Interview with Elizabeth Gatling, MLS ’11

Elizabeth at Miller-Motte

Elizabeth at Miller-Motte

1) Tell us your current position and job duties.

I am currently the acting Head Librarian at the Raleigh, NC campus of Miller-Motte College. As the librarian, I assist students with their research, editing, and citation issues, and conduct library orientation and “pathfinder’ classes for the faculty when their classes have projects. I also manage several work-study students, proctor entrance exams for college applicants, order, receive and catalogue materials for the library (and other programs). I also pinch hit for our IT department when our printer goes down or a student has computer issues.

Miller-Motte is a small, specialized library. Our collection is limited to books in the programs taught here but we have thousands of electronic books available. The students are generally focused hard on their goal: graduating and getting a better job. The more serious students don’t want a lot of fluff, but they need a lot of hands on care sometimes. Once they know you take them seriously and truly want to help them, they trust  you and seek you out. It’s great!

2) How did studying at NCCU SLIS help you prepare for your current work?

Everything I learned about the steps of internet research and citation was very helpful because the population of students I work with are often very unfamiliar with either. I’ve created research pathfinders and been able to explain the WHY of citation based directly notes from my classes.

3) What was your favorite thing about your time at NCCU SLIS?

Discovering that there was a profession almost tailor-made for me and the way I think about life—classifying and organizing—was a HUGE bright spot for me. All my classes simply emphasized the fact that librarianship encompassed all of that and more. It’s not just some old lady in sensible shoes and glasses shushing people, but a whole world of making information available for the use of people in the creation of a better world.

 4) What are your career goals?

As I learn more about the library as a part of the for-profit education arena, I see that there are not very many people who see the potential here. I am fascinated by the possibilities this sort of school can offer. I want to contribute more to the very limited conversation about for-profit schools and libraries.

 5) What advice would you give to students going through library school right now?

Associate. Associate. Associate. Be part of the ALA and NCLA. Find your niche and make your mark.

 6) What advice would you give library students about job hunting?

Never give up and don’t be afraid to move if you can. There are opportunities out there, lots of them. Some of them don’t look like “traditional” librarian jobs but you will find one that fits you perfectly.

Elizabeth and Chelsea

Elizabeth and Chelsea

 7) What advice would you give to people considering applying to library school?

Realize that librarianship is a huge area and getting bigger as different areas of information creation are released. Technological advances are not negating the need for libraries or librarians, but they are changing the field in which we play. Add some data administration and networking and programming to your resume, get to know the various sorts of e-readers out there. Participate in the social arena because this is where the magic is made and if you can handle it plugged in, you can handle it unplugged.

 8) What are you reading right now?

I’m in the middle of Lent right now (Orthodox Lent began a few weeks after Western Lent) so I am reading the Spiritual Biography of Saint Seraphim of Sarov by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore, along with The Companions by Sheri S. Tepper. On my Kindle I have begun a re-read of The Way of Kings  by Brandon Sanderson, and I am listening to Hammered: the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne and my son and I are listening to Watership Down by Richard Adams.


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