Some of you may be aware that my employer is currently hiring for an archivist. Long story short, my employer moved all my professional responsibilities to a new position, and then decided to hold a search. I could apply, but I’d be facing a demotion if I didn’t get it. To say I was disappointed in their decision would be an understatement.
A few weeks ago, not long after landing in Chicago for SAA, I checked my email and found a job offer…for a librarian position. The job responsibilities included a lot of things I’d wanted to work on at my archives, like digital preservation, managing digital collections, and faculty outreach. But as I spent the week in the company of thousands of archivists, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to leave the field just yet.
I let my employer know that I had a job offer, and they decided to continue with the search. I reframed my options as joining a library that really wanted me to come and staying at an archives that didn’t seem to care if I left. Suddenly, the decision became much simpler.
What sealed it was an email response I received from the library director regarding my concerns about the position. I said that even though the position was a librarian gig, I thought many of the job responsibilities were things that archivists work on, and I wanted to stay involved with SAA and other archivist groups. Oh, and by the way, I write this little webcomic; how do you feel about that?
It turned out that not only was he very aware of this blog, it was one of the things that convinced him I was the right lady for the job. He agrees with me that divisions between librarians and archivists are often unhelpful, and that this job was a wonderful librarian/archivist hybrid. In fact–and I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting here–“you might be inspired to create an entire cartoon narrative around how to name such a new creature! A ‘Libedigitivist’ or something. Perhaps an edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup.”
Oh. Em. Gee. As soon as I got back to Philly, I sent in my acceptance letter. And I’m thrilled to announce that on October 10th, I’ll be joining La Salle University‘s Connelly Library as the Media and Digital Services Librarian. (or archivist, whatevs)
I don’t think things around here will change that much just because I won’t be working in an archives anymore. (You probably wouldn’t know it from reading this comic, but I’ve never actually processed a collection before.) I suspect I’ll be branching out beyond EAD comics to derange other metadata standards, and I may shift the focus a bit more towards digital collections and digital preservation. Of course, that’s a direction the field as a whole is taking, too.
There are a few lessons here for those of you who are thinking about your future job search or are already in the middle of it. You should probably assume that employers have done a very good job of Googling you before they invite you over to hang out for a day. Don’t be afraid to put your future employer on trial, and find out if their library/archives/shark tank is an environment you’d want to work in. And when you find a place that really wants you, just the way you are–well, it’s just about the best feeling in the world.
An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup! So this archivist walks into a bar. The bartender says, "What can I get you?" And the archivist says, "Get me a beer--No, wait, a screwdriver. Or maybe a martini?" The bartender says, "Come on, decide already!" And the archivist says, "Okay, fine. I'll have the original order." I don't think the audience gets it. I can see a guy saying "Um, what the fonds?" There's no pleasing some people.
Easter Bunny from the Library of Virginia
Group assembled around great white shark: Key West, Florida from the State Library and Archives of Florida
James Simpson Theatre from the Field Museum Library
An audience in the New Theatre, 1964 from LSE Library