This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions
by Rachael Altman, Head Editor, INALJ Illinois
Meet Megan Ashley, School Librarian and INALJ Assistant Editor
Favorite Library you have been to?
I studied at Loyola University Chicago for my undergraduate degree, and spent a lot of my time studying at the Information Commons. It’s a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing space that was used constantly by students.
I have too many favorites to pick just one, but the book that changed me most fundamentally as a reader is Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Before that, I didn’t realize the breadth of books out there. It opened me up to more diverse reading.
Favorite website/blog (it doesn’t have to be library related)?
Lately, I’ve had a lot of fun following the librarian community on Tumblr. There are some interesting conversations happening there.
Favorite thing about libraries/library technologies?
I love the malleability of library services. It’s really exciting to see a library offer a service that might seem unconventional, but absolutely serves the needs of that community.
If you could take any of your hobbies and create a job of it or integrate it into your job, what would it be? And how?
This is a great question, but honestly, that’s what being a school librarian is for me – taking my current interests and integrating them into a single position.
What positions have you held (both in and out of libraries)?
I was recently hired as an Assistant Librarian in a school, which is the type of librarianship I have hoped to work in from the get-go. While I was in school for my MLIS, I worked as a faculty assistant and as a graduate assistant in the university library archives. I also worked in a liquor store for a year prior to going back to school for my MLIS (which helped to solidify my career goals).
How did you get these jobs?
Besides the liquor store gig, I have gotten every single job through word of mouth. In each situation, I wouldn’t have known about the open position without a friend or acquaintance mentioning it to me. Some of these people were peers from my cohort at library school, and some were contacts I met through networking.
Best piece of job hunting/career advice?
When I was in the thick of job-hunting, I set a goal of applying to one job a day. I used it as a guideline. Sometimes I felt awesome and would apply to four in a day, and sometimes I couldn’t find anything for a week. It’s easy to feel pressure to spend all your free time on the job search, but this helped me balance my life / not go crazy. Let your network know that you’re looking for employment. I contacted my references, mentors, friends from library school, and created a website. If nothing else, talking to people about my job search gave me a touchstone for reality throughout the process.
Megan was raised in Naperville, IL and currently lives in Chicago, IL where she recently started working as a school librarian with children in grades K-8. She earned her BS in Anthropology from Loyola University Chicago and graduated from Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies with an MLIS and a specialization in School Media Studies. Megan enjoys Sci-Fi and Fantasy everything, eating spicy food, exploring new neighborhoods, and Motown music. You can also find her spending entirely too much time on twitter (@mega_ash) and tumblr (megadlib).