"A library doesn't need windows. A library is a window." – Stewart Brand

Jul 15, 2010


I promised an update on my job interview!

Overall, I think it went pretty well. I was articulate and had some good answers to the questions I was asked. I put together a pretty decent flyer for the MS Publisher test without feeling too rushed to finish it. I am a little concerned that I didn't say as much as I could have about my qualifications. Sometimes the director would make a comment that paralleled something I'd been planning to say later or talked about the importance of a qualification I had, and while I often tried to indicate that I really agreed or that I had the qualification in question, I think I held back a bit more than I should have out of concern about sounding sycophantic. In retrospect, that was a bit silly. But what's done is done, and in the future I'll be more prepared for that kind of situation.

Of course we also spent a bunch of time talking about the job. And oh boy. The job sounds great. If I were hired, my primary responsibility would be to work on getting the community more strongly engaged with its library. I would also be doing some reference, meeting room scheduling, etc. -- but most of the job would be program planning, outreach activities, and the like. Anyone who knows me should see how this is a great match. To begin with, it ties directly into the whole reason I want to work in public libraries to begin with: my deep interest in how libraries can work with their communities to create mutually beneficial relationships that strengthen the community while ensuring that its needs are being met. I have been itching to get into a position where I can have a major impact on library-community relationships. This particular library is an especially good place for me because it's in a city that is recovering from an economic downturn, in part by rebranding itself as a cultural center. There are tons of opportunities  in that kind of situation for a library to meaningfully weave itself into civic life.

The position also offers a bit more responsibility than the typical entry-level job might, which would also be good for me. It is a bit of a step up from the amount of responsibility I've previously held in jobs and extracurriculars, but I feel ready to grow in that way and confident that I would respond well to the challenge. I think with a little free rein to exercise creativity and initiative, I can really start to put together some great things for anyone who employs me. And at this library, the director seems open to ideas and very supportive of her employees. I think it would be a nurturing environment in which to work, and just the kind of situation that would help me to create and implement my best ideas.

The job would offer plenty of opportunities to take some initiative and run with my ideas, and really have some impact in a vital area of library work. The people I met seemed nice (the circulation worker who I asked for directions to administration gave me a huge smile and cheerfully helped me -- big points for good customer service!), the location is fantastic, and I think it would be a great opportunity for me to grow while accomplishing concrete positive results. And it plays right into many of my strengths -- my interest in this specific area of library work, my ability to organize and multitask, the analytical and management skills I learned in classes at SI, my creativity and strong initiative. I just hope that I got all that through in the interview!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I make the next cut! If I do, the director will call my references, and my references are very strong. I think I've got a good shot at the job if I make it to the next stage.

For now, all I can do is be patient. If all goes as planned I should hear something quite soon. Send me thoughts of good luck!

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