Kathy Elliott …In Six

My interview with success story, Kathy

Naomi:  How did you find your current job?
Kathy:  As soon as I was accepted into an MLIS program, I joined the San Diego Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA-SD). And it paid off. I met San Diego Zoo Global librarian Talitha Matlin, asked if she needed volunteers, and ended up interning there for 7 months. It was a great fit–I absolutely loved the small library experience. When the position of Library Research Specialist opened up this summer, Talitha let me know even before it was advertised. Familiarity with the library’s procedures and needs helped me to put together a strong application, and knowing all three interviewers made the process very relaxed. It can’t be said too often: volunteering and networking are tremendously helpful tools for job seekers!

Naomi:  Favorite library you have been to?
Kathy:  The Library of Congress is the most beautiful and impressive library I’ve seen. But my favorite library is the Point Loma Branch of the San Diego Public Library. This is where I began my love affair with books. I spent countless happy hours there, immersed in adventures and mysteries and inspiring stories that helped form the person I have become.

Naomi:  Favorite book?
Kathy:  If I had to pick one, I’d go for a classic: Little Women. I re-read it every few years and love Alcott’s characters, language, and focus on caring for others. But most of the time I read for fun. My favorites are mystery series with a sense of humor, like Janet Evanovich’s inept but plucky New Jersey bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum.  I’m waiting for the next installment to discover how Stephanie manages to blow up yet another car (or three) while not losing sight of the importance of big hair and attitude.

Naomi:  Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Kathy:  When I grew up, we had to locate books in card catalogs and journal articles in print indexes (yes, that dates me!). I love the efficiency and ease of use of today’s online catalogs and electronic databases, and how quickly I can locate information and conduct research.

Naomi:  Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Kathy:  I spend more time following breaking news on Twitter than reading blogs. One of my current interests is how genomics, digital devices, and new methods for storing and sharing information are changing the practice of medicine. Cardiologist and genomicist Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, is a prolific tweeter and commentator on these topics. Try following @EricTopol and be amazed at all the new things on the medical information horizon.

Naomi:  Best piece of job hunting advice?
Kathy:  Join a professional society, attend events, introduce yourself to the members, and offer your services. Local chapters always need volunteers and are happy to take students as well as acting librarians. You’ll get to know a variety of local librarians and they’ll get to know you. You will be the first person they think of when they hear of an internship or job opportunity.

Kathy is the new Library Research Specialist for San Diego Zoo Global. With a BA in Zoology and an MS in Biological Sciences, she initially taught high-school biology and then moved into a laboratory research career as a molecular biologist. After 20 years working in for-profit settings, she was inspired by her medical librarian sister to redirect her skills into a service-oriented career. Kathy completed an MLIS degree through San Jose State University’s online program in May 2012. She found her niche while interning in special libraries at San Diego Zoo Global and the San Diego Natural History Museum. She has been an active member of SLA-SD as Student Liaison in 2011 and a Director in 2012. Kathy has an article, “Genomic Medicine Enters the Clinic: New Roles and Challenges for Hospital Librarians,” coming out in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of Hospital Librarianship.