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Eric Sean Weld   Date: 9/30/08

Alumnae Panel: Why Librarian is Among Best Careers

Being a librarian isn’t what it used to be.

Four Smith alumnae who have climbed careers in library professions will return to their alma mater on Thursday, Oct. 2, to attest that library work in today’s Information Age, with countless electronic resources, is different from its past.

The alumnae will comprise a panel to talk about “Career Opportunities in Libraries and Archives” at 7 p.m. in, appropriately, Neilson Library Browsing Room. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Smith College Libraries.

Considering a librarian’s post on the front lines of information exchange and analysis, U.S. News and World Report rated the job among the Best Careers in 2008. “Forget about that image of librarian as a mousy bookworm,” says an article in the magazine. “Librarians these days must be high-tech information sleuths, helping researchers plumb the oceans of information available in books and digital records. It’s an underrated career. On top of it all, librarians’ work hours are reasonable.”

Mary Irwin, gift and development officer in the Smith libraries and a coordinator of the event, says library work is very satisfying. “These days you still get to help people find the information they need,” she said, “you learn cool stuff in the process and you get paid to explore the latest in information technology.”

There you have it. Adding their testimony will be:

  • Abigail Brigham ’91, a senior research librarian at CNN in New York City
  • Katharine Chandler ’97, a rare book librarian at the Philadelphia Free Library. Chandler worked in Smith’s Josten Library as a student.
  • Elisabeth Doucett ’80, director of the Curtis Public Library in Brunswick, Maine, and author of Branding Your Library, a book published recently by the American Libraries Association.
  • Susan von Salis ’79, archivist at the Harvard Museums in Cambridge, Mass.

Stacie Hagenbaugh, director of the Career Development Center, will moderate the alumnae discussion.

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