Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Getting to know WHSLA member Dora Davis

This week, we're getting to know WHSLA member Dora Davis, librarian from ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

Q. How did you get started in libraries?  
I worked at a job I did not enjoy and so did my then friend, now husband.  He really wanted to go to pharmacy school and I was undecided.  We both left our jobs and while he was in pharmacy school I met one of his school librarians, who let me shadow her for a day.  At the time I was serving a leave assignment as a substitute teacher while working on getting my Illinois teaching license but her job seemed to combine everything I loved. I jumped in to libraries by getting a job as a page at the local public library.  After my husband graduated from pharmacy school, we moved to Wisconsin. He introduced me to Linda Oddan and Vicki Kuenzi at ProHealth Care and they were my unofficial/official mentors during graduate school.  After graduation I stayed home.  Several years later, Vicki called to tell me they were looking for a pool librarian.  I applied, got the job and then eventually Vicki and I switched places.  She is now the pool librarian and I am the part-time solo librarian at ProHealth Care.

Q. How are you/have you been involved with WHSLA?  Why did you join?
I’ve been involved first as a member, then as the Wisconsin representative to the Midwest Chapter of MLA.  A few years ago I started in the role of Professional Development Coordinator for WHSLA and shortly after was joined by Elizabeth Suelzer of MCW.  We now share the role as Co-Coordinators of Professional Development for WHSLA.  It has been fantastic sharing that role with someone as great as Liz!  Both Vicki and Linda encouraged my involvement in the library associations even while I was in grad school.  I think I tagged along to a meeting once and I remember presenting a poster at a WHSLA/Midwest Chapter Conference during grad school.  Being a solo librarian can be a challenge because you don’t have anyone else that understands your role at your organization. WHSLA and the other organizations have been a lifesaver more than once in my professional life.  It’s great to have the hive mind be able to help you work through issues sometimes.

Q. What are three personal items currently on your desk?
1. Assorted beverages (the library is super dry)
2.  lip balm (see #1)
3.  My fountain pen (no more stolen pens!)

Q. Do you have a professional goal for 2019? What is it?
I’m trying to expand our Cultural Competence book club across our entire organization.  I would love to do a “Big Read” type event with one of our past selections and the entire organization.  I would also like to offer more training/orientation type sessions for our new employees.  I’ve heard the term “hidden gem” in reference to our library more than once and I’d love to change that.

Q. If you could hop on a plane right now, where would you go?
Am I bringing the whole family?  If yes, then  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in California. 

Q. What is your advice to people who want to get into librarianship?
Find any job you can in any library and also find a mentor.  Every librarian that I ever worked with was more than willing to help me into my path but I never would have met them if I hadn’t taken that minimum wage page job in my mid-twenties or volunteered at the hospital library.  Be open to change because nothing ever stays the same in this world.  The more adaptable you are the easier those changes will be for you.  Also, don’t disregard any of your past experience even if it has nothing to do with libraries.  My business and management background has helped me tremendously in my solo-role. You say you were a barista? Great! Break out the espresso machine and make some drinks for your library open house, people will come for the drinks and stay for the library.  You can turn any past experience into something useful for the library!

Q. What do you do for fun outside of work?
I have three boys ranging in age from 1-8 so most of my fun revolves around them!  I enjoy being in the kitchen with my kids, my goal is to send them off into the world knowing how to feed themselves things other than microwave meals. Even the youngest gets to knead dough with me, but don’t worry I never bake the chunk he gets!  I used to knit for fun but my knitting needles became wands so I don’t do that anymore! I have a thirty minute commute to work so I listening to audiobooks has become my new thing. 

Q. What book(s) are you currently reading?
I deliberately avoided JK Rowling's books for years because I knew I would get sucked in!  I’m so excited to be reading them now with my boys; we’re currently finishing up Goblet of Fire.  I am also re-reading Kitty Foyle by Christopher Morley.  I read it a long time ago and treated myself to a copy I found online.  

Thanks for participating, Dora!

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