My name is Hallie Twiss, and I am the new Digital Programs Graduate Intern!
For my first blog post, I wanted to give a short introduction of myself, and explain how I came to a career in Library and Information Science (LIS).
I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I’ve had what you might call an “alternative-track” education. I originally went to Eastern Washington University, but changed my major every year for three years (Environmental Science to English to French), and eventually chose to drop out. While I was at EWU, I had a work study position at the Circulation Desk in the JFK Library. I thoroughly enjoyed the job, but it never occurred to me that I could have a career in libraries. Eventually, I realized I wanted (and needed) to finish my Bachelors Degree, and began the arduous process of applying to transfer to a different institution. I was accepted by Mount Holyoke College, and moved to the Pioneer Valley without even visiting first.
I immediately sought a position in the library, and started out as a student worker in the Language Resource Center (or LRC), which is a sector of LITS (Library, Information, and Technology Services). I began working in the Access Services department of the Williston Library in the summer of 2016. At that point, I was still planning to pursue a PhD in English in order to become a professor, but I immediately felt at home in an academic library and continued to enjoy the work. One of my supervisors, Rachael Smith, a Simmons alum, told me about the LIS program, and I was immediately interested, but reluctant to change directions after doing so much research about PhD programs. Ultimately, it was too overwhelming for me to take the GRE and work on graduate school applications during my senior year (which was only my second year at Mount Holyoke). After I graduated in 2017, I found a job in the Valley and worked on my graduate school applications over the winter. At that point, I was determined to go to school abroad (still one of my professional/educational goals), and was admitted to a masters program at the University of Western Ontario. However, I was unable to obtain a study permit, and wound up spending the year on the coast of Maine, where my partner grew up.
It seems like I always end up on the right track due to a personal or professional failure in my life. Because I was unable to go to UWO, I ended up applying to Simmons, and was admitted to the dual MA/MLS program in History and Archives Management. I was very fortunate to be hired by Digital Programs here at Amherst, and I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Both my course of study and my job allow me to be interdisciplinary and learn new skills/information, while also utilizing and exercising what I already know.
I spent the first couple of weeks of my internship getting to know the various departments in the library and the many wonderful people who work here. So far, everyone has been amazingly open and helpful, and willing to answer all of my questions. The sense of community here is lovely, it’s a very warm and collaborative library. I’m going to begin working on my first big project; finding the best way for us to transcribe all of the items that have been digitized and ingested into ACDC, and begin working on the transcriptions themselves. I’m very excited to work on a project with the goal of making ACDC more user-friendly and accessible!
I would like to invite anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in LIS to email me with inquiries, I am always happy to answer questions about the field and/or my own career path and experiences. I couldn’t have gotten here without help! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org