I think I’ve become an elder stateswoman. Maybe I should have called my blog “The Elder Stateswoman of Libraries.” Various online dictionaries I consulted define elder statesman (or stateswoman) as a “prominent, highly experienced older man/woman, especially one acting as an unofficial advisor.” Is it conceited of me to think I might fit this definition?
I guess I’m not exactly prominent (“widely known,” “eminent”), although maybe I am, in some circles. But I think over thirty years in the profession qualifies me as “highly experienced.” And yes, I’m not exactly young, so let’s assume that “older” part of the definition applies. That leaves “one acting as an unofficial adviser.” I’m definitely acting as an unofficial advisor more often, especially now that I’m retired. So, conceited or not, I’m going to start calling myself an elder stateswoman.
I’ve been contacted by individuals who are about to interview for a library directorship, and others who are just wondering how I suggest they become more “marketable” the next time they apply/interview for a job. Here’s some of my advice:
- Research the library you’re applying at: look at their web page, their board agendas and minutes, tour the library if possible
- Become active in our state library association, whether on committees, or presenting at conferences
- Become familiar with state laws regarding libraries, especially if you are applying for your first library director job
- If you don’t have the exact same experience they might be looking for, explain how you have similar experience that translates to the job you’re applying for
I’m enjoying being an elder stateswoman. I like visiting with the next generation of library leaders. And I like to think that my advice is helping them set out toward their future, and helping libraries to hire good staff.
For further reading:
- Professionalism Matters in Job Search (Michael Stephens’ “Office Hours” column, Library Journal)
- ALA JobList Facebook page
- AskAManager blog