Phx Friends of UA SIRLS

News and info about librarianship, UA SIRLS, and libraries…

Only $10 and a Good Investment as Well!

Posted by Editor on September 23, 2009

by April R Frost

Who knew that $10 would change my life after 40?

I think I always knew I wanted to be a librarian; I just wasn’t sure how I’d get here. I got my Masters in Library and Information Services in December of 2007. Before I finished school, library jobs were plentiful, and in school, we were told “many librarians are ready to retire.” As time passed, and jobs were very few, I realized I needed to pick specialty, or I would not develop any specific skills that would make me good in any area. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I looked for help and advice.

SIRLS, the University of Arizona’s Library School, has a “Friends” group in Phoenix, where I currently live. It is for SIRLS students, past and present. I decided to give the Liaison, Jacque Doyle a call. “Jacque, I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I have a diverse background, I really like helping people, and I want to be a librarian. I think I am interested in medical technology–Do you have any suggestions?” We talked for a while, and Jacque suggested I join CABL (Central Arizona Biomedical Librarians). She said that for ten dollars, I could meet some great people, and probably network to find at least places to volunteer while I looked for a job. Wow—I think that was the best suggestion I have ever received!

I joined CABL early this year. I have met some great people. Kathleen Carlson (current President), Cynthia Porter (Program Chair), and April Aguiñaga (Secretary), were at all the meetings, so I got to know them. They always asked what I was up to, if I had any prospects, etc. They were always willing to talk and answer questions, as well as offering encouragement and support. Every time I attended a meeting, I met more people, all who offered suggestions and support.

Jacque also recommended I check out some hospital libraries and sign up to volunteer, which I did. I volunteered with Evonda Copeland (and the Assistant Librarian, Caryn Nicolaus). I learned a lot about journals and providing information to doctors, nurses and patients while volunteering there.

In March, I attended the MLGSCA Technology Symposium in Cerritos, CA. April Aguiñaga, told me she was going, and she wanted to introduce me to someone. I met Jeannie Roehrs at the Symposium, who is also from Phoenix. She could not hire me, but had some projects, and time, to show me around her library and help me develop my library skills. I volunteered with her, and even completed a cataloging project at her library. She really wanted to help me develop my skills, to promote the “new breed” of librarians coming in, as she is retiring next year.

All this time, I had been looking for work, but nothing was happening. Then there was an unfortunate opening at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. I applied. I was told by some friends that I should not have applied, since I did not have enough library experience yet. Others told me that it was ok for me to apply, because I had other skills that would help me learn quickly. I was torn, but really felt that I could do this job. I called Judy Kraemer a few times during the interview process to let her know I really was interested, and I knew I could do a good job, because I work hard and don’t give up.

Finally, I got a phone interview, and I made it to the second round! I flew to Long Beach for the second interview, and really second guessed myself. I’m a rookie, I wasted their time, etc. I got the call a few weeks later that I had been selected. I am so excited and honored to finally get a job—and a medical librarian job at that! I know I can be a great contributor to this team, and I am excited in my new venture in a new city and state!

…you just never know what $10 can do for you.


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