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An aspiring serialist... (Jennifer Friedman) Marcia Tuttle 07 Jul 1995 16:05 UTC

The moderators expect that this posting will generate a lively discussion
and we encourage you to respond to Jennifer via SERIALST. As the current
moderator, I will be happy to digest messages if several replies are
received and can conveniently be batched together (as we usually do when
several replies are sent regarding a hot topic or query where there is
lots of interest). As a rule, however, we are not in the habit of
summarizing responses or surveys for individual posters. -ed.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 1995 20:07:00 CDT
From: Bonjour a Tous <JFRIEDMN@MACC.WISC.EDU>
Subject: An aspiring serialist...

Hello, SERIALST members!

This is going to seem like an odd request. they say, the
wisest are those who know when to ask for help.

I am an aspiring serialist, just out of library school. I will be starting
to interview for serials jobs in the next two weeks and I have discovered
that I don't know what to say when people ask me why I'd like to work with
serials. In the past I've just laughed and said, "Oh, you know, they're
the gift that keeps on giving", but that won't do in interviews, I'm

I'm not as clueless as the above remark makes me sound. I worked with a
collection of little magazines (or "little buggers", as my former boss
used to call them) for two years, and discovered how frustrating and
wonderful periodical literature can be, and how publishers sometimes don't
seem to care about librarians' tribulations.  Right now I'm establishing a
periodicals database for the library in a small corporation, and
discovering how a lapse in bibliographic control can echo through a
collection for years. I have some experience in the acquisitions, public
service, cataloging, and preservation aspects of serials.  I know the
challenge and I want to meet it.  In short, I know I love 'em.

But how do I get that love across to prospective employers?  From the few
interviews I've had, it seems to always be the very first question: "So,
why do you want to be a serials librarian?"  The last interview I had, I
bumbled out something about how I love the challenge, but that sounds so

Okay.  Here's what I would like from some of you (not all, or you'll flood
the list!): [Go ahead! -ed.]

1. When you were looking for your present job (or your first serials job),
were you looking particularly for serials work, or did you end up applying
for/taking the job because of other, outside reasons: geographical, just
needed a library job, it was in your promotion chain, pay level, etc.?

2. If you were looking seriously for serials jobs, why did you believe
this was a good idea for you?  How did you express this to prospective

3. In retrospect, were your reasons for wanting to go into serials work
realistic?  Think about some of the things you told fellow students,
professors, prospective employers, etc. about why you were interested in
serials; do these things make you laugh now?  (Obviously, here I'm
concerned about *not* spouting naive cliches to a prospective employer,
who will know better.)

If the list moderator would summarize the answering messages for everyone,
I'm sure that would be more interesting for everyone than your flooding my
mailbox with personal replies (and easier on my infinitesimally small
e-mail quota).

Finally, I apologize for asking you to engage in navel-examining at a time
when you'd probably rather be out water-skiing.  Thanks in advance.

Jennifer Friedman
Wisconsin Peer Review Organization Librarian
2909 Landmark Place
Madison, WI 53713
(608) 274-1940

Jennifer Friedman          School of Library and Information Studies
415 W. Gilman #508         Helen C. White Hall, UW-Madison campus
Madison, WI 53703          Internet:
(608) 251-8917             Bitnet: jfriedmn@wiscmacc