Friday, February 22, 2013

Alumni Interview with Law Librarian Genevieve!

Before Genevieve came to Drexel, she attended law school at Fordham and worked as an attorney in New York City. She started at Drexel in the fall of 2010, and joined both DUSLA and SCALA. During the time she was at Drexel (Fall 2010-Spring 2012), she worked as a Senior Circulation Assistant at the Legal Research Center within Drexel's Earle Mack School of Law (which she says was awesome) and also did an extended Practicum as a Reference Intern at the University of Pennsylvania Law School's Biddle Law Library. She's a member of AALL (the American Association of law Libraries) and it's local chapter, GPLLA (the Greater Philadelphia Law Library Association).

What is your current job? I am a reference librarian at Rutgers School of Law- Camden.

How did you find your job? I responded to a job posting that the law library advertised via the American Association of Law Libraries' website and listerv (which was subsequently re-ported several other places, on law library blogs, etc.) It so happened that I'd had a chance to visit the library on a field trip organized by SCALA and DUSLA during the Spring term, 2011, which was fun and a great chance to meet some of the librarians. I was really impressed by how they took the time to speak to us about all kinds of issues. I was very excited when I saw that a position was opening just around the time I was graduating from Drexel.

What does your typical day look like? Is this what you expected when you took the job? I'm sure everyone says this, but every day is different. Our librarians work one-on-one with faculty, either by supporting faculty research or by teaching/guest-speaking on research topics in other classes. We share duties at the reference desk, answering questions from faculty, students and members of the public, which includes alumni, local attorneys, and non-lawyers who are researching a legal topic. We share responsibilities for collection development, and picking up side-projects, like creating study guides. I work with the students who do staff the law school's three scholarly journals on resource collection, interlibrary loan, and so forth. Rutgers librarians are also members of the faculty and placed on a tenure track, which means I spend a significant part of my time working on my own research and writing projects, attending faculty meetings, etc.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I work with really nice people, which is a huge plus! I'm still at the stage where I can't believe I actually get to work full time as a librarian, which is great. I'd have ot say my favorite thing about the job is tackling research projects for faculty, especially when I'm able to track down an elusive source. It can be a challenge, like a treasure hunt.

What was the most valuable thing you did or learned while in library school? The most important thing I did in library school was to take advantage of opportunities to meet working librarians and secure internships and part-time work in law libraries in my area. Joining the local law library association was a great way to meet people, and I learned so much from taking a practicum. You learn a lot of valuable information in class, but the hands-on experience really helps put it in perspective.

Do you think that being an officer in a student association was helpful post-graduation? Why or why not? My involvement in DUSLA helped me feel more confident in approaching professional librarians in my area to ask questions I might otherwise have felt too shy to ask.

What inspired you to choose this career? I first became interested in law librarianship when I was still in law school, but I ended up going into legal practice first. After a few years, I decided to take the plunge and go back to school for the MLIS. I was hoping for a job that would allow me to use my legal background, but also focus on research and information issues. My current job is really a perfect fit!

What do you wish you had learned more about? there were so many classes I know I would have benefited from. I wish I'd had more formal background on teaching and pedagogical techniques, and also the class on working in academic libraries (so that I would have more expertise with non-legal academic resources). I really enjoyed the introductory database class, and I wish I could have spent more time learning about code and computer languages.

Any tips for current students? Put yourself out there. I've found librarians as a group to be enthusiastic and welcoming to newcomers, and eager to share what they know. I was very shy and uncomfortable at first with all of the "go interview a librarian" assignments in the MLIS program, but I got a lot out of my conversations with more experienced people.

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