by Wendy Girven
Okay, Let's start off with the important stuff - what's on your playlist today?
If I'm not listening to Radio Paradise (an awesome internet radio station), lately I've had a crush on Belle & Sebastian's The Life Pursuit album and I'm also rediscovering Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska album.
I guess we should move on to libraries. What is your current position and what do you do there?
I am an Information Literacy Librarian at Penn State University, University Park. I do a little bit of everything (don't we all?), but primarily instruction, reference, and outreach. Currently I'm co-teaching a First Year Seminar in Library Studies, which has been really invigorating and taught ME a lot. I'm also a team leader for our annual Open House event which draws up to 5,000 students. This is a huge operation so it takes months of planning but it's totally fun. Most recently, I was fortunate enough to work as part of a collaborative group that looked at Facebook applications. Two outcomes of the group's work were an actual Facebook application for our library and the white paper "7 Things to Know about Facebook Applications". This is new ground for us and I'm wicked excited!
What's your favorite thing about your job?
Something that I love overall about academia is the academic freedom of pursuing and researching items that inherently interest me. I don't think you could ask for more in a career! For me this means that I am looking at Web 2.0 tools and technologies within the context of libraries and information literacy. I also love that no day is ever routine and that I work on such a variety of things.
What initially led you to librarianship as a career?
A few years ago, I had a job as the staff assistant to the Assistant Dean for Collections at Penn State. This "view from the top" allowed me to see the kinds of cool things that subject specialists, bibliographers, reference librarians, and administrators did and it really opened my eyes about the field of librarianship. At the same time I did some volunteering at a public library which gave me perspective to compare and contrast these different settings within libraries. In both cases, I had some really great mentors and supporters who answered my questions and encouraged me to explore the field. I can't say enough about how important mentors have been to my career path. Additionally, working in a library prior to my professional career has been extremely beneficial, especially during library school.
What has been your involvement with NMRT? How did you get started?
I have been involved with NMRT for 3 years beginning as a student at the University of Pittsburgh. While in school, I was able to get a grant from Pitt to go to ALA Midwinter where I attended a few NMRT events. I received a warm welcome from the very beginning and have enjoyed being a member ever since. I have been a member of the 3M/NMRT Social Committee in the past and am currently on the Student Reception Committee and am the NMRT liaison to RUSA. I look forward to the opportunity of chairing a committee in the next year.
Has this helped you get involved further in ALA?
Definitely. ALA is a big organization and NMRT has helped it to seem more manageable...like you have a 'home' as a newcomer. It has also introduced me to the process and flow of committee work. Everything that I have learned from being a part of NMRT committees has been applicable to other committees. Additionally, I find the networking opportunities that NMRT provides to be a great boon to getting involved with ALA.
When you are not busy being a librarian, what do you like to do for fun?
Just to get it out of the way, yes, I do the typical librarian things like read and knit! In addition to this I like photography, baking Martha Stewart cakes, letterboxing, and recently some co-workers of mine got me interested in Dance Dance Revolution!