13 Questions With: Aimee Babcock-Ellis
August 6, 2014
Program Specialist, U.S. National Institutes of Health
A hero who has inspired you in your career?
I’ve had a lot of heroes related to my career. My dad took me to the library almost every week and encouraged me to talk to the librarians there. Dr. Trudi Bellardo Hahn inspired me while at the University of Maryland. Nancy Faget and Naomi House inspire me to provide outreach about the field. Mark Puente of ARL inspires me with his contributions to diversifying the profession. Jessica N. Hernandez continues to inspire me with the awesome work she is doing at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
The first job you ever held and at what age?
I started babysitting while in high school. I also was a cashier at a discount store. This made me appreciate the service workers in the world.
Your first position in the library and/or information services field?
My first position was as a Information Assistant at the reference desk at my undergraduate college, SUNY New Paltz in the Sojourner Truth Library. The librarians there shaped my career by imparting their experience and advice. I became a communications major after seeing how important communication was with our users to understand their needs.
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
My librarian action figure and my Hello Kitty librarian toy. It’s really Hello Kitty with glasses and she is holding a book.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I recently got into romance novels. My fiancé questions the different covers of these books that I bring home from the library, so I try to stick to ebook version I can read on my kindle.
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
Get as much experience as you are able as both a student and as a professional, including with professional associations, jobs, attending different conferences and meetings, and further education or training. This will help you figure out what you like and don’t like and try working in different settings with various people, and you will expand your network by meeting new people. Librarians are by nature, information sharers. If you’re stumped by something at work you reach out to your network for help and it is through your network that you could find your next job.
I would also say to apply to funding opportunities, especially for conferences. If you are interested in attending an event, offer to volunteer in exchange for free admission or ask for a student rate if one is not listed.
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
I am pretty good at memorizing numbers and dates, including phones numbers.
Proudest moment in your professional life?
Receiving the American Library Association Spectrum Scholarship in 2007. This was when I was first starting graduate school and opened me up to a whole new world and network.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?
I would want to read on the couch and outside as well as watch some Korean dramas so I can practice my listening skills. My birth-family is coming to my wedding later this year and I have forgotten so much Korean! I only studied it for one semester. I’d also love to catch up with friends.
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
I’d be a career counseling or academic advisor. I love helping people.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
…know something about everyone in our class of 250 students. I like meeting people.
How do you stay current in your field?
I mostly read articles people post on social media and by connecting with other professionals in person. I attending training, conferences, and professional events as I am able. I am a member of several Toastmasters International clubs so I learn about new things and resources at every meeting! Through Toastmasters I also learn about how to be a better leader and effective communicator.
What would you like your headstone to read?
I guess it’s time to check out.