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Librarianship

This guide provides information about librarianship as a career.

About the Profiles

Librarians at DePauw frequently hear about a former DePauw student who's gone on to work in libraries - but we only had contact with a few of them. We've also seen growing interest among recent/current students in librarianship as a career. So we wanted to find a way to highlight the different types of libraries and library jobs that our alumni have gone on to work in, as well as set up contacts with current students who wanted to talk more about it. So we've found some (but I'm sure not all!) of the librarian alumni that we could, and asked them some questions. This page (starting in November 2020) will feature profiles of the librarians that we've heard from, and who were willing to be featured here. We have contact information for even more (every single one that responded to the survey was open to students contacting them!). So please reach out to Tiffany Hebb (thebb@depauw.edu) if you'd like to talk to librarian alums. A brief snapshot of these will be posted to the libraries' Instagram account as well. 

Susan Pennington

 

 

Time at DePauw:

Susan graduated from DePauw in 1993 with a major in English Writing and a minor in Sociology. While at DePauw, she worked at Roy O. West Library in the computer lab as a troubleshooter, and also occasionally helped design signage, fliers, and posters for campus. Susan explains that, "the atmosphere at Roy O. West was always one that [she] enjoyed." The staff was helpful, and the potential for learning and discovery fascinated [her]."

Further Education:

After graduating from DePauw, Susan first worked as a High School English teacher, though she would later go on to pursue graduate work in librarianship at Illinois State University (ISU). This was a certification program to become a school librarian for those who already possessed a state teaching license. Susan completed both in-person and online coursework to receive an endorsement. During the program, Susan learned the basics of librarianship as well as selection of materials geared specifically towards K-12 students. She enjoyed ISU's program immensely, and still keeps in touch with the fellow librarians she trained with, describing librarians as "a close-knit group who support each other.

Library Experience: 

Susan's educational background from her time at ISU, along with her experience as a school librarian, led her to serve on the board of directors for the Illinois Heartland Library System (the largest in the state of IL). Although she represented school libraries on the board, she also learned more about public, collegiate, prison, and professional libraries as a result. Susan says that her favorite part of being a librarian is that no two days are alike when you're helping your patrons! Her role as a school librarian also allows her room to continue teaching (she has a fixed schedule and sees 13 classes a week, to which she teaches lessons). Susan explains that her father used to tell her, "you don't have to know all the answers, but you need to know how to find them," a credo that has stuck with her during her professional career. As she puts it, librarianship is a wonderful career. 

Current Job:

Susan is the Library Media Specialist at Lincoln Magnet Middle School in Springfield, Illinois. 

Further Interactions: 

Susan is open to future student contact - please email Tiffany Hebb (thebb@depauw.edu) for Susan's contact information. 

Bruce Gay

Name: Bruce Gay - class of 1986

Time at DePauw: 

Bruce Gay graduated from DePauw in 1986 with an English Literature major. Although Bruce never worked for DePauw Libraries, he was always a "bookish" kid, who found libraries to be a welcoming place. 

Further Education: 

After his time at DePauw, Bruce went on to earn a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Washington University in St. Louis in 1988. He then went on to teach for eight years. It was during this time as a teacher that he discovered his passion for library science. As he would take classes of students to both the Milwaukee academic and central libraries, he found himself envying the work of the librarians there. This experience led him to pursue a Masters in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1997. While he initially chose UW-Milwaukee because he lived there (distance learning wasn't much of an option for him at the time), Bruce found that the UW-Milwaukee program was a nice blend of philosophical and practical knowledge, from bookbinding to information theory, and the coursework fit well with his interest in public librarianship.

Current Job: 

Bruce currently works as the Director of the Waukesha Public Library in Wisconsin. Bruce explains that while, "the last several months have been unique and extremely challenging, [he] remains optimistic about the value of public libraries and their role in building community." 

Library Experience: 

Bruce has worked as the Director of the Milwaukee County Federated Library System (systems in Wisconsin manage library catalogs and delivery between municipal libraries). He has also worked as the Branch Manager and Technical Services Manager for the Milwaukee Public Library. Bruce found his work as Technical Services Manager to be particularly interesting, as almost all of it was behind the scenes.

Future Interactions: 

Bruce is open to future student contact - please email Tiffany Hebb (thebb@depauw.edu) for Bruce's contact information.

Susan McKinney

Time at DePauw

Susan graduated from DePauw in 1987 with a major in History and a minor in Computer Science. While at DePauw, she worked in the main library under librarians Lori Springer and Jill Gremmels. Her job was to help create databases to automate the circulation. 

