“An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup”

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

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.

Photo credits:

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

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21 Responses to ““An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup””

  1. Marie-Lyne Bergeron aka grenouillemlb Says:

    Congrats upon the job!

  2. Anne Says:

    Congratulations on your new job!

  3. Jennifer S. (@CyclinArchivist) Says:

    Fabulous comic, as usual, and congratulations on the new job!! Wishing you all the best!

  4. Zardra Says:

    Congratulations!

  5. nixonara Says:

    Beautifully expressed in text and pix and beautifully handled difficult situation to get you to this point. Congrats, may you find the success and happiness you deserve in the new gig!

  6. Dorothea Says:

    Congratulations! How fabulous — and what a smart person your new manager is.

  7. karen Says:

    Good for you!

  8. trgllylibrarian Says:

    The thing I cherish most about my MLIS education and the “information profession” as a whole is the flexibility. I specialized in archives in school, but the attitudes of archivists in academia and the tone of the professional conversation convinced me that I preferred libraries. It was too late to switch concentrations, but I have still learned plenty that will help me in a library career. Then there’s the digital side of things, as you pointed out. Right now I’m not working in a library or an archives; I’m making websites for small businesses and nonprofits. There are so many ways to contribute and to help information seekers!

    Congratulations on finding the right fit!

  9. Albert Says:

    The stars have aligned for you! Your definately deserving and have the luck to boot. Many congratulations – it gives me hope that maybe, one day, I too may find the perfect fit.

  10. Amy Says:

    Congrats on the new job, it looks like you will be very happy there. It’s sad you’re previous employer couldn’t see what a good archivist they had.

  11. ArchiveSurvivor Says:

    Congratulations on having a new employer who gets you!

  12. D.B. Says:

    Congratulations!

    This was my favorite quote: ” 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.”

    I had been thinking about a masters degree in film and video archiving/preservation, but I decided that the MSLIS was much more flexible. As it turns out, I will be starting a full-time position involving digital collections and archives with manuscripts, audio, & video. So flexibility helped…

    Good luck to you!

  13. Rachel Says:

    Congratulations on the new job!
    I’m actually working on a session proposal for SAA 2012 on librarian/archivist positions!

  14. joeymargaret Says:

    Congrats on the new job! Sounds like it was meant to be.

  15. Carjan (@girlwithhat) Says:

    Congratulations on the new job! I’m actually an intern at the La Salle University Archives (located in the basement of College Hall)! Hopefully we’ll get to meet real soon :)

  16. Kathy Marquis Says:

    Rebecca, congratulations on landing in a great new place and “making your own luck” as my mother used to say. I’ve been working in a public library for nine years, after several decades as an archivist, but my heart is still in archives, and always will be. It’s great to step into a related field and see what it has to offer – and then come back to archives meetings with a new perspective. Enjoy!

  17. jen Says:

    Good luck! libraries don’t always have their heads on straight and I think you made the right decision. you can stay in archives even as a librarian. Sad that your old employer couldn’t see your value!

  18. Carrie Says:

    I know this is late — congratulations! And a question:

    “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.”

    Are you able to elaborate at all on this? It sounds like you were offered a job right out of the blue, without actually applying for it. Did you apply for this job, or did they approach you and offer it to you?

    I have been searching for a permanent archives OR library position for a few years now, and I am fascinated by the language around jobs and job offers. This seems like a fairy tale come true to me and I would love to know if fairy tales really do come true, or if this was an offer after a more traditional job search.

    • Rebecca Says:

      Oh gosh no, I applied for it (about 3 months before the interview, so I’d given up on hearing back). But I hadn’t expected to receive a decision as quickly as I did, so that part was definitely a surprise. I will say that before I got this job I’d been actively searching for about 1.5 years, and in that time I only had one other on-campus interview.

      The new job is going well, but it’s certainly not a fairy tale (not that I was expecting it to be).

  19. Jackie Dooley Says:

    Congrats! And it’s really great that you sort of ignored the job title and focused on the nature of the responsibilities. Lots of librarian jobs, especially in the digital realm, have features that hugely benefit from archival expertise. I’m actually going to be writing a brief paper about this relatively soon. Here’s to a smooth transition!

  20. Jackie Dooley Says:

    Oops! I thought this was a new post of yours. Could have sworn that you’ve said on various occasions that your current position is paraprofessional. So much for my memory.

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