Professor, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Simmons College
Brief Career Biography:
My first two jobs after my bachelor’s degree in linguistics at McGill were envelope stuffer and souvenir salesgirl (yes, in those days we were called salesgirls). So, I looked through the McGill catalogue and decided that since I liked books and read fast, I could be a librarian. During the MLS I worked as a teaching assistant for several faculty members, loved the teaching, and decided to become a professor, specializing in cataloguing and classification. So after graduation I worked as a cataloguer at Concordia University for two years while checking out PhD programs. I ended up going to Syracuse, which was a wonderful experience. Once coursework was over I landed a job at Simmons College in Boston (in 1980), got my green card, and have been here ever since, teaching all sorts of stuff, but currently information organization, subject analysis, and digital libraries. I have done short stints of teaching at McGill, Dalhousie, U of Arizona, Hong Kong Institute of Science and Technology, and several universities in Thailand.
Benefits of ASIS&T:
I have held just about every office in the Society (except for Treasurer), ranging from SIG and Chapter office to President. I gave my first conference presentation at ASIS (1977, I think). I love this organization. It has been a wonderful bridge between my area of expertise and other domains, and I like that it is large enough to be able to do that and small enough to be manageable and friendly. All of my students have been made to feel welcome here, and most of my best LIS friends are here as well. It’s amorphous and ill-defined and a bit chaotic, and that’s part of what I like too.
Advice for New Information Professionals:
Get involved – if not in ASIS&T then in some other professional association. Take advantage of every free or cheap LIS workshop, tutorial, continuing education institute, speech, et al. that comes your way, and go out and find them (especially the virtual ones). Take some time out to hang with your LIS friends socially – go to a bar or a barbecue or whatever. Read, read, read your LIS literature – I don’t care if it’s print or online – read it and annotate it. Find the right RSS feeds/podcasts for you and subscribe to them. Try everything, even if briefly (I had a 15-minute encounter with Orkut before deleting my account completely). Workwise – only take jobs that will lead to your professional heart’s desire – that won’t necessarily be a straight path, but there should be some kind of path. It’s okay to luck into things, but they should be the right things for where you eventually hope to be.