Further Education

After DePauw, Susan went on to receive her MLS from the University of Illinois in 1989. At the time she applied, she was deciding between UI, the #1 library school in the country, and IU in Bloomington, IN. What sealed the deal was when UI in Urbana-Champaign offered her more money, and the Assistant Dean called to congratulate her on her GRE score within a week of her taking the test. 

 

Time at DePauw

Susan graduated from DePauw in 1987 with a major in History and a minor in Computer Science. While at DePauw, she worked in the main library under librarians Lori Springer and Jill Gremmels. Her job was to help create databases to automate the circulation.  Further Education After DePauw, Susan went on to receive her MLS from the University of Illinois in 1989. At the time she applied, she was deciding between UI, the #1 library school in the country, and IU in Bloomington, IN. What sealed the deal was when UI in Urbana-Champaign offered her more money, and the Assistant Dean called to congratulate her on her GRE score within a week of her taking the test.  Current Job Currently, Susan works as the library director at St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library in Illinois. As the library director, she is involved in the local chamber of commerce and has been Treasurer for over 20 years! In addition to her library director position, Susan has also served on state library and library system committees, e-resource consortium board, and library system board.
 

Future Interactions

Susan is open to future student contact - please contact Tiffany Hebb (thebb@depauw.edu) for Susan’s contact information.

Ted Baldwin

Time at DePauw

Ted Baldwin graduated from DePauw in 1998 with a double major in Chemistry and Music Performance. While at DePauw, he worked one summer at the main library, shifting books, and working the reserves desk.

After a lab internship his junior year, Ted realized that he did not enjoy laboratory work and became uncertain about a career path in the sciences. He then discovered the field of chemical information and the specialization of chemical information offered with the MLS program at Indiana University. Ted stated, "I have found STEM librarianship to be an excellent way to develop practical skills in organization and management and to broadly apply my liberal arts education." 

Further Education

Ted did go on to receive his MLS from Indiana University with a Specialist's Certificate in Chemical Information. Ted chose IU because of its in-state location, his ability to apply his chemistry degree, and his knowledge of IU’s strong MLS program from his mother’s experience.

Ted also received a graduate assistantship from IU to assist with funding. He believes his chemical information focus gave him a great advantage in his job search and highly recommends pursuing a specialization in a marketable field. 

Previous Experience

Ted’s first five professional years were spent managing an Research & Development Information Center at Equistar, a major chemicals/polymers company. He credits Dr. Bryan Hanson in chemistry for introducing him to the deep information research in the sciences with a class road trip to the Lloyd Library located in Cincinnati. Ted explained that students in Dr. Bryan Hanson’s medicinal plants class performed extensive research for a medicinal plants research project. This, combined with his DePauw Library research, inspired him to pursue that level of research in his life career.

 

Current Job

Ted currently works as the director of Science and Engineering Libraries at University of Cincinnati. Within this role, he does collection development, instruction, liaison duties, management, outreach, and reference. While at this job, he built and co-managed the Research Data Services unit for 5 years. He is also involved in digital projects and special collections in STEM.

Further Interactions

Ted is open to future student contact - please contact Tiffany Hebb (thebb@depauw.edu) for Ted’s contact information.

 

Amanda Weber

 

Time at DePauw

While at DePauw, Amanda majored in Spanish and minored in education studies and mathematics. Although she did not work in the DePauw libraries, Amanda did volunteer at the Putnam County Library as a shelver. She also had two important librarian mentors while at DePauw–Tiffany Hebb and Kayla Flegal, who both assisted her in the library school process.

Amanda believes that the liberal arts education at DePauw allowed her to see that the library was a place >where she could bring all of her interests together in an interdisciplinary way. Specifically, she loved being able to use her Honor Scholar thesis, with Tiffany Hebb as her sponsor, to combine reading, education, and Spanish.

Further Education

Amanda went on to receive her MSLIS and School Librarian Licensure from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in December 2019. Amanda had applied to both Indiana University in Bloomington and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. However, she decided to attend UIUC because of their Center for Children's Books and the School Licensure program.

Amanda enjoyed attending the iSchool at UIUC. She explained that there were only two required courses. From there, students are allowed to choose various paths according to what area of librarianship they are interested in. Amanda later applied to the School Licensure program where she had to take some additional courses. Amanda stated, “There are many graduate assistantship positions available, and mine gave me a lot of awesome experience actually working in a library and interacting with patrons.” She also explained that although she enjoyed being on campus and being able to take classes in person, the iSchool also has a LEEP (online) program, which she took several classes through as well.

