Officer Interviews: Sarah Ward, Chair

This post is the beginning of a series to help you get to know your new officers. Look for a new interview each week between now and the end of September.

  1. Name: Sarah Ward
  2. Year/progress in degree: I’m heading into year 2 (of 3) on a dual degree (Master of Library Science / Master of Arts in Musicology) at Indiana University.
  3. Area of interest (Cataloging, Reference, Public Service, Acquisitions): In many ways, I’ve striven to be as well-rounded as possible. Before library school, my background was primarily in public services.  I deeply treasure my experiences as a paraprofessional staffer and my years in access services. Coming back to library school, I chose to strengthen my technical skills and have focused my courses and my work primarily on cataloging, collection development, and digitization/preservation.
  4. Why did you choose librarianship as a career path?  I first began working in libraries because it was a job that let me sleep at night. I knew that the work I did contributed, overall, to good things in this world.  I chose music librarianship because it is a career that allows me the ridiculous privilege of both doing things I love, all the time, and sharing those things with others.  Helping to curate resource collections and then watching people light up as you show them that the library has exactly what they need is one of the best feelings in the world.
  5. What is your favorite part about library school (so far)? I will set aside my first answer to this, which is always and remains always the community of scholars I am learning with and from. Though my answer is closely related! My favorite part of library school are the opportunities it proffers.  There is a freedom and delight in being able to work on such a wide diversity of projects, classes, and internships in such a (relatively) short period of time.
  6. What has been your best experience as a member of MLA? The Music Library Association is an inestimable gift. My best experience thus far has been attending the annual conference.  It was wonderful to finally be able to put faces to all of the names I see on MLA-L and to have such amazing community support — from the mentoring program, to the thoughtful and lively presentations, to the elevator conversations after glimpsing a “first timer” badge. The annual conference was the embodiment of the community that is MLA.
  7. What advice would you give to a beginning library student? Use your time wisely.  Grad school will be over in the blink of an eye.  You have 4 semesters, maybe 6 if you decide to attend part time or to do a dual degree and then you are done.  Take advantage of this time (while you have it!) to strengthen areas in which you have little experience, to build your skillset as much as possible (particularly hard skills like coding, cataloging, or foreign languages), and to give yourself opportunities that will help you write the resume or CV you have always wanted.  Grad school is an investment in yourself and you are definitely worth it.

Going to a conference? Finishing up an internship? Want to start a discussion on your favorite burning librarianship questions? Or have another idea for a post on this blog? Contact the web technologies officer, and we’ll work with you to get your content featured here.

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