Get to know the board: Michelle Rivera, Programming Officer

This is the seventh in a series of interviews with the 2022 MLStEP board. We will be sharing new interviews with our officers and liaisons in the weeks leading up to the Music Library Association Conference in early March.

Michelle Rivera (she/her/ella) is starting her term as the MLStEP Programming Officer, after serving as last year’s Membership Officer.

Michelle Rivera
(Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

Tell us about yourself! I’m the Music Library Specialist at the University of Notre Dame. I received my BM and MM from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and my MLIS is in progress through the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.

What are your areas of interest in music librarianship? Reference, instruction, and information retrieval.

Why did you choose librarianship as a career path? You know when you’re half way through your performance degree and realize you abhor auditions? Well, that was me. Luckily, I was working at my university’s music library and immediately felt at home. The work just came very naturally to me. I also had a great mentor who humored my curiosity, provided a great learning environment, and introduced me to music librarianship as a career path.

What was your favorite part of library school? My favorite part of library school was learning about content-based music information retrieval (CB-MIR). If you’re not sure what that is, it’s the concept of being able to search for music by humming/singing a part of it or image recognition of the sheet music. It’s an incredible feat and still infant, but I’d like to do some work in it. If I ever decide to do a doctorate, that would be my focus.

What has been your best experience as a member of MLA and/or MLStEP? My introduction to MLA was very memorable. As an undergrad, I was chatting with my mentor about not being cut out for performing; he sensed it to be the most opportune time to show me the MLA website. It was like showing a child a box of shiny things. This is a thing? I can be like you? There’s more people like you AND y’all have a club? Perhaps an outsider would think me too innocent, but I still have this glimmer of excitement fluttering around whenever I think of being a music librarian.

What advice would you give to a beginning library student? Even if you aren’t remotely interested in managerial positions (very much me), do take a Library Management course. I took a lot away from it even though the most “managing” I do is with my student workers. It will at the very least help you understand what and why the higher-ups are doing certain things, from budgeting to morale to assessments. And if you want to voice any concerns or ideas to upper echelons, having the managerial insight can help you do so effectively.

Use the buttons below to connect with Michelle. Stay tuned for the next interview!

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