After more than five years with Library Journal (and a year working with School Library Journal and The Horn Book as well), I’m moving on. In mid-July, I’ll be starting as Deputy Director, Reference and Research Services, at the New York Public Library (NYPL).
In my new role, I’ll be supporting access services like interlibrary loan, permissions, and digitization, among others. I’ll also help to coordinate NYPL partnerships like those with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), HathiTrust, and Google Books.
The American Library Association (ALA) conference in Chicago will be my last hurrah with LJ (there’s a nice parallel in that—my first day with LJ was at an ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia).
I’m grateful to all of my colleagues here for the innumerable insights into libraries and publishing they’ve shared over the years, and I’m similarly grateful for the time I’ve spent under the tutelage of former colleagues including Mike Kelley, Francine Fialkoff, Brian Kenney, Heather McCormack, Norman Oder, and many others. (Though not a former colleague, since he’s still in the office one day a week, I have to give a special shout-out to John Berry, who was my first professor at library school. He first told me about the job opening at LJ all those years ago and has graciously spent countless hours arguing with me about library matters large and small, helping me refine my thinking and hone my beliefs about what libraries can and should be).
Finally, and perhaps most keenly, I’m grateful to all of the librarian and vendor contacts who have broadened my understanding of this field and to the entire LJ readership for their interest and dedication over the years.
When I think back on how I’ve gotten to this point, I end up going back to my first job out of college, at a gossip magazine (you’ve definitely flipped through it while on line at the grocery store).
I started as a copy editor but quickly moved over to and up through the ranks of the research department (yes, gossip magazines have research departments—usually good ones, because they constantly walk the litigation line). I loved the fun, fast-paced environment, filled with carefree twentysomethings who reveled in the irony of using a liberal arts education to set the bar for lowbrow.
That is, until the job stopped being ironic. I realized after a few years that the shallow enjoyment of the irony had worn off, and though I had a knack for the research, I wanted something more. That’s when I went to library school, as I wrote in my admission essay, “to use my powers for good.”
I never thought the experience would aid me in my search for a job related to libraries. Fortunately, I was wrong. The magazine experience helped get me an interview at LJ, and the background I gained during my LIS education, including the basics of a variety of technology skills, were enough to convince them to give me a chance (though the variety of grueling edit tests surely played a role as well).
I’ve worn a lot of different hats at LJ over the years, covering the technology, reference, and academic libraries beats, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done serving the library profession. I had the good fortune to come in at a time when ebook and licensing issues were just heating up (the use of the word sale still grates on me when it comes to ebooks), and I feel lucky to have contributed to broadening understanding in the field. I’ve followed, obsessively at times, the birth of collaborative endeavors like HathiTrust and the DPLA, as well as the collapse of the Google Book Search settlement, and many fascinating bouts of litigation, from small-scale disputes in the library and vendor communities up to Supreme Court hearings on copyright and the first sale doctrine, among many other notable stories.
All the while, the journalistic connection to—and distance from—the library field has intrigued me. As former LJ executive news editor Norman Oder once put it, it’s necessary for us to think of libraries in terms of “‘they,’ not ‘we.’” I’ve embraced this view and worked hard to maintain that delicate and necessary balance. But, while I’ll always keep a critical eye on issues in the field, I’m also excited at the opportunity to shift my thinking to the other half of the equation. I’ve always admired the dedication to public service that librarians exemplify, and I am humbled to be joining their ranks.
I’m also pleased to announce the promotion of Meredith Schwartz to Senior Editor, News and Features —she’ll be your main contact for submissions, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After July 1, I can be reached at email@example.com.
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