An open letter to Maggie

At the LITA President’s session this past weekend I sat next to young woman who was obviously an exceptional multi-tasker. As she listen and took notes during the session, she kept toggling back and forth to coding a style sheet that seemed to be for an online resume. Before I got up to leave, I passed her one of my cards and asked if she was job hunting. She indicated that she was still in library school, but one day hoped to land a job as a web developer.

Fast forward to yesterday and a follow-up email I received from Maggie* -- a smart girl. So many people forget to follow-up on simple things that spark a future opportunity. Anyway, thought I’d openly share my reply to her for anyone else out there who might also be considering a career in the digital side of libraries.

Hi Maggie,

Thanks for your email and follow-up. It was good to meet you, even if briefly during the session. Working in libraries within the digital space, I couldn't help but look over your shoulder a bit as you worked on your project. I hope I didn't seem nosey.

As you continue in your studies at [the University] -- and especially with a desire to work in web development -- I would encourage you to begin to actively develop your online presence. It will serve you well when you start to look for that first position in libraries to stretch and build your skills.

Again thanks for the email and best of luck to you in finishing your studies. I know you indicated that you were mainly interested in working an academic setting. Having worked 15+ years in the public libraries, a dozen or so specifically in the web services, I might also recommend public libraries. In comparing notes with colleagues from academic libraries, many have been envious of the greater freedom that public libraries often have to innovate and try new things. And, in the digital space that can be a huge benefit. :)

Take Care,

Helene Blowers

If you're in library school and are looking for a career in libraries (or any organization for that matter) within the digital space, nothing IMHO demonstrates your knowledge, capabilities or interest more than a strong digital presence. If you don't have one, get one! And if you do, then... continue to strengthen it. :)

* Note: Name has been changed to protect the “interested” :)

PS: Thanks "Maggie" and best wishes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is there anything better than getting a personal, meaningful response back from an inquiry or contact! It's right up there with giving 3-thank-you's before you say goodbye. So, thank you, thank you, thank you, Helene, for sharing this open letter and for continuing to encourage and inspire the whole library universe (we've move beyond simply "world").