The 2020-2021 school year, though completely virtual, was a great year for SLA – UW. The school year was closed out with a networking event that drew a sizable crowd, thanks to our partners at SLA – PNW and the combined efforts of the SLA – UW 2020-2021 club officers. Before we introduce the incoming officers, we want to give the previous year’s officers a shout-out. Thank you to Samantha Bradley (Co-chair), Ben Kass (Co-chair), Emma Burbank (Secretary), Emma Arata (Treasurer), and Erika Whinihan (Publicity Officer / Online Representative) for your fantastic work!
Now, we can introduce the SLA – UW Officers for the upcoming school year.
Name: Samantha Bradley (she/her) Mode: Residential Professional Interests: Corporate Librarianship, Taxonomy, Metadata Most Recent Book I’ve Read: “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean. Highly recommend! It’s basically a love letter to libraries. Favorite Fictional Librarian: Giles from “Buffy.” He always knows exactly which book to look in for those obscure monster-hunting instructions.
Name: Ben Kass (he/him) Mode: Residential Interests: Digital Preservation and Taxonomy Something special about me: I play the classical guitar. Dream job: Someone pays me to live in a library with three black cats named after the Greek fates and chat to people who wander in. If that doesn’t pan out, preserving working to preserve video games would be cool.
Name: Emma Burbank (she/her) Mode: Residential Professional interests: Music librarianship, but also broadly interested in Special Collections/archives. Special library I’d love to see: Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library Something *special* about me: I play the cello, and my favorite thing is to perform in the pit orchestra for musicals.
Name: Emma Arata (she/they) Mode: Residential Professional Interests: Digital Archiving, Data Curation, Media Literacy Most Recent Book I’ve Read: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin Something *special* about me: Creative writing is an old hobby of mine, and I managed to cobble together a 200-page novel in elementary school.
Name: Erika Whinihan (she/her) Mode: Online (2019 cohort) Professional Interests post-MLIS: Public/Special Librarianship Current job: Business Manager @ Microsoft Special library I’d love to see: Olympic special library/archives (especially the track and field/marathon collection)
I think every student should keep special libraries in mind, because they represent the broad spectrum of librarianship. Just as we need to correct folks when they assume librarians read all day, careers such as digital asset management, information specialist, business intelligence, taxonomist, and more are career options for librarians.
My advice is to use your time in library school to explore your options. Reach out for informational interviews, internships, and job shadowing. Don’t be afraid to send an email to a random professional you’d like to talk to. Ultimately, librarians are all about helping, and so you aren’t likely to be turned down.
There are so many different types of special libraries to explore! One of the best ways to learn about special libraries is to do informational interviews or volunteer. As an MLIS student, librarians are more likely to sit down and talk with you about where they work, your interests, and anything else about the field. If you have the time, volunteering in a special library – even a couple hours a week – will give you a more in-depth look into the workings of that library. This experience could either increase your interest or help you realize that this type of library isn’t for you.
My advice to any student curious about special libraries is to give them a try! Even if you know you want to work in a public or academic library in the future, be open to exploring and learning about special libraries. You don’t even need to be an expert in whatever field the special library is in. I had very limited art knowledge before doing an internship at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Library. As I spent time working with the materials, curators, and outside researchers, I gained an incredible insight into the art world!
-Miranda Montez, 3rd year online student
Hi! I’m Sara Mae O’Brien-Scott, Online Representative for SLA-UW. I am in my final year of the online MLIS program. I’d like to share a bit of advice as you enter internships or directed field work in the special libraries world.
In this world, we often work directly with people who have no background in LIS. So, I recommend you be prepared to educate those around you about information science concepts. More importantly, do it in ways they can understand, and relate the value of information science back to their own goals.
I find this to be something I have to do on a weekly basis in my job with Multnomah County’s Transportation Division, and it was not something I anticipated. At first, I felt awkward and had regular flashes of Imposter Syndrome. (I’m a grad student! How can I be telling certified engineers what metadata is and why it’s important??) However, I soon saw this educational aspect was essential to making improvements to information management at the Transportation Division. And because of my experience in this program, I am equipped to do it…even if it involves some trial and error, and loads of repetition.
-Sara Mae O’Brien-Scott, 3rd year online student
We in the Special Libraries Association UW Chapter are so excited for Orientation next week! We’ll be having a Happy Hour Meet & Greet in conjunction with the Society of American Archivists UW Chapter!