Alumni Profile: Deloris Foxworth

How has your career progressed since you graduated from the University of Kentucky?

“I graduated in May 2010 with my MSLS and then, going a little out of order, I started working at the Lexington Theological Seminary as a student worker. My first real break into librarianship came in 2012 when I became the technology manager for the Scott County Public Library in Georgetown, KY. I stayed there for only a couple of years as I was still convinced I wanted to teach full-time. I came to the School of Information Science at UK in 2014 as a full-time lecturer for the ICT undergraduate major. While I loved working with the students I quickly learned I actually don’t like teaching full-time.”

“In 2017 I moved into a full-time advising role for the College of Communication and Information and continue to teach part-time for the ICT undergraduate program. This is a much better mix of duties for me as it still allows time for me to publish and write on topics very near and dear to me: libraries, technology, and careers. I have had 3 book chapters published based on my experiences at the Scott County Public Library and recently released my first book “Landing a Library Job” about opportunities in libraries and library-related fields and how to search and apply for those jobs. There are also sections about interviewing, negotiating job offers, professional development, and much more. You should check it out when you get a chance.”

What made you decide to write your book?

“It was accidental. There was a call out for book proposals on a listserv for the Library and Information Technology Association and I first thought that I didn’t have time. While I was taking classes for a graduate certificate for career services at WKU I decided I thought I could do it if I adapted topics from the program to library science. I then worked out a basic outline and used their book proposal sample and submitted it in early December and heard back right after Christmas. They said they wanted to publish it within a year.”

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

“As an advisor in the College of Communication and Information I work with students in five undergraduate majors (including one in the School of Information Science). I help students plan their class schedules, direct them to campus resources, and occasionally get to help with internship, career, and study abroad planning. I find myself conducting a lot of reference interviews to learn more about the student’s needs/desires so I can connect them to the best resources and provide the best information. I feel advising is very relatable to public services in libraries. If you are struggling to find a library job or are seeking a change you should definitely consider advising for a college or university. Your LIS knowledge and skills are very transferrable. Actually, I even mention advising in my book as a career option for those with library science degrees.”

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

“I ended up in my advising role after trying to find where I belonged after teaching full-time (for the second time) and realizing that teaching full-time is not my calling. While I was teaching full-time in the School of Information Science I learned that engaging the students and providing advice and guidance about their academic and career plans was what I enjoyed more than teaching. That’s when I decided to transition to advising and just teach part-time. That seems to work better for me. As an advisor I get to work with students individually and potentially make a bigger impact.”

What challenges did you face while writing your book?

“My biggest challenge was finding time to write between working and spending time with my family. I also wasn’t sure about writing as a staff member for UK and found out it should be treated as a part time job. However, it actually ended up being more like a full time job since I spent a lot of weekends glued to my laptop writing.”

“I lost some motivation along the way when I submitted my first draft. The editor was concerned because my draft was not specific to libraries. I explained that I started writing about the career side first and would add more library-related details later. The career side was just fresh in my mind from my graduate certificate courses. So I continued writing and when it came time for the second checkpoint the editor loved it.” 

What more do you wish to accomplish professionally?

“Writing my book was very eye-opening for me. It was a much more intensive process than I originally thought. It was very draining but also very rewarding when I finally got to see the completed project. Since its completion though all I can think about is what can I do next. I want to write more. Whether it be a book, a chapter, an article, or even a blog post. I like to write and want to continue doing that as much as possible. Eventually I would like to write children’s books and youth literature. I believe this experience has helped me to be better prepared to do so. 

Since writing likely cannot be my full-time career, I would like to continue working with students as an advisor, but I would prefer to move into a role where I can do more career advising. That, or get a faculty library position in Willy T.” 

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

“My advice for recent graduates is not to discount jobs or industries outside of libraries as you are doing your job search. In my book I introduce readers to traditional library jobs but also suggest looking at library vendors, parent and affiliated organizations, and even other industries like those occupational groups identified by ASIS&T. You have so much potential and opportunity with your education and background. The sky is the limit. If you want to write, then go out on a whim and try it out. The publishers had no reason to pick me over anyone else. I just gave them a topic that no one else had given them.”

“Check out Landing a Library Job for more information about those types of jobs and even where you can apply. I will be hosting a webinar talking more about the book on September 11th.”