Student Shayna Muckerheide knew she was taking a financial risk last summer when she decided to scale back her journalism job to part-time so she could work as an unpaid intern to gain library experience. But the gamble quickly paid off. Muckerheide’s internship at Arizona State University (ASU) led to invaluable contacts and, within a few months, helped her land a full-time job as Special Events Coordinator in the library development division of the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.
“You have to take the leap and get some library experience if you’re switching careers. In this economy, you can’t just step into a full-time library position without any experience,” said Muckerheide, who previously worked as a medical writer and editor for newsletters aimed at physicians.
In her new job, Muckerheide coordinates the One Book Arizona program, the Carnegie Lunchtime Speaker series, and other State Library events. She also helps out with statewide reading, literacy, and librarian education programs. Muckerheide, who started her job in October 2009, really enjoys the work – particularly meeting librarians across the state.
It was networking, in part, that helped Muckerheide land her first full-time library job. While interning at ASU’s West campus Fletcher Library, she worked alongside Ann Dutton Ewbank, an Education Subject Librarian and the former president of the Arizona Library Association, who Muckerheide describes as “a great mentor.” One of Muckerheide’s projects while interning at ASU involved creating a special wiki to help the library association keep track of events, officers, and other information.
Ewbank “seems to know every librarian in the state and loves to make connections,” Muckerheide said. During her internship, Ewbank introduced her to several people at the State Library development division, which probably helped Muckerheide line up an internship with them for Fall 2009. And as luck would have it, the Special Events Coordinator position opened up soon after she started, so Muckerheide applied.
Muckerheide started just after Arizona readers had selected their 2010 adult pick for One Book Arizona, the 1930s true crime book The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd by former Arizona Republic reporter Jana Bommersbach. For children, readers selected The Three Javelinas by Susan Lowell, a bilingual twist on the classic Three Little Pigs tale. Muckerheide has been busy publicizing the winners, coordinating the creation of a children’s curriculum and adult reading guide for discussion groups, and ordering copies to be distributed at libraries throughout the state. She’s also hoping to apply for grants to fund many of the activities.
At the same time, Muckerheide is balancing her first year at SLIS with raising her 2-year-old daughter and spending time with her husband. She hopes to graduate in 2011, and in the meantime is enjoying working in the library field, especially at the state level.
“With my other job, I was working from home and it just got to be so socially isolating,” Muckerheide said. “In this position, I’ve had the chance to meet many of the librarians in person and the networking really helps.”