Each month ISSA will post a new interview of an ISSA student, recent graduate, or professional in the information field. This week our featured interviewee is Emily Kinney, an ISSA student on the Libraries track, who will be graduating this semester! Check out her interview below!
1. Tell me a little about yourself. Where is home? What brought you to Albany?
My name is Emily Kinney and I’m originally from Horseheads, NY. I moved to Albany in 2014 when I started the graduate program with the University at Albany. I’ll graduate in May with my Masters of Science in Information Science with a concentration in Library and Information Services.
2. Why did you choose your field of study?
One of the guest speakers for our Public Libraries class last year said that a page job is “the gateway drug of libraries.” This was exactly my experience. After I graduated from Cazenovia College with my English degree, I started as a page at the Steele Memorial Library, and by that September, after adding an additional job as a library aide at Corning Community College, I had decided that I wanted to be a librarian.
3. What current trends in the field interest you?
The maker movement fascinates me. Libraries have been providing resources that help in the creative process basically forever, but more and more we’re seeing libraries with technology and tools that people can use onsite rather than having to find somewhere else to keep working on their projects. People can print t-shirts for their bands, use a 3D printer to make replacement parts for their skateboards, or cut out intricate designs for their wedding invitations all at the library. Being able to learn how to do something and then just go for it is really cool.
4. What projects are you currently working on?
At work I’ve been organizing an old collection of college records, yearbooks, and other associated publications so that they can be put back into use by the library. It’s been interesting going through these books because there’s a lot of things I didn’t really expect, such as a book from the 1800s about how Yale men are supposed to behave in regard to drinking and socializing with women.
5. What advice would you give someone who is new to your field of work?
Remember that good customer service is one of the best things you can bring with you to a library job. If you can help someone out and make them comfortable using the library, there’s a good chance that they’ll tell their friends and come back in.
6. What is your ideal job?
I want a job where I’m excited about going to work and engaged in what I’m doing. I want to be in an environment where I don’t have to force myself to be interested in what’s going on– it’s not fair to me or anyone else otherwise. Sure, there are going to be tedious parts to any job, but being invested in the ultimate goal makes them a million times better.
7. What do you like best about your job?
I like working with people at the New York State Library. Being able to help someone out with their project or show them how to set up an email account is really rewarding. It also adds a lot of variety to what I do.
8. What is most stressful about your job?
One of the more stressful things about my job is not being able to find what I’m looking for. The NYSL collection is enormous, and if something was shelved incorrectly twenty years ago, there’s not a great chance of finding it again. I hate coming up empty when someone’s trying to do their research.
9. What was your greatest learning experience on the job?
A few jobs ago, I discovered bedbugs in a book that a patron had returned. The following weeks taught me a series of lessons on communicating with library staff, being honest with the community, and diplomacy when it came to speaking with the responsible party. The director of the library set a great example for everyone.
I also learned far more about bedbugs than I ever thought I would. FYI, never take free furniture off the side of the road.
10. What professional associations/societies do you recommend joining?
Currently I’m a member of NYLA and the ALA on the joint student plan; both are really great for information and keeping up-to- date on the library world. NYLA in particular has been a fantastic resource for me to meet library professionals, and to get involved at conferences and events like Advocacy Day.