After completing her MS/LIS degree, Lauren Camarillo would like to work in an academic library with first-year and/or first-generation students. She recently was selected to participate in the 2019-2021 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Kaleidoscope Diversity Scholars Program, which offers financial support as well as professional development opportunities.
Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?
As a double major in English and Spanish at Texas A&M University, I worked for two and a half years in one of the University's libraries, first as a student worker and later as a student coordinator. During this time, I gained invaluable reference experience and came to the realization that as an academic librarian, I would not only be able to tangibly help people at the reference desk but also to pursue my own interests through research and conference attendance; the balance between the two was really appealing to me. My supervisor was always very supportive of me, especially as I began to explore librarianship as a career—she's still a wonderful mentor to me today. She took the time to demonstrate the impact that librarians can have in students' lives. As I learned more about librarianship, I also became very interested in the role libraries have in providing access to information.
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?
I decided to attend the iSchool at Illinois because it seemed to invest in its students, especially when compared to the other schools that I considered. Not only did the iSchool provide extensive career advising and a wide variety of classes (giving me room to develop my many interests), it also provided the most opportunities to gain hands-on experience as a librarian-in-training, including the many assistantships that are offered.
On campus I am a graduate assistant at the Undergraduate Library and electronic theses and dissertations assistant in the Scholarly Communications and Publishing department in the Main Library. This summer I have an internship in Boston at the Biogen Library and Information Center, a corporate pharmaceutical library, where I am researching how to facilitate text mining as a library service, helping manage library communications on their library blog and social media platform (Yammer), and working with the library to create more educational materials for users.
What particular LIS topics interest you the most?
I'm interested in the role libraries play in providing equitable access to users and how the library can further support first-generation college students.
What do you do in your free time?
If I have free time outside of my jobs and school, I enjoy exploring the community/city wherever I am, primarily by eating at local restaurants. I’m from Dallas, so when I'm home, I love to visit the restaurants in my neighborhood. I also really love to read—mostly fiction, but I'm always willing to try something new. I also enjoy watching TV, and the two shows I love right now are "Jane the Virgin" and "La Casa de Papel."
What career plans or goals do you have?
In the future, I hope to work in an academic library with first-year and/or first-generation students. After I graduate in May 2020, regardless of where I am, I hope that I will always contribute to fostering an inclusive and diverse workspace.