I accepted, of course, and stayed with them until March 2013. Side Note: It was also because of the Guggenheim (and working on a collaborated METRO grant project with the Whitney Museum) that I was able to finally get a second job (almost 8 months after graduating) with the Whitney Museum of American Art as their Library Assistant.  Anyways, I was let go from the Guggenheim in March of this year (budget issues) and continued to work at the Whitney while trying to find another job. The Art Librarian contacted me in early to mid April to let me know that she was leaving and suggested that I take her position. I began training in the end of April and am now the Assistant Librarian at the Guggenheim Museum.

Naomi:  Favorite library you have been to?
Jillian:  Seattle Public Library, Central Branch.

Naomi:  Favorite book?
Jillian:  This is a terrible question. I am already feeling my anxiety slowly building because I don’t want to choose the wrong book. I will even probably be contemplating this answer days and maybe weeks later.

I’m going to go with Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet…for now!

Naomi:  Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Jillian:  My favorite things about libraries are their special Collections…the smell, the feel, the books themselves, EVERYTHING! All of the unique holdings from institution to institution are what make my job.

Naomi:  Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Jillian:  I’m a fan of awful library books and bookshelf porn. I am constantly sighing and swooning over those great spaces on bookshelf porn.

Oh and you should be following this great blog Findings. It showcases interesting items from the Guggenheim’s archives and library!  (http://blogs.guggenheim.org/findings/)

Naomi:  Best piece of job hunting advice?
Jillian:  Never give up! It is really tough out there and I felt completely discouraged. If possible, volunteer or intern at any institutions you are interested in. I was able to secure positions because of my internships and being able to do more than what was expected of me. I have been told that the best way to get jobs is to promote yourself, which is very difficult for me to do since I am not the type to “sell myself” like a brand. Get your name out there the way you want to. I did it by always going above and beyond for the people I worked with, which worked for me…some people believe you have to schmooze at events, which may work for you.

Basically, never give up/get out there and never compromise who you are…be honest and stay true to you and good things will happen.

I am currently the Assistant Librarian at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, NY. I hold a MLS from the University at Buffalo, SUNY and a MA in Media Studies from The New School. I have also been a Library Assistant at both Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum of American Art and interned at Guggenheim and MoMA during my last semester in fall 2011.

I knew I wanted to be a librarian because I am extremely OCD, slightly awkward, and a huge lover of art and books. I love to cook, watch snobbish foreign films, and have highly nerdy conversations about why Greedo didn’t shoot first (while wearing my Boba Fett helmet) or why being a 2-hearted time lord is completely possible!  

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