Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Pictured Natalie Holmes
Natalie Holmes, Cataloging Librarian, University of Minnesota Duluth

After graduating from the SLIS program in the spring of 2023, Holmes accepted a position with the University of Minnesota Duluth as a Cataloging Librarian. In her new position, she works with various special collections, government publications, and metadata ensuring everything finds its proper place in the university’s collection.

“I completely fell in love with [cataloging and] its interesting mix of creativity and rules and data entry and personal judgment,” said Holmes. “It was just the right mix of things you have to know and research."

Holmes said initially, she wasn’t interested in cataloging, but was advised to take the class by both classmates and professors. As someone who feels more anxious in public places, Holmes says cataloging soon became her ideal work environment.

“That sort of insight you can’t always get from coursework,” said Holmes. “As someone who deals with a lot of imposter syndrome and anxiety, I think I had a lot of fear about being a reference librarian. It was really nice that there was this other option.”

Holmes shared how most of her professors through the SLIS classes were actively working as librarians or doing research centered on libraries. Throughout her time as a graduate student at the University of Iowa, Homes says her most memorable instructor was Dr. Stephanie Blalock.

“I loved that all her projects were not just simulations of real-world things,” said Holmes. “It’s more like – ‘Hey, I contacted the Iowa Review and they want help streamlining their metadata for their digital archive that they have.’ You get to immediately see the results of the work that you did, which was so professionally rewarding.”

As a cataloging librarian, Holmes says there are many lessons she garnered from the SLIS program that have helped her as a library professional. Her advice for current students is to take a broad range of classes, even if they don’t plan on pursuing those fields specifically.

“I really value that the [SLIS] program has a diverse group of instructors who are very passionate about their field,” said Holmes. “They’re all really great people because they’re making time for you.”

As an alumna now, Holmes is excited to settle into her new role, and continue connecting with librarians across the Midwest.