This month we are featuring alumna Tricia Juettemeyer. Tricia completed her MLIS at UNCG in December 2005 and is currently the Reference Librarian at the Art Institute of Portland. Read on to learn more about Tricia and her path to and experiences in librarianship!
1. Had you worked in other areas before entering library school?
I went to art school for undergrad and interned at a post house senior year where I ended up working for two years, but incoming jobs dropped off after September 11th, 2001. I waited tables while I considered what I else I wanted to do with my life, read an article about a librarian, got on the interwebs to learn more, sent away for information, applied to schools, and the rest, as they say, is librarianship.
2. What was your first library job?
I volunteered at the St. Louis Art Museum library to learn more about the field before I applied to graduate school. In library school, I was a part time reference department assistant, a position held by so many alums during their studies! My first professional position was as Information Literacy and Reference Librarian / Assistant Professor at Oakland University in Michigan. In September 2008, I began my current position, Reference Librarian at the Art Institute of Portland.
3. What do you remember most about your time in the UNCG LIS program?
I was a graduate assistant and attended full-time, so I got to know the faculty fairly well, and got to be involved with the department at a more focused level, which I loved. In my second semester, I became the webmaster for the LIS department, and I remember the work of transitioning to a new website the summer of 2005. I remember the opportunity I had to co-author a paper with a faculty member and an alumnus. I remember my independent study in library instruction at the UNCG library, and that I was positive I wanted to be an academic librarian after completing it. I also remember a nearly impossibly chemistry reference question I was asked on one of my first solo moments at the reference desk. I remember the History of the Book– our professor was open-minded about projects in the class and I was able to be very creative, binding a book in the style I’d researched and printing my story-fied paper in it. I also remember the Dr. Carmichael’s reference pathfinder assignment, the multileveled, challenging reference questions, and his academic libraries class. He had very high standards, and expected a lot of us, which I always appreciated. Mostly I remember being engaged in a vibrant learning atmosphere, both in and out of classes.
4. What is your current position and what does it entail?
I’m currently the reference librarian at the Art Institute of Portland. My title doesn’t do justice to what my position entails: I am the sole reference and teaching librarian, teaching up to 52 library instruction courses per quarter, for courses as wide ranging as environmental science, argumentation and research, design research, apparel design, business, marketing, graphic design, industrial design, color theory, and many, many more. I give presentations to faculty and students on a variety of topics, including information literacy and plagiarism. Additionally, I provide reference to the 1800+ students at the school using a variety of methods. I am the library webmaster, and am currently building an improved website. In my spare time, I write and update policies and procedures, weed the collection, and manage periodicals and library inventories, and occasionally do some collection development. My library director is very supportive of my projects, and allows me a lot of creative freedom, which is a great luxury in any job.
5. Do you have any projects going on that you’re particularly excited about?
Along with Dan McClure, another UNCG alum, I recently gave my first conference presentation, entitled “Visual Resources on a Budget,” which was quite well-received by conference attendees, according to feedback. I was very pleased with the experience, and am excited to continue presenting to the library community.
6. How do you feel the profession has changed since you graduated from UNCG?
I have only been out of graduate school for five years, but if there is one thing I see changing, it is the importance for library students to be technically savvy and curious: understanding html and css, even the basics of blogs and widgets, and embracing changes as they come and being able to anticipate a library’s future needs. I think foresight is important, being able to look ahead. The traditional library is continually changing, so it’s important for new librarians to be able to envision what that future could be.
7. Anything else you’d like to say to the UNCG Alumni:
This is specifically directed at new alumni: if there is one thing I could encourage all new librarians to do, it is to learn to write great cover letters. As you probably know, librarians are detail oriented, and notice spelling and grammar errors. They also notice letters that are not unique to their institution. Take the time to craft a specific letter addressing each job; it may be the difference between the reject pile and the phone interview. Have experienced librarians read your letters, and seriously consider their advice and suggestions. Finally, I’d like to wish the best of luck to the newest alumni, graduating in May.