Sixteen days ago, I started an adventure. August 10, 2015 was my first day as Resident Librarian at Virginia Tech. Getting to that first day took patience, hard work, some sleepless nights, and lots of dedication. Moving forward with the residency and my career is an adventure in learning, growth, and choosing who I want to be.
I am the first Resident Librarian at Virginia Tech (at least in recent memory). The stories behind how the position was created and how I came to be in it are digressions for another time. Suffice to say, I'm here and it's up to me to do something with the opportunity I've been given.
The residency program is designed to provide both a range of experience and some specialization for the resident. It is both a full-time job and a learning experience. The residency is two to three years and includes both a rotation through a few departments and specialization in a specific department with opportunities to publish or present (in the second and third years).
Year 1: Rotation
In the first year of my residency, I get to experience three different departments within the library. That's an awesome opportunity for anyone just out of grad school and looking to get started. Virginia Tech managed to make it even better by allowing me to choose the three departments I want to work with!
Choosing Departments for Rotation
My first two weeks involved meeting with library leaders so that they could tell me about their departments and what I might do if I spent part of my rotation with them. This experience was really strange for me. It was like interviewing potential employers - something I've never felt I could do before. All my prior experience of interviewing was more like desperately hoping that the interviewer would like me so that I could pay my bills and keep a roof over my head. This was MUCH better! They each told me about what the department does and what projects I could help them with.
The departments I got to choose from and examples of projects were:
Each meeting made the decision harder but I finally chose to work with Collections and Technical Services, Special Collections, and Data Curation. Each of the groups is doing something I find interesting and I could see myself working in any of these three areas happily for the next 20 years.
As with any adventure, the experience so far has had a lot of uncertainty.
All of it is exactly as an adventure should be.
I'm the Community Collections Archivist, Community and Cultural Centers Librarian & Resident Librarian at Virginia Tech.