Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Meggan Houlihan

6.2.16 –  Here is news about one of the panelists participating in the upcoming Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

MegganMeggan Houlihan is the First-Year Experience and Instruction Librarian at New York University in Abu Dhabi.  In this role Meggan collaborates with the Office of First-Year Students, Writing Program, and Writing Center to equip freshman with basic information literacy skills.  She is a former Coordinator of Instruction at The American University of Cairo, where she handled instructional activity, assessment, and outreach. She is currently serving on the Information Literacy Network of the Gulf’s Steering and Professional Development Committee, LIRT Conference Planning Committee, and IRRT Conference Planning Committee. She is the former Coordinator of Professional Development for the American International Consortium of Academic Libraries. She is a graduate of Indiana University (MLS), the University of Reading, UK (MA Modern History), and Eastern Illinois University (BA History).Her research interests include information literacy in the Middle East, library outreach, and student learning.

Meggan enjoys running, yoga, reading, and traveling. At the time of publication, she has explored thirty-five countries. Only 161 more countries to go!

Impressions of her first year…
My first year in Cairo was wild!  When I landed at the Cairo International Airport, there was a porter with a sign for “Mr. Meggan Houlihan.”  I think that sign set the tone for my four years in Cairo–so many random unexplainable things happened, but I put a smile on my face and kept moving forward.  I learned to adjust, haggle, and navigate the maze commonly know as Cairo.  I immersed myself in the culture and the city. Then the Egyptian Revolution happened and things went from crazy to insane. It was incredible. Overall, my first year in Cairo was one of the most memorable years of my life, and Cairo will always feel like home to me.
How she found her first international position…
I found my first international job on ALAjoblist.  Most Western-style institutions will advertise on ALAjoblist or the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Why she wanted to work overseas…
I’ve been consumed by wanderlust since I was sixteen. After studying abroad in Wales and attending graduate school in England, I knew I wanted to get back out into the world. AUC gave me that opportunity.
Advice for others who would like to do it…
When I received my initial offer from AUC, I contacted my library school mentor to discuss the details of my contract.  My offer was lower than expected. (What?! I was under the impression that international librarians made a lot of money. I thought I would be able to tell Sallie Mae to get lost and spend my time eating cheese in exotic locations. It turns out this is not the case.) I was bummed. We discussed everything in detail, and then she finally asked, “What does your heart of hearts say?”  My heart of hearts said go to Cairo. Live. Travel. Eat (cheap) cheese in exotic locations. So that’s what I did.
My advice? Follow your heart of hearts…

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