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.
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. :)
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.