By Bethany Wilkes
I recently had the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Goldman, the current Chair of the NMRT Scholarship, Research and Writing Committee. Ms. Goldman was gracious enough to be interviewed via email, and even though our communications were limited to email correspondence, I could sense her enthusiasm about the role of the committee and for librarianship in general.
While Ms. Goldman started her career as a newspaper reporter, a family connection contributed to her interest in librarianship. Her mother is the assistant director of a public library in New Mexico and a "great salesperson for the job." Although the family connection led Ms. Goldman to pursue librarianship, "when it was time for something new, I looked for a field that would retain some of the things I loved about journalism, like sharing information with people, learning something new every day, and making a difference in your community." Presently, she works as the Database Librarian at Kingston Frontenac Public Library in Ontario, where she is responsible for the ILS for a 17-branch system. She states, "there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes toward making the library's collections more accessible. I also get to manage digitization projects, which I did in my previous position as well. Local history really combines all my interests and background perfectly - history, technology, storytelling, outreach, and community-building." Prior to working at Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Ms. Goldman was the Adult Services librarian at Chelsea District Library in Michigan, which was named the Best Small Library in America by Library Journal and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation during her time there (2005-2008).
Ms. Goldman has been involved with ALA since 2003. As she notes, "NMRT has been a great way to get involved in the organization, which otherwise seems overwhelmingly large. I have served on the Footnotes and Archives committees as well as Scholarship, Research, and Writing. One thing I very much appreciate about NMRT is that I have been able to stay active and move into positions of more responsibility despite the fact that I have not been able to attend the annual or midwinter conferences in recent years."
Ms. Goldman offers some excellent advice for librarians who are interested in publishing scholarly articles for the first time. "The keys," she states, "to learning how to write are practice and study. Practice writing in any way you can; start a blog or comment on someone else's, write book reviews, contribute to discussions on listservs and online forums. Even if it isn't scholarly, this will help you find your voice and get comfortable organizing your thoughts... Then read the types of journals where you'd like to get published. While reviewing the content, also think about what you like or don't like about the author's style, research methods, or arguments. Analyzing scholarly articles will help you understand their structure and what makes a successful paper. Also, doing all this research and writing is a lot of work. Look for co-authors and don't be afraid to seek out a mentor in someone with more publishing experience at your workplace, library school, or elsewhere."
Ms. Goldman has a variety of interests. Even her personal interests reflect her commitment to libraries. In 2008 she started a consulting firm, Black River Group, with her colleague Bill Harmer. The firm produces the Rock & Roll Library Tour,which sends a rock band touring libraries all over the country every summer. She also enjoys "exploring the great outdoors, baking, visiting my far-flung family and, of course, reading."