Introduce Yourself… Right On

It may seem odd to write an introduction to a two-year-old blog, but here’s why I’m doing it: I’ve been working in a non-traditional library environment for a decade and at some point in the past 10 years, I convinced myself that it is too hard to write about my work because only my colleagues would understand.

Then it dawned on me that this was a failure of imagination on my part. While writing “Libraries Gave Us Power,” I realized that if I am looking to find connections with librarians and other professionals that would be mutually beneficial, then it is up to me to write clearly and concisely about what I do.

So, what do I do for a living? I manage data about and electronic resources for the U.S. Department of State’s American Spaces program.

What are American Spaces? They are a network of more than 600 cultural centers supported by the State Department. Modeled after modern American libraries, they  provide free access to information about the United States and give local audiences the opportunity to engage with Americans on issues that are important to them. This description may raise more questions than it answers, but I will explain it all in more detail in due course. I need blog content, after all.

Anyway, my official title is Program Support Specialist, but the jargon-free title is contract librarian. I was hired to manage electronic resources, but as our program has developed and matured, I began to tackle my office’s data collection and management needs.

What I haven’t been able to do is analyze that data. I’ve left it to others to do, even though I have a good handle on what we have collected. Therefore, my next major task at work is to learn how to be a data analyst.

So when I talk about not getting what I need out of professional associations, that is what I was getting at. My professional journey is taking me in a different direction now, so I am reevaluating how I manage my career. And where this takes me will dictate what I write about here. Again: content!