Alumni Profile: Alonzo Crawford

In February 2019 Alonzo accepted a full-time tenure-track librarian position at the University of Alabama. He was offered this position just six months after graduation.

“Things have progressed much faster than I expected. A large amount of credit goes to the LIS program at UK for helping to prepare me for success!” Alonzo said.

Alonzo answered some questions below about the position, his career path, and advice for recent graduates.

In your current job, what are your duties and responsibilities?

“My current position title is Metadata Librarian. I'm responsible (along with others on the team) for all things metadata for the University Libraries. I help handle the creation and management of metadata for all of our collections and institutional repository. Some of the tools and technologies I use are Voyager, MARCEdit, and DSpace. I have several projects I'm currently working on, but one I would like to share is I have been tasked with revamping how our department provides service to our patrons and users. The primary way of doing that is implementing a help desk style ticketing system to be a central hub for handling all service tasks and requests that are directed to the Metadata department.”

What drew you to your career? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

“I wanted to be a librarian because most of the ethical principles that I already hold as an individual are inherent to the library and information science profession. Concepts like privacy and intellectual freedom are principles that I am passionate about. It is amazing that I get to advocate for these principles and uphold them not only in my personal life but work life as well.”

“As a Metadata Librarian I work with huge amounts of data and with that there is great potential for lots of problems. These could include missing data, inconsistent data, validation issues, and more. I really enjoy identifying both potential and actual problems, and then employing powerful tools and technologies to practically solve these problems.”

What more do you wish to accomplish professionally? 

“As a tenure-track faculty librarian I have to contribute to the profession and field by writing publishable academic research. This is perhaps the biggest adjustment I have had to make in my new job. So, first things first, I want to begin a solid track record of research and publications. Connected to this is I desire to develop some sort of idea, workflow, or technology that revolutionizes the profession. We heard of and read about so many individuals that have become household names in our profession. I'd like to join that crowd so I can say I did something that was momentous for the field.”

Is there any advice you would give a recent grad who is just starting out?

“I'm not sure how it is in other branches of the profession, but when it comes to academic libraries it is almost a 100% guarantee that you will be required to give a public presentation during the interview process. That being said, be sure to brush up on your presentation skills. I cannot stress that enough. A second piece of advice is to apply to any and all positions that you even remotely think you may be qualified for. Honestly, don't worry if you don't meet every single qualification listed. Even if you only meet a few of the qualifications, I would say go ahead and apply. You never know what could happen. You may be pleasantly surprised.”

SIS congratulates Alonzo Crawford on his full-time tenure-track librarian position at the University of Alabama. We wish him continued success in his research and writing on metadata and the library field.