Sierra L. Campbell… Chicago History Museum & Success Story

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

by Mary-Michelle Moore, Senior Editor, INALJ California, DC, and Illinois

Sierra L. Campbell… Chicago History Museum & Success Story

sierra campbell success storyMary-Michelle: How did you find your current job?
Sierra: I found my current job by being in the right place at the right time, otherwise known as luck. No, that’s really what happened. I inquired at the Chicago History Museum originally for an internship involving digital asset management. It was unpaid, 12 weeks long and would mostly be editing the metadata inside their DAM system, so that when museum staff would go to find things for researchers, it would be easier for them to do so. One of the staff members who initially interviewed me was leaving for another job, literally a month after I’d started as an intern, so they needed someone ASAP to fill her position temporarily. Because I was already working in their department, and was familiar with some of the day-to-day duties, I talked with my supervisor at the time, expressing great interest in the position. She went and talked to her boss on my behalf and eventually I was hired.
It was a very fast and stressful transition from an intern to an employee because I was being exposed to a great amount of information that I had to learn in what has seemed like a short amount of time. And to magnify this situation even more, my supervisor left on a vacation shortly after I came on board and I was left to manage the department alone for a whole week! Luckily I made it through! As of right now, this is only temporary, as they still are looking for a full-time person to replace the person who’d left, but I’m hoping with time that it will become something more permanent.

Mary-Michelle: What is your favorite book?
Sierra: I actually don’t have a favorite book, but if I had to choose, I’d say “Jurassic Park” by the late Michael Crichton, “Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson, and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith

Mary-Michelle: What are some websites or blogs we should be following?
Sierra: “thelifeguardlibrarian” aka Kate Tkacik on Tumblr (I actually met Kate at a networking event at my old college, she’s very cool)

Not library-related but “This Japanese Life,” – fascinating insight into what it’s like living and working in Japan as an ex-patriot

And of course, the Chicago History Museum Tumblr at

Mary-Michelle: What is your favorite thing about libraries/library technology?
Sierra: My favorite thing about libraries and library technology is how they can bring so many different people from so many different walks of life together. In this day and age of library budgets being cut, I think libraries are innovating by being community centers for those who still need to have a sense of community in the lives.MaryMichelleMoore

Mary-Michelle: What job hunting advice do you have for INALJ readers?
Sierra: The most important thing I’ve heard/read about job hunting in the library world is networking. More than your cover letter or resume, networking seems to be the only way that I’ve been able to even get my foot in the door at some places. Yes, you do have to slog through all those online listings, but unless you are able to talk to a real, live person, it isn’t going to be much help, at least from what I’ve experienced. If you can, take a chance at internships, they could open doors for you, like mine did.

Mary-Michelle: What major challenges did you have while job hunting?
Sierra: The major challenges I had while job hunting is trying to distinguish myself from everyone else. I’m still working on that, and it is by no means easy. I think though in respect to the job I just got, the previous job I had helped to open the door to this one and I hope that it will open the door to many more.

Mary-Michelle: What is your favorite way to connect with other librarians?
Sierra: My favorite way to connect with librarians is to just talk to them – let them tell you their stories about their institution, their collections, and their people and I think their words will speak for themselves.

Sierra L. Campbell is an assistant on the INALJ California page. Sierra holds an Associates in Arts from Harold Washington College, Chicago, a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Illinois – Chicago, and a Masters of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. She is currently working at the Chicago History Museum as a temporary Licensing and Reproductions Technician in Rights and Reproductions. Sierra was born and raised in Chicago and loves Chicago history. She is fascinated by the city and is always seeking out or reading about many aspects that make the city so great. Sierra is a cat lover, bibliophile, pop culture junkie and tech junkie as well. The state she’s vacationed in the most is California.