Getting to Know Our New MLStEP Advisor: Jessica Abbazio

In addition to taking over as the advisor to MLStEP, Jessica is also taking part in a pilot program, where she will serve as the inaugural Early Career Member on the MLA Board.

  1. Name: Jessica Abbazio
  2. Professional affiliation: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  3. Area of interest: Public services, instruction, outreach, reference
  4. Why did you choose librarianship as a career path? Librarianship brings together everything I love about teaching and research! I have an undergraduate degree in music education (though, sadly, I haven’t taken my French horn out of the case in years –  but it makes a perfect footrest in its spot under my desk), and graduate degrees in musicology. There were so many things I loved about teaching but I’ve also always been really drawn to research, and I wasn’t sure how best to combine those two interests. When I started working in libraries and realized that this career path brought so many of those things together, I knew I’d found the perfect job.
  5. What was your favorite part about library school? I really enjoyed having a chance to explore many different types of librarianship work through classes and internships. I knew I wanted to work in public services, but I loved that library school gave me the opportunity to learn about archival work, copyright, cataloging, metadata, and other facets of our profession. Getting a strong introduction to different types of library work seemed like a good way to prepare to be a supportive and informed colleague, and I was thrilled to have the chance to learn the ropes in a variety of areas.
  6. What is your favorite part of your job? I love working with people! Teaching, providing reference services, and engaging with the campus and wider communities through outreach like pop-up library events are my very favorite things to do. It’s incredibly rewarding to help a researcher to find just the thing they need for their project, or to introduce someone new to what the Libraries has to offer.
  7. What has been your best experience as a member of MLA? All of the great friendships I’ve made. Through attending local Chapter and Annual meetings, joining committees, sitting in on interest group meetings, and chatting with people between sessions and at coffee breaks, I’ve met so many fantastic people. I feel lucky to work with a professional organization made up of members who truly care about the work that we do and about each other.  
  8. What advice would you give to a beginning library student? Try everything you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Take classes and explore internships on topics outside your comfort zone. Talk to experienced librarians, library school mentors, and recent graduates about the kinds of skills and proficiencies that they think will help you to become a well-rounded professional (and take a look at the Core Competencies for Music Librarians and Music Library Professionals report, linked from MLA’s About Music Librarianship page), and then explore opportunities in as many of those areas as you can. If you’re attending an MLA meeting, take advantage of the Conference Mentoring Program and connect with experienced attendees through MLStEP. If you can’t make it to a conference, try out the Career Advisory Service and the Resume and Cover Letter Review Service, both of which are available in-person at annual meetings and throughout the year via email. MLA is full of people who want to help, so don’t be afraid to reach out to ask.
  9. What do you do for fun? I love to hike, to travel, and to travel to go hiking somewhere new.

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