Erin the Programming Librarian
Erin lives it up with library-themed trompe l’oeil.
1. Can you tell us about your position?
I am the Head of Adult Programming for a public library in Connecticut. This means I coordinate author events, music concerts, film screenings, technology classes, and workshops for adults. Because our library has a relatively small amount of full-time staff, I have my hand in a lot of different pots at all times.
2. How did you get into librarianship?
My senior year of high school we had a career day that allowed seniors to get out of class to shadow a professional for half the day. By the time I made it to the career center to choose a professional, the only two choices left were librarian and plumber. I just wanted to get out of class and I still wonder what would have happened had I chose plumber.
I started to seriously consider going for my MLS after my friend from college went for it to study book preservation. I considered library school for at least a year before I applied, mostly out of fear. Then I figured the heck with it I really should get on with my life. I’m glad I did.
3. What work training and education did you have to prepare for your career?
I left a job in publishing to pursue my library degree, so I was already used to selling to librarians and I had a general idea of what the career entailed. I worked in publicity for a reference book publisher and I read Library Journal and School Library Journal regularly to find reviews of our titles. When I applied to Pratt SILS, I also applied to intern at the New York Public Library and was offered that position with their public technology training program. I learned more during that internship that probably my entire time in library school, thanks to a fantastic mentor.
When that internship finished, I received a fellowship from Pratt to intern at the American Library in Paris for the summer so obviously I took that. It was a crazy, explosive, awesome summer. Upon my return I accepted a part-time reference position at the Library where I am currently employed and basically said yes to any hours that were offered to me. Working for three very different public libraries gave me a broad range of experience.
4. What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of the field?
My favorite aspect of the field is working with people. I’m a classic extrovert who has to interact with people regularly in order to stay content. I love teaching technology to digital immigrants.
My least favorite aspect is some of the stereotypes we face as librarians. I long for the day when I tell someone that I’m a librarian and he says, “Oh so you must like technology” rather than, “Oh so you must like books.” I like both, by the way.
5. What is your advice for readers interested in librarianship?
Do not go to library school if it is going to put you in tremendous debt. This is the harsh truth. But do go to library school! This career has absolutely changed my life in the best way possible.
Erin enjoys avocados, riding her bike, and talking to people though her computer screen. Find her library’s tumblr darienlibrary.tumblr.com or follow her on Twitter @erintheshea.
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