Library Experience

While in grad school Amanda was the School Collection GA for the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library. She enjoyed having the opportunity to work on collection development and helping patrons with projects related to children's literature. Additionally, she was a Library/Records Assistant at Facilities Information Resources where she dealt with old blueprints and other files related to campus buildings and infrastructure. She then helped to repair, scan, index, and make them available for people.

Current  Job

Currently, Amanda works as the teacher-librarian at Nathan Hale Middle School in Crestwood, IL. Because she is the only librarian in the building with a paraprofessional to help with checkout, shelving, etc., Amanda explained that being a school librarian involves doing a little bit of everything. She spends her time managing the library, teaching classes, and collaborating with teachers. Amanda loves being able to form relationships with students, help them to love reading, and work with teachers on interdisciplinary projects!

Future Interactions

Amanda is open to future student contact - please contact Tiffany Hebb (thebb@depauw.edu) for Amanda’s contact information. 

Taylor O'Brien

 

 

Time at DePauw

Taylor is a 2013 graduate of DePauw who majored in English Literature and minored in Women's Studies. While at DePauw, she worked at Roy O. West for all four years and during her summers. She started her work in the circulation department before she transferred to interlibrary loan. She also spent a semester working with librarians in other departments including cataloging and acquisitions.

 

 

 

 

 

Further Education

When considering what career and graduate school she would like to attend, Taylor explained that her librarian mentors and jobs contributed to her decision to enter a career in librarianship. Among these opportunities included time assisting then Access Services Librarian Mandy Henk with the bibliography of her book, Ecology, Economy, Equity: The Path to a Carbon-Neutral Library, and shadowing reference librarians at DePauw. In 2013, Taylor began working towards her MLS degree at Indiana University.

When asked about her experience at IU, Taylor said that IU's Library Science program allowed for small class sizes and the faculty had great personal work experience to impart on students. She also explained that IU has a wide variety of opportunities for those seeking their own on-the-job experience in libraries.

 

 

 

Current Job

Taylor currently works at Putnam County Public Library in the area of youth services. Within the Youth Services Department, Taylor contributes to the Early Literacy programming, responds to reference questions, and manages the nonfiction collections for children and young adults. She spends much of her time socializing with children and caregivers, which includes a lot of playing and reading together. Taylor stated, “To me, librarianship is all about service to your community. Every type of librarian serves a different type of community, of course, but collectively, all of our work is very people-oriented.” Taylor specifically enjoys the three weekly storytimes that she does for the age groups of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Future Interactions

Taylor is open to future student contact - please contact Tiffany Hebb (thebb@depauw.edu) for Taylor’s contact information

Amanda Hartman McLellan

Time at DePauw

Amanda Hartman McLellan graduated DePauw in 2005 as an art history major and a classical studies and religious studies double minor. Throughout her time at DePauw, Amanda worked as an ITAP intern. However, it was not until a conversation with her faculty advisor that she realized library work could be a perfect fit for her skills.

When asked about how her time at DePauw influenced her library career, she said that "DePauw was instrumental in my career pathway. The base of a liberal arts education set me up to be a critical thinker and to be curious, both highly valued skills in librarianship. The experience I obtained in ITAP paved the way for the technological role I have now. DePauw taught me leadership and empathy." Amanda wrote a book chapter about how DePauw prepared her for her career. The book is We Can Do IT: Women in Library Information Technology, and her chapter is titled, "Blending Liberal Arts and IT: Finding a Place for a Tech-Loving Non-Programmer." 

Further Education

When researching graduate schools, Amanda decided to do a campus visit for her top two choices. However, it wasn’t until she received a graduate assistantship that she decided to attend University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

When asked about making a decision on a program, Amanda advised, "The biggest things to think about - what kind of librarianship interests you, does the school you're looking at offer classes in that type of librarianship, and how much debt would you take on." She also stated that UIUC is a great program. Amanda graduated in 2008 with her MLIS from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently completing an EdD in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University, est. 2021.

Library Experience

Amanda has held multiple library jobs including in the areas of reference and instruction, digital services, liaison, and collection development. Her first job was at a small community college library where she did a little of almost everything. She said the experience was fantastic and highly recommends working in a library before attending or while attending library school.

Current Job

Amanda currently works as the Assistant Director for Discovery and Technology Services at East Carolina University J.Y. Joyner Library. When asked about her current position, Amanda said, "I have been in my current role for less than a year; my boss retired and I applied for the vacancy. I love that I get to think about big picture problems and how to address them, and that I get to highlight the work my division does. I also love working with students, and that's something I miss with my position since I don't get to interact directly with students as much.

Future Interactions

Amanda is open to future student contact - please contact Tiffany Hebb (thebb@depauw.edu) for Amanda’s contact information.