By Todd M. Grooten
I recently had the opportunity to ask NMRT member Jodie Gambill some questions about her involvement with the NMRT and her career as a librarian.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I'm a techie at heart and have been since high school, when I first discovered the Internet and HTML coding. This was
around 1998. When I'm not reading about technology or libraries, personal finance tops my list of non-fiction reading. I've
been a golfer since age twelve. I sing in my church choir and am the church Webmaster. I have one furry child, a pug named
Layla, and a husband to whom I've been married almost five years.
What is your current position and what are some of your responsibilities?
A: I'm currently a Systems Librarian at Vanderbilt University. My core responsibility is to build and maintain our web applications. We have a home-grown content management system written in Perl, and our new custom projects are generally PHP/MySQL applications. We also have a variety of software applications not built in-house that also need support. Recently, I've been involved in setting up Drupal as a pilot project for our web environment. I also serve on several committees and projects teams, which I love because I get to learn new things and get to know more of my coworkers throughout the system. Oh, and I do a lot of "other duties as assigned and/or volunteered for."
What led you to pursue a career in librarianship?
A: I'm one of those simple-minded folks who went into librarianship because I loved to read. I spent many hours at my local public library as a kid, and even worked as a volunteer in the summer during middle and high school. When I needed a job in college to earn some extra money, of course I worked in my school's library. It didn't dawn on me until then that I could make a career out of this! My supervisors at my school library really encouraged me to go for my master’s degree and become a librarian... I feel like they were instrumental in getting me into this field. So Leah and Laura, I'll be forever grateful to you!
How did you get involved in NMRT and how would you characterize your experience?
A: When I joined ALA, it just made sense to join NMRT as well. After observing for a couple of years, I decided to get involved in NMRT committee work. It's always good to give back to an organization and get to know other people in the field. I'm in my first year of service on the both the Archives and Mentoring Committee.
What are some challenges faced by librarians today?
A: I think one of the biggest challenges we face is ourselves! Many of us are so resistant to change in the face of our patrons' evolving habits that it threatens our very livelihood. We need to continue to grow and change with our patrons to provide the services that best fit their needs.
What is one thing you'd like people to know about librarians that they probably don't know?
A: We don't sit at a desk reading books all day. It takes a lot of hard work to keep a library running smoothly! Maybe this public perception is a testament to the quality of our work – we make it look easy!
What words of advice would you give new librarians entering the field?
A: Get real world experience while you are in school! Do a practicum, volunteer, or work part-time while going to school. I took the third option and was offered a job within my library upon graduation.
Lastly, what is the last book you read?
A: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I'm re-reading the series for the first time and thoroughly enjoying it!