Celebrating National Library Week: Advice to my younger self

National Library Week blog series

April 10 – 16 is National Library Week in the United States, an annual observance that has been sponsored by the American Library Association since 1958. In celebration of National Library Week, a few members of the OCLC team reflect on their career choices and today’s libraries in a five-part Next series.


WEDNESDAY, 13 APRIL 2016

If you could give your younger self advice for your first library job, what would it be?

 

“Take as many diverse courses as possible but focus mostly on management. Technology is important but management and project management are probably as if not more important.”

Daniel Boivin, Executive Director, OCLC Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean

Jackie Dooley“Get as much real-world work experience as you can before you get your graduate degree, and, if possible, in a variety of environments. I had four different jobs while at UCLA—each and every one of them valuable in its own way.”

Jackie Dooley, Program Officer

“Be more patient with difficult patrons—you have no idea what their day was like before they came in, or even what kind of a frustrating day they were having using the library. Also, be kinder to the displaced people who had few places to go other than the library. You don’t know their back story, so cut them some (a lot of) slack.”

Rob Favini, MSLIS, Member Relations Liaison

“Be a GOOD listener. Ask questions about what others in the library do—and how their jobs may (or may not) relate to your own job. Find a mentor (not necessarily assigned to you if the library does) and talk to those with experience. Use that along with your responsibilities to help set your goals and objectives—for your current job; and look to the future for new possibilities.”

Ron Gardner, OCLC Digital Services Consultant

Daphne Kouretas“In the world of international development, there was a lot of value placed on adapting any given solution for use in a particular context. Everything was better when it was localized. As a general principle, I continue to espouse this. However my work with OCLC has also taught me the value of adhering to certain across-the-board standards because it makes collaboration outside of your immediate ambit way more doable.”

Daphne Kouretas, Senior Implementation and Effective Use Manager

“I had wonderful work opportunities and experiences. I treated all of these jobs as professional endeavors—you never knew who might be watching you and your work efforts. Don’t be afraid to ask for new learning and additional tasks. Don’t settle for the job you’ve been given and tell yourself that it’s ‘just a job’ and turn your brain off while you do it.”

Kemberly A.M. Lang, MLS, OCLC Library Manager and Corporate Archivist

“My advice to my younger self would have been to go on to the Masters program in Library Studies more directly after receiving my BA. I spent a good number of years in para-professional positions in libraries after receiving my BA while also pursuing my musical interests and activities. This is not to say these weren’t valuable experiences as I learned much about serials and cataloging and even some aspects of reference services.”

Mary Alice Robinson, Senior Training Coordinator

“Recognize that you don’t actually know everything, talk to the people working around you and branch out. I had opportunities to learn more about how other parts of the library carry out their work, didn’t take advantage of them and didn’t find the same easy opportunities to hop around into different departments later on in my work life.”

Bruce Washburn, Software Engineer

“Be helpful, but let them learn how to do it too. Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else is. If you didn’t crash, you weren’t going fast enough: Don’t be afraid of failure.”

Kyle Willis, Product Manager


Wherever you are in the world, join us in celebrating Library Week by sharing your first library job on twitter, with #NLW16 and #OCLCnext. Click on the text below to get started…