In early April, I found out that I had been selected to fill the new Systems Librarian position at my alma mater, Cal State Fullerton, with a start date of May 4th. This job is like a dream come true for me.
I spent just about every weeknight and many weekends at CSUF while finishing up my B.A. here from 1998 – 2001. I’d transferred here from UC Berkeley after taking an 8-year break from my studies. During those 8 years, academic library research had completely changed. When I left Berkeley, Melvyl was still an in-house DOS-based catalog of UCB’s holdings. All of my research was done using print resources. When I came back to school at CSUF in 1998, full-text research databases had come onto the scene. It was love at first sight! I became hooked on research databases and was determined to pursue a career that allowed me to use, teach, and build these fabulous toys.
I made that happen by pursuing a Masters of Library Science from San Jose State University (Class of 2005), with most of my studies and research done at at its satellite program run out of CSUF. So I again found myself entrenched at Pollak Library, even collaborating on a semester-long project with their Systems Team (my teammates now), their Systems Librarian (no longer here) and the Associate University Librarian (now my boss). That assignment was one of my favorite in grad school, and provided me with an even deeper respect for the organizational culture at Pollak Library and for the fabulous librarians and staff who work here. It also convinced me that such a job would satisfy both my love for libraries & education and my love for emerging technologies.
I kept that Systems Librarian job tucked away in my mind, taking courses, work assignments, and jobs that would provide me with the skills and experience to eventually step in to that type of role. I also kept my eyes open for job postings for that position.
Earlier this year, I struck gold when I stumbled upon CSUF’s job posting one day before the filing deadline. So I stayed up late that night preparing my application documents in time to make the cutoff. Within a couple weeks, I received a phone call inviting me to participate in a phone interview with a panel of library faculty and staff. The next week, I received a phone call inviting me back to an all day in-person interview on March 3rd; I was 1 of only 2 candidates to advance to this round. This was by far the most grueling and exhausting interview I’ve ever experienced. After a month of anxiously waiting for some type of answer (even a “No”), I received word that I had been selected and that my salary offer was being negotiated. Almost 1 month to the day after my in-person interview, the library dean contacted me with an official offer. I accepted and we set a May 4th start date.
So here I am finally, finishing up my 3rd week into my Systems Librarian job at Pollak Library. It’s a bit overwhelming trying to get familiar with all the library technologies, but I absolutely love it! I love my coworkers, I love the work environment, I love my duties, and I love work that allows me to contribute to higher education. It is a pure joy to come into the office (my very first real office) everyday.
After being laid off last December, I realize how fortunate I am to have a job, much less a very good job (and one that puts me back at my regular salary). But I feel incredibly blessed to actually find work in my dream job.