On March 26th Beta Phi Mu Theta Chapter, SLA's Professional Development and Diversity Committee and Pratt SI, held a joint event - Career Stories: Interesting Opportunities for Librarians and Info Pros.
Five speakers shared their career histories and their passion for their current roles. We enjoyed light refreshments and an opportunity to tour the Pratt Gallery exhibit before the presentations; networking followed.
Emily Toder, Processing Archivist at the New York Transit Museum described some of the many artifacts in the museum's collection. If you are looking for an item relating to the NY transit system will be sure to find it in this archive. Emily shared images of historical car cards, tunnel construction, graffiti covered subway cars, old uniforms, lanterns and tokens and a decommissioned car being dropped into the ocean to help create an artificial reef. For Emily working as an archivist is her ideal job. She gets to practice all the traditional elements of information management; processing, cataloging, reference and outreach and has also developed subject expertise. Work for her is never boring.
Stacey Calabrese, Manager of Research Services at the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A'S) described her team's very organized approach to running an extremely busy research service. Research is the most heavily used function of the Association, they receive 7000 custom requests from members a year. Working for mid sized advertising agencies means she never knows what she will be working on next, recently Stacey provided a company profile on Hagen Daz followed by an industry profile on chain saws. Other services her team provide include an insights newsletter, curating content for the online members' portal, monitoring developments in advertising and orientations.
Brynn White, Archivist at the American Kennel Club, accompanied her talk with a rolling display of dog photos from the Club's collection, and very cute they were too. She described how a series of intern positions and part time roles helped her to further her career in information, although it seems her love for her childhood pet, a rare breed of terrier, contributed towards her securing her current role, truly a dream job for a dog lover. With only one part time assistant Brynn's challenge is to manage the expectations of her stakeholders as to the services she can provide, a challenge that has increased since the Club opened the Museum of the Dog earlier this year and where part of the library collection is now housed. Her advise to anyone entering the library and information profession is to develop advocacy skills, the reality of today's workplace is that many of us have to advocate the value of our own jobs.
Deborah Goss, Director, Library at Mt Sinai Services/Queen Hospital Center described her love for medical librarianship. When she graduated in literature in 2009, at the height of an economic recession she had not been planning to follow a career in medical libraries. She started as an intern at the Queens Public Hospital and clearly found her niche. Deb provided a helpful overview of the opportunities available to medical librarians and the skills required. Apparently it is possible to become a clinical librarian who accompanies the physician on ward rounds. Today's challenges include the dramatic rise in available clinical studies over the last 20 years and how to research them effectively which must be a positive for her and her colleagues who have the skills required.
Sheryl Ramer, Director of Hospital Library, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Mount Sinai Services, also did not plan a career in medical libraries. After working in a number of different sectors she 'fell' into librarianship. Sheryl has extended her library service to everyone in the hospital from the physicians to the janitors. Recognizing the diverse cultures of the hospital workers she has developed language learning programs open to all. She has a pragmatic approach to budget management, buy what is requested, don't buy what is not and as a result she still manages a print collection. Challenges for Sheryl include working with colleagues who are protective of what they consider their areas of responsibility and regular hospital quality surveys. Sheryl gave a real sense of the satisfaction she gains from helping her hospital community.
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