Social Sciences Cataloging And Metadata Librarian (Female, Age 38) in Philadelphia, PA

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 38 who works as a Social Sciences Cataloging And Metadata Librarian in Philadelphia, PA. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete our job profile survey so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job TitleSocial Sciences Cataloging And Metadata Librarian
Salary$54,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week35
Company Size(not answered)
LocationPhiladelphia, PA
Years Experience14 years

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career0
Education(not answered)
Income Rating0 / 10
Interest Rating0 / 10
Work-Life Rating0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating0 / 10

Table of Contents

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
A large (over 20,000 students) private, Ivy League university

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
I catalog materials in a variety of languages and formats, using both national/international rules and local rules, as well as work on a variety of library projects in the technical services

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
24 vacation days, 8 holidays, 12 sick days, HMO health insurance, dental and vision insurance, 403b plan (non-profit version of a 401k)

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
Somewhat underpaid

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
Generally, my work is solitary in nature, though committee work puts me into contact with others. I need concentration to do my job, but sometimes, that makes my work isolating.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
Yes

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
Sometimes, but not frequently.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 3
Benefits: 5
Hours: 6
Co-Workers: 8
Supervisors: 7
Job Title: 4
Level of Responsibility: 2
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am
8am to 9amWork began at 8.30. I checked email and responded to new messages. Mornings are usually very quiet here, unless I am asked to catalog an item being rushed through the system. That did not happen today. When it does, that item takes priority
9am to 10amI began work and finished 2 items that I had not finished cataloging yesterday. That required me to use my local catalog and then to upload my work into a national bibliographic utility. This morning, I worked on finishing 2 books: one on geometry and one on french history
10am to 11amI have a meeting this afternoon with my boss, so I prepared for it by sending email and making phone calls. I am trying to find out about a new computer software program the library might be buying, but no one can get me an answer yet. I spend most of the hour looking over notes I’d taken at past meetings
11am to 12pmI started work on several more books. The library has a new collection of materials donated by someone in the community (past faculty member). He collected in criminology and so he has a lot of old pamphlets and books about prisons, crime, and the law
12pm to 1pmLunch
1pm to 2pmStill working on the criminology materials. These are older books and no other catalogers have described them so I can’t download records from any other institution. This means the work falls to me and me alone. One of the books is falling apart so I will need to hand deliver it to our post-cataloging office for preservation attention. The item will probably be placed in a box before being put on the shelf
2pm to 3pmI had a 2-hour meeting with a dept. in transition. I am acting as the official note-taker for the meeting, because I have writing skills. I do not work in the depts. being merged together, however, so this makes taking notes difficult.
3pm to 4pmSee above
4pm to 5pmI typed up the meeting notes from the last 2 hours. I only have 30 minutes before my day ends, but I wanted to get the notes out to the committee as soon as possible. There is a lot of transition happening right now in my office. Because of the rise of electronic materials (vs. paper materials), the workflow is shifting, and so depts. are merging together and people are assuming new duties. This change needs to be documented as well as possible
5pm to 6pm
6pm to 7pm
7pm to 8pm
8pm to 9pm
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
Listing in a professional journal

What was the application process?
Submitted resume and cover letter in paper form

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Academic library jobs require a full-day interview on campus, involving both one-on-one sessions (with HR, the Library Director) and group sessions (the successful candidate’s dept.).

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What’s wrong with the library you work at currently and how would you change it? What skills can you bring to our library?

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes and no; my employer is committed to offering entry level jobs and providing training but I was paired with a difficult and non-communicative trainer. This was never resolved adequately

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
Yes, I was under revision from a senior cataloger for a period of 6 months

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. I have an MS,LIS degree from the best school in the country and came to my job well prepared (both academic and work experience)

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
I worked a practicum in 2 different parts of the library in grad school, but neither was an official internship

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
An MLS degree is a must. A concentration in technical services/cataloging is also required. Previous work experience (pre- or post-MLS) is also helpful

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
A wide range of knowledge with an interest in continuing professional development, a committment to the ‘greater good’ (which will rarely result in appreciation or salary increases), attention to detail, an ability to be self-directed

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Yes. MLS degree and possibly a second Masters degree

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Be as professionally active as you can afford to be

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Absolutely; my job is considered a very good one in my field

What are your current career goals?
I am currently taking on more projects at work, and using some outside-of-work skills (like writing and teaching) and folding them into what I do on a day-to-day basis

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

TitleLengthSalaryDescription
Prior Job 1Graduate Assistant Copy Cataloger2 years$625/monthI worked as a copy cataloger (a half-time graduate assistantship)
Prior Job 2Carrel Clerk1 yearStudent hourly wageI worked as the Carrel Clerk in the Circulation Dept as a student worker

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:5.14

GPASchoolDegree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
4.5?Univ of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignBA, Medieval History and Literature
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)
5Univ of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignMS, LIS, Library and Information Science

Ask a Question of this Mentor

This mentor has opted to receive questions from people interested in this career or job position. Please be respectful of their time and willingness to help. Include some basic relevant background so they can intelligently answer your question.