Looking Outside the Box

by Stefanie Maclin, Catalog Specialist, EBSCO Information Services

Looking Outside the Box

StefanieMaclinRecently, I spoke on a panel to an Archives Management course at Simmons College on the topic of ‘Lone Arrangers’. At the time, I was working part-time as the Special Collections Librarian at Bunker Hill Community College Library and Learning Commons. Towards the end of the discussion, as the panelists, we were asked if we had any job advice. “Look outside the box,” I answered.

I had stumbled into my position of Special Collections at Bunker Hill through a side door. When I agreed to participate in this discussion, I had already accepted a position to start three weeks later at EBSCO Information Services (formerly EBSCO Publishing). My job title does not contain the word “librarian” and I do not work in a “traditional” library. I am a Catalog Specialist. I am part of the team, which designs and troubleshoots the academic catalogs many universities, colleges, and other institutions use. If you had asked me when I was graduating from Simmons College School of Library Science three years ago whether I thought I would be working at a corporate institution, I would have said no.

I’m a trained archivist. I spent two semesters interning in archives and special collections, one at an academic institution, one at a museum. These were respected archives positions. After graduating, I worked several contract projects in archives and special collections. I also joined the SLA’s New England chapter. As I searched and searched for a full-time job, I started talking to other librarians, both traditional and non-traditional. I began to realize that at its core, my MSLIS is not about working in libraries; rather, it’s about research. It’s about dismantling information. I started to look at what other aspects of my job I enjoyed. cataloguing was a definite one. So was emerging technologies, along with promoting information and visual literacy.

I’ve been working with EBSCO for six months in September. I still consider myself an archivist. I still call myself a librarian. But, as professionals, we need to start thinking about our degree more creatively. We need to remember that librarians are everywhere, that our skills and specialties will take us anywhere. When I was asked to elaborate on my advice of “look outside the box”, I explained that we need to not be afraid to try something new. That businesses, museums, law offices, they’re all hiring archivists, and records managers, and librarians, and we need to look for those positions. We need to search not for the title of our job, but the skills we want to utilize or learn. We need to remember that sometimes, we need to go that extra mile.

Finding a job is hard enough, we need not to limit ourselves to just one aspect of what we are capable of. Rather, we need to look at everything, and do what we were taught: dismantle, collocate, research, and above all, learn.

Stefanie Maclin currently works as a Catalog Specialist at EBSCO Information Services. Prior to that, she worked at Bunker Hill Community College Library and Learning Commons, and as a Gallery Officer at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She’s done previous contract work for such places as Perkins School for the Blind, Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, and Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMASS – Boston. She holds a B.A. in English/Creative Writing and History and MSLIS in Library and Information Science/Archives Management. She is also currently the Emerging Technologies Chair for the SLA New England chapter. When she is not being a librarian, she enjoys crafting (knitting, crocheting, sewing), traveling, baking, running, and reading. She is also a published poet. Stefanie can be found on Twitter and on LinkedIn.