Celebrating National Library Week: My first library job

National Library Week blog series

April 10 – 16 is National Library Week in the United States, an annual observance that has been sponsored by the American Library Association since 1958. In celebration of National Library Week, a few members of the OCLC team reflect on their career choices and today’s libraries in a five-part Next series.


Tell us a little about your first library job. What did you do? 


Jackie Dooley“My first library job coincided with starting the MLS program at UCLA in 1979. The government documents department in the research library hired five new grad students to work the night and weekend shifts on the reference desk. Turns out gov docs were great training, because you know so much about the meaning of a document based on the government agency that published it—just like archives!”

Jackie Dooley, Program Officer

Rebekah Kilzer“I have three first jobs! My very first library job was as a work-study student at the circulation desk at Otterbein University. Next I worked part-time at The Library Company of Philadelphia, where I worked on their retrospective conversion of their card catalog. My first professional librarian job was in Technical Services at Drexel University Libraries.”

Rebekah Kilzer, Director, Member Education

Daphne Kouretas“On returning to London, UK from a round-the-world backpacking sojourn, I got a job as ‘Information Services Assistant’ at a small nonprofit. We ran a resource center housed in the library of the Institute of Child Health, University College London, with about 30,000 items. But the core of the work was our collaborations with NGOs in east Africa and south Asia devoted to maternal and child health, HIV and disability issues: developing their capacity in information management and their role as information providers in their communities. My work trips to Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and India over the next three years opened my eyes to how access to information changes lives, as does its absence.”

Daphne Kouretas, Senior Implementation and Effective Use Manager

Rick Newell“My first paid library job was working as a page at the local public library when I was in high school. Because it was a small library, as a page I got to do a lot of different things besides shelving books and doing clerical work associated with circulation, such as washing the bookmobile, running the mimeograph and postage meter, and assisting the children’s librarian by finding books to fill subject and title requests.”

Rick Newell, MLS, Senior Training Coordinator

Rosanna O'Neil“My first job out of library school was a one-year post-Master’s internship at Georgia Tech. It was a retrospective conversion project and just as we were switching to the new AACR2 cataloging rules so it was an interesting time for libraries. It ended up being one of the most pivotal decisions of my career as it turned out that truly understanding serials has been invaluable.”

Rosanna M. O’Neil, MLS, Senior Library Services Consultant

Cynthia Whitacre“I worked in the music library at Interlochen Arts Camp (then the National Music Camp) the summer after I graduated from high school. That job inspired me to aim for library school after getting my bachelor’s degree. I liked the organizational aspects of the job, I liked helping people, and I enjoyed being part of the staff of a special music library.”

Cynthia M. Whitacre, Manager, WorldCat Quality

David Whitehair“When I arrived at the Ohio State University and was looking for a job, someone told me to get a job in the library and study during work hours. Well, they meant work at the circulation desk, but instead I got a job in the acquisitions department. I assisted the bibliographer to clean up the holdings of the collection and research possible new titles to purchase. This four-year experience and the mentoring from my supervisor led me to change my career path and focus on library work.”

David Whitehair, MLS, Director, Metadata Services

Cynthia Wilson“My first job in the library was working the circulation desk as a work study student at Beaver College. My first post-graduation library job was working in Interlibrary loan as a Bibliographic Assistant at Temple University.”

Cynthia I. Wilson, MSLS, Portfolio Implementation Manager

Wherever you are in the world, join us in celebrating Library Week by sharing your first library job on twitter, with #NLW16 and #OCLCnext. Click on the text below to get started…

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