Becca Fülöp (she/her/hers) is in her first term as the MLStEP Atlantic Chapter Liaison.
Tell us about yourself! I started my first non-student library job in January ’22 as the performing arts librarian at Temple University. I completed dual MLIS/MAS degrees at the University of British Columbia in 2020.
What are your areas of interest in music librarianship? I come from a teaching background, having previously gotten a PhD in musicology and having worked for several years as a visiting assistant professor and adjunct, so it was important to me to get a job where instruction would be a major focus. I was lucky to get a job that combines my music background with teaching. My areas of interest in music are film music, music and gender/sexuality, music and race, and American music.
Why did you choose librarianship as a career path? I originally thought I wanted the typical musicology job, but soon realized it wasn’t really the best career path for me. I love teaching and working with music students and faculty, but I didn’t do well with the pressure to publish, and my specialty wasn’t in high demand from hiring committees. I had thought of librarianship while I was still working on my PhD, having enjoyed volunteering in the middle school library where my mom was a library media specialist at the time, but I didn’t act on this idea until I had been on the musicology job market for several years and was feeling burnt out. I realized that a job where I could still be at a college or university but in a 9-5 work setting and more focused on helping others than on my own research would be ideal for me.
What was your favorite part of library school? I probably shouldn’t admit this, but it was the classes that didn’t really relate to my career goals! The UBC iSchool has a great children’s literature program, and so I was able to take several classes on children’s lit, including one where I had the opportunity to work on a novel (which is still a work-in-progress, although very much on the back burner). I loved having the freedom to learn about something that I found interesting but knew wasn’t going to be a part of my career path, and I think it enriched me as a librarian because I have insight into different types of librarianship. The most valuable course I took (which was also one of my favorites) was a course on the instructional role of the librarian, which I recommend to EVERY library school student if you have the opportunity, even if you aren’t sure you want to be an instructional librarian.
What has been your best experience as a member of MLA and/or MLStEP? I am still very new to MLA and MLStEP, but I was very excited just this past week to make contact with my regional chapter and be included in their board meeting as the new MLStEP liaison. Helping to plan the annual conference, sharing ideas about how to get more students involved, and discussing the prospect of planning social activities for members in the same region are definitely some of the more fun parts of being involved!
What advice would you give to a beginning library student? Don’t be discouraged if you don’t love library school. Being a librarian is not like being in library school, and while I often despaired that I wasn’t sufficiently prepared or that I wouldn’t enjoy my work as a librarian, luckily those fears have proven to be unfounded.
Do you have anything else to add? Everyone’s experience is different, but for me being an active music scholar with ties to the music community seems to have been a huge plus when I was interviewing for the job at Temple. If you are coming from a musicology or music theory background, don’t feel that you need to give up your place in that world just because you want to be a librarian. It can be a real benefit, both with your library colleagues and with your music faculty, and I enjoy creating music scholarship better now that there’s less pressure to “publish or perish!”
Use the buttons below to connect with Becca, and stay tuned for upcoming interviews!