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MLIS Grads from Same Cohort Get New Jobs at Cornell

By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

What’s the chance?

Four School of Information Studies (iSchool) Library and Information Science master’s program graduates from the same cohort have landed new library careers at the same university campus within months of each other.

Kathryn Hiney, Ashley Downs, Margaret Ambrose, and Erin Eldermire, who began their MLIS studies in the summer of 2012, all feel fortunate to be in new jobs in different library services areas at Cornell University. They now maintain their cohort experience providing professional support as colleagues.

Erin Eldermire, who Tweeted about the reunion, reflected, “When I was settling into my Syracuse dorm room in that hot July week back in 2012, I had no idea that some of the individuals that I was just meeting would soon be my colleagues at Cornell. We all come from different places, but when we met at SU, we were embarking on a shared future. Together we went through the intense, collaborative week-long introduction at the iSchool, so we're primed to just pick up and work together as peers.  It has been a great starting place for us.”

Here’s what these library program alumni are up to and how they’ve managed to stay connected.

Ashley Downs
Food and Agriculture Librarian, Research and Learning Services, Mann Library

Five years of experience in research settings was crucial to a new library role for Ashley, which she started in August. Those experiences made her “more valuable as a librarian,” she says, because “I know what my patrons are going through when they come asking for help; I understand the science lifecycle.”

Ashley is thrilled with her work, especially teaching in the classroom. “I also enjoy collaborating with faculty as they develop new assignments revolving around key information literacy skills. I've been delighted to see how well faculty and students have embraced innovation and creativity in the classroom,” she adds. 

Being with three members of her SU cohort has made off-work hours fun, Ashley adds. “We've started having monthly luncheons together where we discuss upcoming and ongoing projects and bounce ideas off one another. It's a very nice support system.”

Kathryn (Katie) Hiney
Public Services Assistant/Collection Development, Access Services and Collection Development, Hospitality, Labor Relations and Management School

Katie worked in access services at Cornell’s Olin/Kroch Asia & Uris Libraries facility since February 2013. In her new job, she serves diverse curriculum areas at three different locations.

“I really love the challenge that comes with collection development,” Katie conveys. “More often than not the answer is a tricky find, and I love the thrill of the hunt. Equally satisfying is the feeling I get when I know I've solved an access service mystery and make an item easier to find in the future. I absolutely love what I'm doing and every day I'm excited to go to work. I love the profession, the patrons, my co-workers, the culture. Everything about my position reminds me that I'm in the right line of work!”

Margaret Jane Ambrose
Access and Research Services Librarian, Law Library at Myron Taylor Hall

Starting her job in July, Margaret enjoys the mix of patrons she serves. “From students, I get typical legal research questions and journal sourcing queries. From faculty, some pretty neat research projects like connecting Magna Carta to the jury trial right or e-rulemaking initiatives. Then there are the pro-se requests that come in from the public.”

She has recognized the importance of culture in creating positive relationships, facilitating collaboration, and “getting the right people together and all on the same page,” she says. “That’s why I think it’s so great to work in a place where it is so easy to connect to people across campus for a variety of reasons…whether that is through sitting on a mentoring committee with each other, or connecting through a network of Syracuse iSchool alumni!”

Margaret says her iSchool cohort has been a comfort. “Cornell is a wonderful place to work, but it can also be intimidating at times–especially starting out. It is very valuable to have a small group of us who are new to the profession and also new to working at Cornell...[providing] a wonderful group of people to talk to about challenges and also celebrate victories with.”

Erin Eldermire
Outreach and Scholarly Services Librarian, Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library

Erin was a reference assistant at Mann Library for four years, then pursued her MLIS at the iSchool fully online. In her new job, she “bring[s] the library to everybody who is associated with this professional school. I get to learn about the teaching and research they do, and then help them make connections so they can do their jobs even better. It is fun, informative, and I really get to help people, which is why I went into librarianship in the first place.”

Erin says her distance studies “helped me to establish good workflows and habits that I'm benefitting from now” in Cornell’s large, dispersed library setting. Accordingly, Erin and her fellow iSchool graduates “didn't realize that we were all working at Cornell University Library until after we had all started,” she notes. “But once we realized it, we created an informal group.  We get together on occasion, talk about our new positions, and hear how everybody is doing...a great component to starting up in a new role.  We're all on the same level and we can talk peer-to-peer as we get used to working at our respective libraries.”  

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