NMRT Member Spotlight: 5 Questions with Erin Berman

Erin is not only our first featured NMRT member of the week, she’s also a NMRT Emerging Leader! Read on to learn more about Erin …

Erin Berman

Erin Berman

San Jose Public Library

San Jose, CA

About Erin’s job:

Branch librarians at SJPL wear many different hats. I am the teen volunteer coordinator for one of my branches, host a regular preschool storytime, and plan and implement programming for all ages. I am also our system selector for young adult and adult graphic novels. In addition to these regular duties I’ve been working closely with our Division Manager of Technology and Innovation in order to bring the maker movement into our libraries.

1)      What are some things you like about your job or about working in libraries in general?

The thing I love the most about the library is the partnerships and relationships that we build in the community. I’ve been able to bring new programs and services to people that they might not have access to without us. That moment when you see someone try something new for the first time or see a piece of knowledge click in their head is fantastic! Not only are we able to create great connections with our patrons, but we’ve been able to reach out to local businesses and give them chances to bring their services and skills to the community. Being that community bridge is exhilarating.

2)      What’s a project or committee you’re working on right now that you’re excited about?

There are lots of things I’m working on right now that are exciting. I’m getting ready to launch a pilot at my branches, circulating MaKey MaKey kits. If all goes well I’m hoping that we’ll be able to circulate lots of different tech kits at all of our branches. I was also just appointed as the GLBT Round Table’s Chair of the Fundraising Committee. It’s a fantastic round table and I’m looking forward to working with other members to raise money for the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsorship of new Emerging Leaders, and other projects. I’ll also be working with NMRT this year, surveying past Emerging Leaders, developing new ways to connect with that group, and also planning some mixers for the Bay Area in between conferences. Whew!

3)      What got you interested in libraries?

I initially wanted to do research. Before becoming a librarian I worked as a dramaturg, doing research and development for plays. Loved to delve into these worlds and find ways to disseminate the information to the cast and crew. When the theatre wasn’t quite working out for me I looked for other ways that I could surround myself with knowledge and spread that information onto others. The library seemed like a natural fit.

4)      What is one of your favorite things about NMRT?

NMRT has so many great resources for new librarians and those new to ALA, it’s hard to just pick one thing! That being said, if I could only pick one thing I’d have to say I really enjoyed the mentorship program. It was nice to chat with someone outside of my system about what was going on and hear their advice.

5)      Do you have any advice for other new librarians?

Don’t be afraid to rock the boat. You’ll probably fall out, but that’s okay. Just get back in that boat and get everyone else wet! When I first started people told me to just listen and not try to change anything. I’m not so great at that. Instead, I was vocal about new projects and programs I wanted to do. Sometimes it worked out and sometimes it didn’t. What was important was that I tried. Now, people know my name. They know me as an innovator and someone who can get new things off the ground. It’s important to get to know your library, but don’t just blend into the background. If you have a good idea make it happen!

Want to be our next member of the week? Know another new librarian who deserves to be in the spotlight? Fill out our nomination form here!

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