I didn’t know I wanted to become a librarian until halfway through my undergraduate degree. I was majoring in English literature but wanted a way to use my degree that didn’t involve teaching. My part-time job at my undergraduate library led me to ask the librarians how they got to where they were. Once in library school, I thought I would be a reference librarian. However, again, my part-time work led me to “my people”—the behind-the-scenes, technical services folks who make the “magic” happen in libraries. I began my library career in cataloging and metadata but eventually morphed into an electronic resources librarian about three years ago. I love electronic resources work—it’s mentally engaging, always involves solving a puzzle, puts me in contact with many parts of the library, and makes great use of my ability to read bibliographic records. Today I am electronic resources librarian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I lead a team of five that handles database trials, activates new electronic resources, and troubleshoots electronic resource access problems.
I joined ALA in library school thanks to a membership kindly gifted by a librarian at my undergraduate library. I added the ALCTS membership after accepting my first full-time position. However, I didn’t get involved until I attended ALCTS 101 at my first ALA Annual Conference. At ALCTS 101 I met the book review editor of Library Resources & Technical Services (LRTS)—the official journal of ALCTS—and the officers of the ALCTS New Members Interest Group (ANMIG). From there my experience with ALCTS has grown to include committee work, presentations, and publications. While my involvement has helped me to meet the expectations of a professional in my various positions, it has also helped me stay current and think critically about my own work and the work of the library as a whole.
ALCTS 101 has been the center of all my involvement with ALCTS: from this one recurring event, I received an invitation to write a book review for LRTS, was offered the position of book review editor when the sitting editor left his post, became an officer of ANMIG in various roles for three years, met colleagues, held interesting conversations, and made friends who became my conference roommates, co-presenters, and co-authors. If you are new to ALA or ALCTS, or if you simply want to brush up on what ALCTS can offer, I highly recommend that you stop by ALCTS 101 at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans!
Elyssa M. Gould is electronic resources librarian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is currently serves as the book review editor of LRTS and as a member of the ALCTS Membership Committee. You can usually catch her talking about what she’s sewing and her favorite books.