"My desire to ensure all patrons, no matter what language they speak, have access to information and community resources drove me to pursue a career as a librarian."
Meet Saba Al-Hachami, a second-semester student in the School of Information Science’s Master of Library and Information Science program and librarian at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Q. What inspired you to get into Library and Information Sciences?
A. When I was 17, I got my first part-time job at the Caroline Kennedy Library in Dearborn Heights. Back then, I thought working at a library was just going to be temporary until I graduated college. Though, the need for an Arabic speaking librarian in my community changed that. I was one of the few employees who could speak Arabic, and every day I felt like I was making a difference. I was using my Arabic skills to ensure Arabic speaking patrons had the same access to information as others. My desire to ensure all patrons, no matter what language they speak, have access to information and community resources drove me to pursue a career as a librarian.
Q. What made you decide to attend Wayne State for your masters?
A. I went to Wayne State University for my undergraduate career, so I am very familiar with the programs it offered. Most of the librarians I know received their master’s degrees from Wayne State, so I thought it was a good university to choose. Additionally, the all-online option for the program was a bonus since I can work full time and go to school! The professors in the department are very responsive and easy to work with. They always are there to help you when you need it.
Q. What are your responsibilities at the Arab American National Museum?
A. I am the only staff member working at the AANM library so I basically am in charge of everything library related. It is a small collection, so it is manageable. Responsibilities include processing books, managing patron accounts, hosting programs, and cataloging. One unique responsibility I have is running the Arab American Book Awards.
Q. What have been some of your favorite experiences working at the AANM so far?
A. Definitely managing the book awards has been my favorite experience! The Arab American Book Award is an honor that is given to outstanding books each year that are either written by Arab Americans or about the Arab American experience. This is the only award in the nation that specifically honors Arab American scholars and the Arab American experience. A lot goes into it and it has been a lot of hard work, but seeing it all come together has been very rewarding. Some of my duties include contacting publishers and authors to submit books, seeking out judges, categorizing the entries, and mailing entries out to judges. In the fall I will be organizing a ceremony to honor the winners.
Q. Have any courses or extracurricular activities at SIS assisted you with your work at AANM?
A. Yes, all the courses that I’ve had have helped in one way or another. Funny you ask this because the Introduction to the Information Profession class helped me get the job! For one of my assignments I had to interview a library manager or director. I picked the AANM library and interviewed the director. After I interviewed him, he notified me weeks later about the open librarian position! So, thank you INF 6010!
Q. After you complete the program, where do you see yourself working?
A. I hope to be a librarian at a public library and use my Arabic language skills to make sure Arabic speaking patrons have equal access to information and community resources.