Beth Lambert Jen
Librarian and Teacher
Fei Tian Academy of the Arts California
San Francisco, CA USA
What I am doing now.
I am the first and only librarian at my school, and have been there nearly since its inception. I have organized and cataloged the library, sometimes with the help of student volunteers who I supervised, in addition to weeding, processing new books (often donations due to limited resources), and so on. I have also taught English, ESL, and a few other humanities classes for our middle and high school as needed, and I manage the school’s social media.
In January 2016, a new library space opened in the school’s new building. It has been exciting to contribute to design, move in books, and arrange the space.
What are the most valuable skills I use in my job?
I think the most useful perspective that I have brought to my job is the understanding that a librarian is an educator and information specialist who is flexible, who can and does do many things, and who as possible fills gaps that others are not able to fill. I spend a large amount of my time outside of the library. That I speak English as a native language places me in the linguistic minority at my workplace; Mandarin is the predominant native language. The ability to process information and express it in correct, clear, understandable English is highly valued as a result.
LIBR 202 (Information Retrieval) was the most useful required course, as my job began with organizing the books in a standard fashion. The ideas introduced here have also been helpful in revising old online postings others created as responsibilities have shifted, and creating new postings, both in and out of social media.
LIBR 283 on marketing was also quite valuable. I hadn’t had much experience with marketing, and some ideas brought up in this course helped me take more interest in it and realize its importance. Now, as part of a relatively new organization, marketing has once again become important. The social media I manage in particular adds to the school’s overall marketing efforts.
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