Christine Ayar Illichmann
"It's interesting to hear firsthand how different libraries work. I also like helping to enable librarians to do their work more efficiently so they have more time to work with their communities."
Where are you at now? What is your title?
Evanced Solutions, Indianapolis, IN Marketing Coordinator
What is your favorite part of your job?
One of the best things about working for a vendor is that you interact with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of libraries each year. I've learned how differently libraries are managed and how they work. It's interesting to hear firsthand how different libraries work. I also like helping to enable librarians to do their work more efficiently so they have more time to work with their communities.
What are you most proud of in terms of accomplishments related to your career?
Being named as an ALA Emerging Leader in 2009 is my proudest accomplishment so far.
Why did you choose Wayne SLIS?
I was part of the first Laura Bush 21st Century Digital Librarianship cohort and received a scholarship from Wayne State. I knew I wanted to go to Wayne State because all of the librarians I knew and respected went to Wayne, receiving the scholarship just helped to make my decision a reality.
What area did you specialize in? Why? Did you also get a Certificate?
Digital librarianship was the focus of my studies - digital collections preparation, etc. The nature of the scholarship drove that, but I sense that I would have ended up going that direction with my studies anyways. I was really interested in incunabula at the time I started the program and it seemed like the study of incunabula was heading towards digitization and digital preservation, so, my interest went there too.
What student organizations/extra-curriculars/practicums were you involved in? How did your involvement in student organizations impact your SLIS experience and assist you in the professional world?
I focused on three internships while at Wayne - the Detroit Historical Museum, Wayne State's DMC, and Michigan State's DMC and Vincent Voice Library. I also sought out my own job shadowing experiences and shadowed a rare books dealer, a business intelligence expert, and other librarians in specific fields.
I didn't get to join as many student organizations as I wanted to because I was also trying to balance an almost full time job plus school and internships, but I think my internships really gave me tremendous amount of work experience. They helped me to understand what I was really interested in and introduced me to some fantastic professionals.
What were you most proud of in library school?
I digitized a collection at the Detroit Historical Museum that was the summary of all professional works of a man named William Bushnell Stout. He worked with the Ford family to design the first airplane suited for commercial travel, and designed some of the first fuel efficient trains and planes. I was proud because I digitized a huge portion of the collection, but I was also proud because I knew I had viewed an amazing part of history - and seen the work of someone who is little known but was an incredible intellectual.
Was there a professor who really impacted your journey into librarianship?
Dr. Joe Mika and Professor Duryea Callaway. At Michigan State University during my internship, Dr. Michael Seadle and Elizabeth Bollinger.
How do specific classes or your specialization/certificate relate to your job? Is there anything in particular that you are reminded of regularly?
I use the reference interview every day at work. I also call on what I learned in instructional design classes constantly.
What advice would you give to folks considering SLIS as their library school or graduates entering the job market?
Don't dismiss working for a vendor. The key to finding a vendor job is finding a company that has both a culture and an open position that resonates with you. I work in a company that let's me wear shorts to the office and makes helping libraries our primary goal.
If you have the ability to move to find work, then don't limit yourself geographically - even expanding your job search to within a six hour drive of your hometown can really expand the opportunities available.
Lastly, be bold and make connections with library professionals and follow up on those connections. When I was in the MLIS program, I'd find librarians doing cool things and just email them out of the blue, saying "I'm an LIS student and I love what you're doing in the profession. Do you mind if I email you every so often if I have questions?" It will give you mentors and it will flatter them. Win-win.
Lastly, what's your favorite website/blog related to the LIS field?
Can I pick more than one? I have a pretty strong opinion that librarians need to stop reading library blogs and read topics outside of their profession, with constant consideration for how it ultimately impacts librarianship.