I've been blogging since 2001 for my science fiction zine Electric Velocipede. I started library school in the Fall of 2003. I'd posted occasionally on the zine's blog about library stuff, but I felt it was confusing to the science fiction people who came. It was time to take my library thoughts and put them together somewhere.
And, since I have a lot of thoughts about librarianship, and I want to grow professionally, and possibly be published professionally, where better to hone my chops and get my thoughts out than on a blog?
Plus, all the cool kids were doing it.
2. Who are you?
My name is John Klima. I was born and raised in WI and moved to NJ about nine years ago to work in publishing. Deciding I wasn't going to strike it rich in publishing, I switched to computer programming and did that for a couple years. Then I had the revelation to follow the idea I had when I finished my undergrad and applied to MLS programs to become a librarian. I still keep my finger on the pulse of the publishing world (science fiction to be specific) by working freelance for some small presses and publishing my own small science fiction zine: Electric Velocipede. I am married and have a seven-week old daughter.
3. Where did you get your MLS?
I earned my Master's in Library and Information Science (an MLIS) at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. It was hard coming back to school some ten years after I finished my Bachelor's degree, but it was worth it. I worked really hard, and was invited to join Beta Phi Mu, the international honor society for library science.
Many of my classmates who already were working at a library (I was changing fields) asked me why I cared so much about my classwork. I always said to them, 1, it was a way to show that I was serious about making the career switch, and 2, that I think librarianship is just as important as working in a library. I want to give back to the field. I want to write papers, present at conferences, etc. To me, the best way to prepare for that was to work hard in school. I think if you're unhappy with a MLS program or MLS course offerings you should do something to make them better. (N.B. I'm not going to get my PhD any time soon)
I will add, that if you are thinking of getting into the world of librarianship, I recommend that you earn a degree from an ALA accredited Master's program. This is often required for full-time library jobs, so it's not worth going another route.
4. Where do you work?
While I've waffled back and forth in my head on how to answer this--i.e. wondering how much information about me to present here--I think the best policy is to be completely truthful since I want to use this blog to further my library career. I work the Franklin Township Public Library. Recently (as of April 2006) I was promoted from part-time reference librarian to Teen Librarian and Systems Administrator. I started at FTPL working part-time in December, and completely enjoy working there ever since.
5. What are some of your favorite books?
I usually dislike questions like this since my tastes depend on what I'm reading at the moment. And, since I still sort of work in publishing, I'm always seeking out new writers and trying new things. That said, I think I can provide a top 5 list of books that I continue to like to this day, but it could be a different list at any given moment:
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- Night Shift by Stephen King
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
6. Well, how about some favorite authors?
OK, this is easier for me to answer. There are a lot of authors that I like and always seek out their work. So, here goes:
- Jeff VanderMeer
- Jeffrey Ford
- Alex Irvine
- Lucius Shepard
- Kelly Link
- Frederik Pohl
- China Mieville
- Cory Doctorow
- Liz Williams
- Ken MacLeod
- Robert Charles Wilson
- Robert Sawyer
- Charles Stross
- John Barnes
- Glen Cook
- Joe R. Lansdale
- Norman Partridge
- Hal Duncan
7. What authors have you worked with?
Too many to list. Almost everyone in the list above and many, many more.
8. OK, so what books have you worked on?
Well, we're moving away my library career with these questions, but since books are integral to libraries, I'll indulge you. The list of books that I've worked on (worked on always means editorial work, but in some cases includes acquiring the title for the publisher, too) is short, but good. I'm not listing the books I worked on as an editorial assistant since I did about 100 books a year for a few years as an assistant, and that involves ferrying manuscripts through production, writing flap copy, etc. Here they are in order:
- A SCATTERING OF JADES by Alex Irvine
- THE FOURTH CIRCLE by Zoran Zivkovic
- THE BANQUET OF THE LORDS OF NIGHT AND OTHER STORIES by Liz Williams
9. Recommended by Andrea: Can you explain how you got your job?
July: interviewed with Franklin Township Public Library for part-time job
August: did not get job at Franklin, but head of adult services called me and said that I should keep them in mind (and that I should stop in and get my library card since they are my local library)
September: Starting my internship at Princeton Public Library; this was one of my classes, but I must strongly recommend doing an internship at a local library, even if you already have library experience (and especially if you don't) since it never hurts to see how other libraries do things)
October: received call from head of adult of library services at Franklin Township Public Library asking if I was still looking for part-time work
November: interviewed with reference staff and director of Franklin Township Public Library; got job offer from Franklin Township Public Library
December: started working part-time at Franklin Township Public Library
December: Completed internship at Princeton Public Library
January:Started working part-time at Rutgers Scholarly Communication Center on the New Jersey Digital Highway Project
February 15: interviewed at Palmer College in Davenport, IA
March 3: Not relevant to the job search, but our apartment was broken into (my laptop got stolen)
March 5: not exactly relevant to the job search, but our daughter was born (huzzah!)
March 24: offered full-time job at Franklin Township Public Library
March 29: telephone interview with Michigan State (won't know any more until end of April)
March 29: spoke with director of Palmer College library, no answer, no inclination as to how/where job search is; informed him of other job offer; he tells me that I should do what's right for my family
March 29: asked to give answer to Franklin Township by Friday the 31st
March 29: not relevant to the job search, but it's my birthday
March 30: told I was the second candidate for Palmer job and first candidate had accepted job (they were waiting until that happened to give me a final answer)
March 31: not relevant to job search but...my new laptop arrived via Fedex before I went to work
March 31: accepted job at Franklin Township
April: Stopped working part-time at Rutgers & Franklin Township Public Library and started full-time at only the Franklin Township Public Library
Note that between the trip to IA and the final decision by Palmer College, six or seven weeks passed. Keep this in mind for your job search. Things may not go as quickly as you'd like. And there you are, or more precisely, there I am.
More questions will be posted as people ask them.