Alumna Laura Moody Lands Job at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives

Community Profile

Alumna Laura Moody recently accepted a job as the first public services librarian at the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives.

“This is my dream job,” said Moody, a 2004 MLIS graduate who has worked in music librarianship for more than 20 years.

Moody is working with her colleagues to develop what is planned to be the largest collection for rock and roll research in the world. As the public services librarian, she is reviewing and purchasing thousands of books, audio recordings, documentaries, and concert recordings relating to the history and development of rock and roll and its artists. When it opens to the public in January 2012, the library will also offer more than 100 periodical titles and access to online music databases like Music Index Online and Rock’s Backpages.

Moody relied on a combination of experience and professional networks to find her dream job. She began her music library career as an undergrad library assistant at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she handed out records in the listening room. After graduating with a BA in Museum Studies and a minor in Music, she moved to California and got a job as an evenings-and-weekends library supervisor at University of California, Berkeley. She DJ’d on the side for the free-form/punk/rock college radio station KALX and was known to her listeners as “Laura in the Livingroom.”

Moody worked her way up to a senior paraprofessional position, and then enrolled in the MLIS program at the SJSU School of Library and Information Science so she could take on more responsibilities. In addition to her coursework, she spent a summer volunteering in the Chicago Public Library’s Blues Archives and Music Division and completed a music cataloging internship at Mills College in Oakland, California.

From 2004 to 2011 Moody worked as a librarian at the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University, where she was the subject specialist for Music, Broadcasting, Museum Studies, Italian, and French. She also managed a library blog to share new music materials, and she continues to highlight rock and roll resources at her new site I Was Born to Rock and Roll.

Moody’s expertise in rock and roll and popular music helped her land her job at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library, but she also worked hard to make connections through professional organizations. She kept in touch with a colleague she met in the cocktail line at a Music Library Association event, and he eventually became the Rock Hall Library’s Director.

“One of my professors, Dr. Fisher, said you always have to make connections,” Moody said. “It really does help to join an organization within the library profession. And if you do join, look to see if they have benefits or travel grants for first-time conference attendees, so you can take advantage of these networking opportunities.”

Moody also encourages students to take advantage of professional internship experiences. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives offers on-site internships in archives, collection development, and public services through the San José State University School of Information Internship Sites database.

Ultimately, it was Moody’s passions for music and librarianship that led her to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives. “You have to be yourself, and follow your heart,” she said.