LibRAT Goes Librarian
Library assistant to library graduate student

In last year's annual publication you met Mary Stirchak (CLA, '11). She was a first generation LibRAT (Library Research Assistance Technician), an experience that has influenced her life.

Accepted at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, Stirchak is now pursuing her Master in Library and Information Studies (MLIS). In addition, Stirchak is the recipient of the Marjorie S. Mardellis Fellowship at UCLA.

We exchanged emails about her time at Kennedy Library and the time ahead:

How did you become a LibRAT?
I happened upon the LibRAT position by chance. I had been looking for a part-time job when I saw that Kennedy Library was hiring. I hadn't really thought about working for the library until that moment, but it seemed like something I would really enjoy. I was lucky enough to get the job and I immediately fell in love with the position. It was so satisfying to be able to use a skill set that I had to help other people achieve what they needed to do.
After a while it dawned on me that I could potentially make this sort of thing my career. That's when I started looking into the library science field and made the decision to pursue my MLIS.
In last year's Annual Publication, you mentioned how you find reward in helping people.
My favorite part of helping people with their research was seeing them reach that "A-ha!" moment when everything suddenly clicks. A lot of people don't realize how many wonderful resources are available to them and sometimes it just takes another person to show them what's out there. I love watching people realize that there is a way to find information about anythingthey want to know.
What are your career aspirations?
As of right now, my goal is to end up working for an academic library in some capacity. I absolutely loved the work environment at Kennedy Library and I think I would really enjoy working in a similar environment after I finish my MLIS. I don't want to fully decide yet, though — I've heard of some really fascinating positions in the library science field that are a little off the beaten path, and I don't want to limit myself to one area before I've explored all of my options.
How do you envision the library of your future?
I think that in the future the basic purpose of libraries will remain the same. They will always be places where people can access information, learn things and collaborate with other people. I feel like people will always need this kind of space in one form or another.

As technology evolves, libraries might focus less on the printed page and more on offering access to digital resources, but I know that libraries will always find ways to remain relevant.