Molly Riley …In Six

My interview with success story, Molly!

Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Molly: I learned about my current job from my personal and professional community here in Santa Barbara. For that matter, I learned about the residency position I held last year from my professional community in Seattle. I always tire of talking and worrying about networking, but the networks that helped me find these jobs were the natural ones, borne out of good working relationships in libraries and honest friendships with people outside the library.

Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Molly: In graduate school I studied abroad for a month in the Netherlands. The DOK Library Concept Center in Delft is the loveliest library I’ve been to. This library takes risks, uses technology creatively and meaningfully, has an innovation department, lends artwork, welcomes children with imaginative spaces, knows its community and engages with it well, and so is, of course, filled with energy and life.

Naomi: Favorite book?
Molly: The book that speaks to me most forcefully is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. She writes, “It all means more than I can tell you. So you must not judge what I know by what I find words for.” And also, “People are always up in the night, with their colicky babies and their sick children, or fighting or worrying or full of guilt… And I’d pray for them. And I’d imagine peace they didn’t expect and couldn’t account for descending on their illness or their quarreling or their dreams. Then I’d go into the church and pray some more and wait for daylight. I’ve often been sorry to see a night end, even while I have loved seeing the dawn come. Trees sound different at night, and they smell different, too.”

Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/library technology?
Molly: I love that libraries are home to ideas, printed and electronic, and that libraries are places where ideas are shared. I love library technology that puts no barriers between a person and the piece of knowledge or information he needs to help bolster his argument, enhance his research claims, find reliable consumer health information, learn how to knit, or get wrapped in a story.

Naomi:Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Molly: I find anything Aaron Schmidt writes worthwhile: www.walkingpaper.org
Jaap van de Geer and Erik Boekesteijn, of the DOK, are always inspiring: http://www.thisweekinlibraries.com/

Naomi:Best piece of job hunting advice?
Molly: If you’re able and willing to take a residency or something like it (read more here: http://acrl.ala.org/residency/) I highly recommend it. My experience as a “library resident” was a natural extension of what I learned in graduate school. I was lucky enough to work with librarians at SBCC who love their jobs and were keen that I should learn and love the profession, too. In so far as you’re able, take a risk on something short term or in a new city or with a different community of users. Broadly speaking, just take a risk.

I was born in the sweet land of Minnesota, and eventually I became a librarian. 

I went to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, another sweet land, and studied Elementary Education. After graduating, I explored work in social service organizations and eventually served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member at the Saint Paul Public Library coordinating early-literacy programs. That put me on the path to librarianship. I earned my MLIS from the iSchool at the University of Washington in June 2011.

For the 2011-2012 academic year I worked as the Library Resident at Santa Barbara City College. I can’t recommend pursuing a residency like this one enough. It was an excellent initial position out of graduate school. I’m now the Web Services/Research & Instruction Librarian at Westmont College, a small Christian liberal arts college also here in Santa Barbara.