This is the first in a series of interviews with the 2022 MLStEP board officers and liaisons. We will be sharing new interviews in the weeks leading up to the Music Library Association Conference in early March.
Geo Flores (he/him) is starting his second term as the Chair of the Music Library Student and Emerging Professionals. He is an emerging professional working in paraprofessional music cataloging.
What is your area of interest in music librarianship? Cataloging.
What was your favorite part of library school? I liked the big projects. Whether it be a ten-page paper or building a database, having a large goal in mind and being able to chip at it a little at a time is immensely satisfying for me. A lot of the discussion was very helpful as well, and thinking about how to organize my information to make it accessible yielded a lot of interesting viewpoints I would never have considered independently.
Why did you choose librarianship as a career path? (or, is this what you thought you’d be doing?!) As a cataloger, I get to be pedantic for money! But really, classifying and putting things into neat little boxes is what humans do, and it is fascinating to me to think of how others will search for information and thus format our metadata in such a way that caters to them. The fact that in so doing I get to hear a bunch of music I might never have heard of in the process is certainly nice too!
What has been your best experience as a member of MLA and/or MLStEP? My first MLA annual in Norfolk, Virginia. I love being at professional conferences; being among so many likeminded individuals all focused on music librarianship and bringing their various projects, experiences, and points of view to present to their colleagues is almost as fun as the social life that follows after 5pm. At the heart of it, I just love the exchange of ideas.
What advice would you give to a beginning library student? A lot of what you learn in library school is theoretical and has a theoretical framework. Because of this, it can feel quite nebulous and conceptually hard to pin down. My advice would be to attach a goal or subject to your work—even if it is not part of the assignment. For a music librarian, this is relatively simple: I needed to write a paper on rare books, so I discussed book printing in 18th century Venice; I needed to build a database, so I created a database of opera DVDs; I needed to write about the proposed LRM, so I wrote about its potential effects on music cataloging, and so on. You could do the same thing with historical events, with literature, with pop culture, etc., etc. In this way, you make your work specific and goal oriented, and it allows you to see how your work affects a particular, tangible subject rather than allowing it to remain purely theoretical.
Anything to add? The funny thing about music librarians, is that there are a lot of us—but not all of us work as music librarians. While my current institution has music librarians in appropriate positions (cataloger, subject liaison, etc.), one of our database maintenance technicians and the director of cataloging and metadata services are also musicians; you’d be surprised how many librarians are musically inclined!
Use the buttons below to contact Geo. Stay tuned for the next interview!