Where Are They Now? Larry Cooperman '02LS

July 16, 2015

Larry Cooperman

Larry recently wrote a book about managing one person libraries. We asked him a few questions!

What was your program at SLIS, and what is your current job title?

I graduated from SLIS in 2002 with a master’s degree in library and information science. I currently work as an adjunct faculty librarian at the University of Central Florida Libraries, as well as a national online adjunct instructor for Rasmussen College, teaching upper-level business research and writing courses and working as a subject matter expert (SME) to revise and create and revise course content for several online courses. I also am a continuing education instructor at Simmons SLIS.

What is a typical day like at your job?

A typical day at my job (or, should I say, my jobs!) consists of many different tasks, which is why I love what I do.  I answer reference questions (both in person and online), conduct research consultations, teach online,  create course content online, and  write (I am planning to write a book dealing with online education). The variety of work allows me to sharpen my skills, learn new ones, and provides for no dull moments in my workday! 

Tell us about your new book. What is it about?

The title of my new book is Managing the One Person Library — it is a handbook for librarians who manage their libraries on their own (or with a very small staff). These librarians can be called solo librarians, and I was a solo librarian for almost ten years. The book covers many aspects of library management, including time management, library marketing, cataloging, collection development, and professional development.  One unique aspect of my book is the inclusion of solo librarian case studies (from my former students in my online course of the same name) on time management, marketing their libraries, and collection development policies, to name a few topics.   

What inspired you to write it?

In 2009, I created a month-long online continuing education course on small library management and have run it regularly ever since. About three years ago, I thought that a written handbook based on  my course would be a useful reference for those students who completed the course, as well as solo librarians who did not (or could not) enroll in the online course. The idea of writing a book has always intrigued me as well; I have written book and Internet reviews for two professional library journals for several years and liked the idea of a challenge to write a book, a project I had wanted to complete for a very long time. I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the outcome of my book; as I said earlier, I am ready to write a second one.  

What was your favorite class that you took at Simmons SLIS?  Why?

My favorite class that I took at SLIS was the Principles of Management course, taught by Professor A.J. Anderson. Not only did I learn a great deal of valuable and useful information about the many aspects of library management, but I also enjoyed every lecture—he was one of the best teachers I have ever encountered.  To me, the best instructors are the ones who can make any subject come alive to the listener, and Professor Anderson was a master at doing so. I like to think that some of his knowledge and teaching skills have rubbed off on me when I began to teach and to write my book!

If you could come back and take one class at SLIS, what would it be?

The one class at SLIS that I regret not taking, due primarily to scheduling conflicts, is collection development. I learned a good deal about this topic on my own and on the job (which, I believe, is the best way to learn any skill), but an introductory class on collection development would have made my life easier!

How did Simmons prepare you for a career?

Simmons helped me prepare for a career by allowing me to enroll in a diverse number of elective courses as part of the generalist degree — this allowed me to explore different areas and to decide which specific areas of librarianship interested me the most. As it turned out, I liked more than one of them, which is why I became a solo librarian! 

Do you have any tips for job hunting?

Be open to moving to different areas of the country, if you can do that. Being flexible with regard to where you want to work is probably the best way to find a library job, as some areas of the country may have more library jobs available than others. It also helps to involve yourself in internships (paid and unpaid—paid is obviously the better of the two!)  which will allow you to learn new skills that you can apply to the workplace outside the classroom.

What advice would you give to current SLIS students?

Learn as much as you can about librarianship—find out what area (or areas) interest you and become knowledgeable in those area (or areas).  And never stop learning—there are many changes occurring in librarianship that require a keen and agile mind to adapt (and to grow) amidst that change in the library world.