Project SET Alumni Spotlight: Erica Street

Project SET: Skills, Empowerment, Talent is a learning community guided by members of the Massachusetts Library Systems Consultants team. Project SET has been established in order to cultivate new talent amongst the library community of Massachusetts and provide the support and encouragement to build participants’ confidence, and strengthen their career paths. Erica Street from Jenks Library at Gordon College shares her Project SET experience.

What one thing do you most want other people to know about your experience with Project SET? What are you most proud of?
I want people to know that Project SET is possible for any personality type and librarian at all points in their career. I’m a shy, introverted, relatively new librarian who has difficulty striking up conversation with people I don’t know…and there is a lot of that in Project SET! But when you are with a team of people who want to learn similar things that you do, who are passionate about contributing to Massachusetts librarians, you can get over some of those things you thought were road blocks in yourself. Of course I’m most proud of the opportunity to present at MLS Annual Meeting, but I’m also proud that I met and worked with librarians who are really different then me, and that we all learned a lot from each other. Project SET is as much about learning new skills as it is about growing yourself and discovering who you want to be in the Massachusetts library community. That’s a pretty neat thing to discover.

Identify one goal you have for your career, your library, and for the Massachusetts library community?
To answer this question, I turned to the letter I wrote to myself on the last day of Project SET. The idea of this letter is you would read it 6 months after completing Project SET and see where you were. When I started Project SET I was less than one year into my career. Now, almost 3 years later, I’ve grown pretty comfortable with what kind of librarian I am. A continued goal of mine is that I will never be satisfied with that comfort, but always keep looking forward to help myself, my students, and my colleagues. In the letter I wrote three goals for myself, my library, and the Massachusetts library community. Even almost 3 years after Project SET, these goals remain the same. I joined Project SET because I wanted to start gaining traction in the Massachusetts library community – to connect with people doing interesting things, so it will open doors in the future to continue to do those interesting things. This is still a major career goal of mine…that and being an academic library director one day. For my library, I want to continue to move us in a “modern” direction, and help communicate that change does not equal difficulties, but rather demonstrates our continued value to the wider institution. The work my cohort did with outreach was particularly beneficial in helping me think of new ways to make my library relevant and attractive to our young generation of students. For the Massachusetts community, I want to give back. I’d love to continue to be a resource for other young academic librarians who sometimes maybe wonder if they weren’t entirely prepared for their jobs.

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