Jhani Miller (MS '15), assistant branch manager for the Brooklyn Public Library, is an aerial artist who has competed nationally, performed off-Broadway, and taught the first-ever public library pole dance class in the U.S.
Where do you work and what is your role?
I am an assistant branch manager for the Brooklyn (NY) Public Library in New York City.
What do you like best about your job?
Oprah says, "Luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn't been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been 'lucky.'" What I like best about my job is that I have a job at all. This year is scary, but last year was scary too. My heart goes out to anyone who has for the first time worried about financial stability, housing insecurity, or sudden health concerns.
What do you see as the most important impact of your work?
Choosing to be present is the most important impact of my work. I choose to be in the branch every day, even when I would sometimes rather be curled in a ball next to my color changing diffuser. You just never know when that one in real life interaction will improve the life of someone else in the smallest way. It makes the occasional discomfort worth it, even during a pandemic or global unrest.
How did the iSchool at Illinois help you get to where you are today?
I prefer to think of my relationship with the iSchool as mutually beneficial, otherwise I would be perpetually locked in a state of insurmountable humility or tormented by unworthiness of any accolades. It is nice to brag about being an alumni board executive director for the NUMBER ONE library and information science program in the nation, and being a Spectrum Scholar is the coolest thing I've ever done.
What advice would you like to share with iSchool students?
Regularly "shoot your shot," don't take rejection personally to the point of debilitation, and be on the right side of history more times than not.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Outside of the library, I am an aerial researcher and artist. I've competed nationally, performed off-Broadway, taught the first-ever public library pole dance class in the U.S., and have even written about my dance heroes for over a decade. I'm fortunate to be able to integrate my movement passion into library programming, and I hope to be lucky enough to continue to do so for many more years.