Obama Got His First Job Through the NYPL

Paul Holdengraber finished his keynote interview with a wonderful story illustrating the importance of librarians.  It seems that when Barack Obama was looking for his first job, he visited the Mid-Manhattan Library, and a librarian there gave him a directory of organizations in Chicago, and one of them hired him.  Paul read this quotation from the New York Daily News issue of November 9, 2008 (you can read it on the I Love Libraries website:

“I got my job through … the New York Public Library.

That might well be the slogan of an ad campaign suited to an era when
unemployment is rising and the U.S. is shedding hundreds of thousands of
jobs a month.

As a reminder that local libraries offer extensive job-search resources,
here’s how Barack Obama found his community organizing job in Chicago after
he graduated from Columbia University.

In 2005, he told American Libraries magazine:

‘People always mention libraries in terms of just being sources for reading
material or research. But I probably would not be in Chicago were it not
for the Manhattan public library, because I was looking for an organizing
job and was having great trouble finding a job as a community organizer in
New York.

‘The Mid-Manhattan Library had these books of lists of organizations, and
the librarian helped me find these lists of organizations, and I wrote to
every organization. One of them wound up being an organization in Chicago
that I got a job with.’

The help is still there, and in even greater sophistication. Check it out.”

 

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and CIL 2009 Blog Coordinator

3 Responses to “Obama Got His First Job Through the NYPL”

  1. ITI Bloggers April 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    The 2005 date is when the article in American Libraries was published, not when Obama went to the library. I have revised the post and have also added the source of the quotation that Paul read at the conclusion of his interview.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    Don Hawkins

  2. Dulce April 3, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    I would like to pass the article to others but I would like to be sure that the year was right. 2005?

  3. A. Nonny Moose April 2, 2009 at 5:57 am #

    “It seems that in 2005, Barack Obama visited the Mid-Manhattan Library, and a librarian there gave him a directory of organizations in Chicago, and one of them hired him.”

    During the presidential election campaign, some critics expressed concern that Obama was still wet behind the ears. No wonder — if his first job was in 2005!