University of Wisconsin–Madison

Instructor Profile: Anna Simon

Anna Simon

iSchool courses are taught by a mix of faculty, permanent instructors, and working practitioners. Anna Simon, interim head of UW-Madison’s Kohler Art Library, teaches LIS 855 Art Librarianship.

Things clicked for Anna Simon when she discovered art librarianship as a career. She had always loved libraries and museums and had an interest in art – she’d taken art history classes at Portland State University – and when she found this career path, she jumped in. The first step in reaching her goal was to become an art history and library science graduate student at Indiana University-Bloomington (UW-Madison has a similar dual-degree option for art history and library science students).

When Simon interviewed for her current Kohler Art Library position, teaching art librarianship was an appealing part of the job. She enjoys seeing students’ enthusiasm and sharing expertise with them. She also likes “having an opportunity to critically re-engage with essential components of the work, which a day-to-day job doesn’t easily permit.”

After her time as a graduate student and then teaching for the iSchool, she has advice for current students. Find a cohort of other students doing similar work, leave Madison and explore other areas and institutions, engage in professional organizations, and get as much professional experience as possible while in graduate school. “Those positions will be essential when you’re interviewing for first jobs,” Simon said. “Find internships and professional experiences to buttress your UW work. Be intentional about your choices. Take some risks and remember there’s no one path.”