Member Spotlight: Catherine Damiani
by Casey McCoy
Q: Tell us about your current position and what you do on a typical day - or is there such a thing as a typical day?
I am currently working as East Providence Public Library's (RI) Digital Services Librarian. I'm the first to hold this position at my library so I have really been able to make it my own! My typical day consists of managing the library's social media accounts, teaching digital literacy classes, managing our brand new iPad Mini lending program, and working at the reference and children's services desks. Depending on what week it is I will also be working on putting the library's monthly eNewsletter together, planning activities for our ages 10+ coding club, or helping my fellow librarians with digital or programming needs.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of working as a librarian?
My favorite aspect about being a librarian is being able to bring patrons the "aha moment." Whether it be at the reference desk or in a digital literacy class, I want patrons to be able to leave the library knowing more than when they came in! Usually at some point in say a digital literacy class I will hear a patron go: "Oh, that's how you do that!" I think that is one of the most rewarding parts of this job.
Q: How did you decide on the information profession for your career? Was it meticulously planned or a happy accident?
I began working as a page shelving books at the Barrington Public Library (RI) in high school and was lucky enough to be brought back during college breaks as a Library Assistant. When I realized that I wanted to work in libraries in a more permanent capacity I found it really difficult to find a full-time paraprofessional position. So after working at Barrington for 7 years I decided to go for my MLIS from the University of Rhode Island's GSLIS program. I give so much credit to those I worked with at Barrington for showing me a wonderful library model and being able to bring a great work experience into my GSLIS program and now my first full-time professional position.
Q: When/how did you first get involved with NMRT? What impact has your service to NMRT had on your involvement with ALA?
I first joined NMRT one year ago and I love the networking and information exchange that this group offers! From the listserv to Footnotes to the resume review service and of course all of the ways you can become involved in NMRT activities and committees. It is an honor to be serving on the 2016 NMRT President's Program Committee and an incredible opportunity to be able to help plan the program with some awesome librarians!
Q: What do you do for fun when you're not librarianing?
When I'm not librarianing you can catch me eating. Seriously. Food is a wonderful thing and I am always up for trying a new restaurant or recipe. I have also been a runner for a few years now and this year I decided to run one 5K per month--so far I have stuck to it with just 2 more months and races to go!
Q: Do you have any advice for NMRT members who are current students or recent graduates?
The advice I would give to current students and recent graduates is: network, network, and oh yes NETWORK! Whether it be with fellow students, professionals, or non-library professionals be sure to make as many connections you can and the most out of those connections. I always like to say: you never know who could be hiring you in the future, so be sure to expand your professional reach.
Q: What's your secret passion?
My secret passion is pushing myself out of my comfort zone. A few years ago I said I would never run a 5K and so I gave myself the good ole "never say never" pep talk and decided to, in a sense, prove myself wrong. Hence how my running series came to be! I guess this goes along with my passion of always wanting to learn more. I think you have to prove yourself wrong at some point to show that you are open to learning along the way.