The last time we heard from Lauren, she was still in library school and very unsure about where she was going to end up and how she was going to get there. But, as she says in her post below, a lot can change in a year. Lauren may be busy now, but she takes time to keep up with the latest library news on her blog, and on Twitter and Google+. She also blogs with the Hack Library School team. Check her out! Confused about what is going on? Read about the series here.
It’s amazing what a difference a year can make. In my guest post last June, I was a crazy busy library school student gearing up for what I thought was my last semester. I started applying for jobs around the first or second week of August. However, in mid-August, an opportunity came along for a Student Career Experience Program paid internship at an academic Air Force library–with the possibility of becoming a permanent librarian there (permitting a. they wanted to hire you and b. there wasn’t a hiring freeze). I got the internship, postponed my graduation until May, and moved to a new city 115 miles away from the University of Alabama. I didn’t have to take classes during my last semester, so I worked full time and did no homework; basically, it was the perfect scenario. Long story short (long story can be found here), I ended up becoming a full-time, permanent librarian there! I got to start my career in a profession I love, at a job and workplace I already knew and loved. This is not the traditional path to librarian employment, but I honestly think it should be. I got to work 40 hours a week in a library, getting paid, performing tasks that a librarian would do. If you’re a library school student or a recent grad, I encourage you to check out any open fellowships or SCEP positions, as well as library residencies. The experience these programs are offering is invaluable, even if it doesn’t provide full-time employment afterward.
As for my position, it’s fairly unique; my title in the federal system is Librarian, but in the library I’m known as Assistant Editor. I work on the Air University Library Index to Military Periodicals, and my main responsibilities are selecting articles for inclusion into the AULIMP (the power!), marking them up so our data technicians will know how the articles should be input into the database, and reviewing the indexing work of the librarians who provide headings for the articles. The Editing Section also receives a few titles that aren’t assigned to anyone, so we index them ourselves, which is really fun. Indexing is essentially cataloging, but without AACR2 and cataloging rules (we have our own rules). I have an editing and proofreading background, so I really enjoy my job. Working in the back is also a nice change of pace, and it’s great to know I’m still helping to connect patrons with information they need. However, I do miss working directly with patrons, and eventually hope/plan to end up in the reference department at my institution.
So, what’s next? As a library student I started writing for the awesome collaborative blog Hack Library School, but since graduation I have shifted into an editor/mentor role there. I will continue to be a mentor for any future librarians/information professionals seeking guidance and advice. I’m hoping to become more involved in SLA and/or ALA (Military Libraries Division, FAFLRT, Newfeds), and continue pursuing professional development opportunities (posters, journal articles, presentations, etc). Otherwise, I’m incredibly happy at my library, and I’m looking forward to learning and growing as a librarian here.