Alumna Rosa Hall Made the Most of Her Time in the iSchool

Community Profile

“When I started the iSchool’s program I wanted to make sure that I got experience with different kinds of libraries and librarianship. Since I had started in an academic library, worked as a library aid in a public library as well as an intern in a corrections facility library, when I saw that they were hiring at Hansen Bridget I thought it would be a really good experience to try law librarianship as well.”

Rosa Hall, ‘20 MLIS
Assistant Research and Library Operations Specialist, Hanson Bridgett LLP
San Francisco, CA

A Passion for the Public

Rosa started her career off in libraries working as a student library assistant for Skyline College Library in San Bruno, California. Like many people, she was unaware of what a librarian truly does beyond organize books. As a library assistant, she discovered a multitude of roles and responsibilities within the library setting. It was there that she first felt a passion for librarianship and the desire to achieve her Master of Library and Information Science with San José State University’s iSchool.

Her life, however, took another course. After moving to a different state, Rosa found herself working at a sheriff’s office in North Carolina, uncovering another passion: social service. When life once again changed course, returning Rosa back to the bay area, she started a career with San Mateo County Human Services Agency. There she got to help community members discover their eligibility for state and community service programs, furthering her love to help and serve the public.

After working five years at San Mateo County Human Services Agency, Rosa felt the pull to return to library science once again. She desired to continue serving the public but with a focus on helping them with their information needs, “Working in the library as my first job, and then working in social services, was my entry into the public sector. It showed me how I can help the community and that has always been something I have really liked to do.” So, in Spring 2018 Rosa joined the iSchool to further her library career.

A Hat in Every Ring

With her first year in the iSchool under her belt, Rosa started looking at potential career opportunities within the field. Having now worked in many different library settings, She found Hanson Bridgett LLP, a law library, while looking into postings on LinkedIn. After two interviews, she was offered the position of library technical services and research assistant while still in the iSchool program with three semesters to go.

After graduating in the spring of 2020, Rosa then moved into the role of assistant research and library operations specialist at Hansen Bridget. Her role expanded to encompass many different tasks, “Now I get to do reference requests for attorneys, document pulling, copying and desk copies, collection management and library administration.” She really enjoys that with her wide range of responsibilities she is able to work in many aspects of librarianship, including building relationships with all the different departments and attorneys as well as conducting outreach to make sure people are aware of all the ways a librarian can assist them. One of her favorite aspects of outreach is sending welcome emails to new members, making sure that they are aware of all the great resources the library possesses to aid them, “If you’re ever in doubt ask the library.”

Wise Words of Wisdom

Applying for and seeking out internships is a great way to gain some real-world practical experience and strengthen your resume when it comes time to look for jobs. Which, as Rosa advises, is while still in the program, somewhere between when the core fundamental courses are completed and graduation. Equally as important to internships is networking, “It’s important to put yourself out there. Make connections with your fellow classmates, with librarians and faculty. Build your network because you never know, it just might land you your next job.” Rosa strongly encourages students to ask their peers and mentors for help, “you never know where an opportunity might wait for you.” 

It took Rosa 10 years to fulfill her dreams of becoming a librarian, but she did it, and she wants to encourage all students in the program not to give up. “You can really do it,” she exclaims, “keep on following your dreams.” The age-old adage of ‘it’s not the destination but the journey’ rings true. Every student’s journey through the iSchool program will be different, but every step taken adds to the experience and the knowledge gained.