People Behind The Events You Love: Library & Archives Careers Night

"People Behind the Events You Love" is an occasional series highlighting the work we do to make events happen. In this story, Liz Bellamy, Alexandra Flores Glosson, and Paul Showalter from the Research and Instruction department, discuss the recent career showcase.

three librarians
From left to right: Alex Flores Glosson, Paul Showalter and Liz Bellamy from the W&M Libraries Research and Instruction department

Library & Archives Careers Night was an event co-presented by W&M Libraries and the W&M Cohen Career Center and held on Feb. 8 in the Ford Classroom. Its purpose was to connect an array of professionals from libraries and archives with students who may want to pursue careers in similar fields. We had a panel discussion, some Q&A with the attendees, and an opportunity for networking. 

As librarians, we often hear from students who are interested in the field of libraries but don’t know much about what the job actually entails (spoiler alert: it’s not shushing people or reading books all day, but it is a great profession for anyone bright and curious [like W&M students!]). Since on-the-job internships within libraries are pretty uncommon, we wanted to find another effective way to give students a glimpse into what library workers do all day. After seeing the success of the Muscarelle’s “Careers in Museums” event last April, we were put in touch with Andrew and Cristen at the Cohen Career Center who had helped promote the Museums event, too. Paul also remembered attending at least one “Library Careers Night” that was held at Swem years ago and thought it might be a tradition worth reviving.

The panelists were fantastic. We had Ginger Glenn, ’85, who is a retired CIA Intelligence Officer, Williamsburg Regional Library (WRL) Youth Services Librarian Sara Meldrum, and a number of W&M Libraries staff: Research & Instruction Librarian Rachel Hogan, Reeder Media Center Director Troy Davis, University Archivist Ali Zawoyski, and Head of Cataloging and Metadata Libby McDaniel. Research & Instruction Librarian Liz Bellamy, ’13, was our moderator. Librarians from the WRL and one of the local high schools, as well as several librarians and staff from around Swem, also lent their time to answer student questions and network with attendees.

Librarians seated behind a long table answer questions from students in the audience

Over the course of 90 minutes, all those in attendance – including around 25 students – had an enjoyable, informative conversation. And everyone got fed! (Thanks to W&M Libraries for generously providing dinner from Mellow Mushroom!)

Would we do it again? Absolutely! In fact, we’re already planning for the next one. We’re looking at sometime in November 2024, as that may help students who are thinking of applying to a grad program during the winter or spring 2025. Stay tuned! We’ll be looking again for a variety of panelists who’d love to talk about their work!