June 24, 2010

In Praise of Gretchen

It's good to have friends in library places. Even better when they are professional colleagues with complementary skills to your own.

Gretchen and I met in our MLS program at the Catholic University of America about three years ago. We were partners on a big team project that went swimmingly. I think we had a class together almost every semester and, since we knew we worked well together, we tended to choose each other for projects. As we advanced in our coursework, our collaboration became more extensive and professional, culminating in the creation of our digital library project near the end of our studies.

At one point in our studies we attended a special librarians symposium in DC where one of my library heroes, Susan Fournier, said, "When in doubt, ask another librarian." Gretchen is usually the first person I ask. She has excellent technical skills, and many of the tools I am now proficient in were introduced to me by her. She also knows a thing or three about copyright, knowledge management, and many topics of interest to innovative librarians.

I am an uncompetitive person by nature (except when playing cribbage with my husband), and I'll never beat Gretchen at anything, but it is good to have her around as constant motivation for honing my skills and staying on top of things.

If you are in library school, identify the people who are going to be your friends and colleagues once you graduate. It is very important to have people to ask all your (dumb and other) questions to when you start your job. I'd also like to give a shout-out to Liz and Catherine and all the fine ladies and gentlemen of SLIS who continue to share ideas, articles, links, wine, and rich discussion with both me and Gretchen. It really makes a difference to enter the world of librarianship with interesting and smart people all around you enriching the path and throwing resources your way.

This week Gretchen and I are attending the ALA annual conference and figuring out foursquare together. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

efmclean said...

Hi Eileen (and Gretchen!!) Have a great time at ALA! Your point about enriching the path is something I hope to be able to convey to our upcoming SLA CUA chapter year. Beautifully said and absolutely true. thanks for the shout out!