NMRT Member Spotlight: 5 Questions with Lara McLaughlin


Lara McLaughlin

Student Assistant

San Jose State University’s School of Information

San Jose, CA

About Lara’s job:

My current job, while not directly in a library, is in San Jose State University’s School of Information working as Vicki Robison’s Student Assistant. I just started this job a couple of weeks ago and, while part-time, it gives me an opportunity to further my involvement in everything LibraryLand. It has also, of course, afforded me the opportunity to network with my professors and other members of the profession.

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

I am certainly excited about my future in the field; I am not sure if I will end up in a library directly or working with libraries in some other capacity. I think that my dream position would be consulting in nature, working as a sort of liaison between librarians and tech folks. I am extremely interested in the opportunity to work with people and to help them expand their technical knowledge, while nurturing their relationship with all things “traditional” library.

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

I am involved in a few organizations and committees now, including NMRT’s Annual Conference Local Information Committee for ALA 2015. I just found out that I was approved to run for CLA Student Representative, so it will be fun (and nerve-wracking!) to see what happens with the election. I am also involved in several student chapters here at SJSU (ALA, SLA, ASIS&T) through which I am working on various projects with the awesome members! One of the most fun things coming up is SJSU’s student chapter of ASIS&T and the Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon for which I am project lead. And, as the school year has just started, I am beginning the search for events nationwide to promote as SJSU’s ALA student chapter Regional Event Coordinator. Other projects are in the works, but I am not at liberty to discuss them yet…

3)      What’s your dream library job?

My library dream job is to act as a Renaissance woman consultant of sorts. I would love to be in an atmosphere where I can utilize my BA in Fine Arts, my MA in History, and my MLIS. I know that I want to become more involved in makerspaces and art/technology projects. I am also interested in working with EFL speakers in order to help develop English language skills through makerspaces and other art/tech spaces in the community. I am also very interested in web design and working to create, and maintain, accessible yet beautiful webpages.

4)      What got you interested in libraries?

I have always been interested in reading and, therefore, was always up to a trip to the library. Whether it was the school library or the public library, I always enjoyed my time. Sometimes I would have a specific book in mind to borrow and other times I would just wander the stacks and look at the shelves, thumbing through what called out to me. I still do this today…I will go to the library with something specific in mind and can still walk out with five other books that just caught my eye. It is also fun to ignore the system and just walk down any aisle, pick a book at random, and borrow it: you never know what you’ll get that way!

5)      What is one of your favorite things about NMRT? Do you have any advice for other new librarians?

To combine two questions in one: the best thing about being in NMRT (so far) is the networking opportunities! I also enjoyed the ice-breaker NMRT ALA Conference 101 for newbies. This combines my answer to advice I can give to other librarians (in my case librarian students): get involved! Do not be afraid to get out there and meet people! This is especially important in the age of all-virtual programs. You do not want to isolate yourself while taking your courses, make sure that you go out and get some experience, even if it means getting an internship *even after* you’ve fulfilled any internship requirements! Try on many different hats in the field- you will not know if you will like something unless you try it out. Yes, read the books and do the homework…but also go out and get your hands dirty! Don’t be afraid of making mistakes: we all are making mistakes, whether we share them or not. Just work hard and as one famous gentleman said: “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!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *