Name: Erika Jenns
Your position: Engagement Consultant, Southern Tier Library System
 
Educational Background: Master of Arts in English, Indiana University; Master of Library Science with Rare Books and Manuscripts Specialization, Indiana University; Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology, Minor in Spanish, Indiana University
 
What is most interesting about your position? The variety! It’s rare that I do the same thing two days in a row. I enjoy splitting my days between answering emails, posting to social media, purchasing titles for our OverDrive collection, working on graphic design, and tackling whatever else comes my way.
 
What has been your biggest professional challenge? Becoming familiar with the structure and funding of public libraries in New York State.
 
What was your background before becoming a librarian? For all of my professional life, I’ve been a librarian. Prior to STLS, I was the Scholarly Engagement Librarian at Indiana University, and before that, I worked at IU’s special collections repository, the Lilly Library, in both public services and conservation. I am also occasionally an assistant to antiquarian bookseller.
 
What would you be doing if you weren't a librarian? I’d be working in interior design. In high school, I shadowed an interior designer, and I thought I would definitely pursue that career path. While that’s not what I’m doing now, I do rearrange the furniture in my house quite often, and most of my Instagram feed is filled with interior design posts - and cats.
 
What is the most interesting issue in librarianship today? One topic that I find interesting is the pairing of makerspace technology like 3D printing, scanning, and modeling with the humanities. I’m particularly interested in the place where maker culture meets the study of print history. Here’s a great article from RBM (A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage) that delves a bit deeper: https://doi.org/10.5860/rbm.19.1.59
 
What are you most proud of? In semi-seriousness, creating a mascot for STLS. Our OPAC is called STARCat (Southern Tier Area Regional Catalog), and I reimagined the logo as a cat wearing a space suit. Then, I decided that we needed a costume version that we could wear at continuing education events, at our annual meeting, and for our members to borrow for parades/fairs/etc. We also took STARCat to NYLA in 2018 and had a great time taking pictures with attendees.
 
What other organizations are you involved with? I'm a member of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), the Public Library Association (PLA), and the New York Library Association (NYLA). I’m also an active participant in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of ACRL. I’m currently co-chair of the Membership and Professional Development Committee within RBMS.
 
What advice would you give to a new librarian? Get involved immediately - especially if you’re still in school. The most valuable experience you’ll have during your time pursuing the MLS is volunteer/work experience. Find a professional organization to join. You can’t start building up your resume quick enough, and it can take time to get on committees. Also, find a mentor! And, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.
 
What software/web tools do you use regularly? WordPress, the Adobe suite, Canva, the Google Suite, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, OverDrive, Freegal, RBdigital, Microsoft Office
 
Favorite social media platform:   Instagram (personal), Twitter (professional)
 
Favorite blog or website:  For library things: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/. For fun/casual consumption & browsing: https://www.dwell.com/ or Spotify: https://www.spotify.com/us/ .
 
What do you do to relax?   Walk my dog, run, hike, watch basketball (NBA) and NBA-adjacent news/shows, or binge-watch a series with a cat on my lap.
 
What would you like to learn?   So many things - I’d like to casually study linguistics, learn more coding languages, really understand systems & networks, and figure out how to keep plants alive.
 
Is there anything about you that others would be surprised to know?   I play Ultimate Frisbee pretty regularly. It’s not uncommon for me to travel across the country to play in tournaments (for fun). There’s such a great community of people who play Ultimate. I love it.

Thank you Erika!