Esther Bley '19

Esther BleyMy librarian career didn’t start until the beginning of my junior year when I began working at the Brandeis University Library. Being in that environment made me realize I would like to continue this as a profession after graduation. In early 2023, I graduated with my MLS and currently work as a reference librarian.

My other path, founding and developing my Queer Animation database, sprung indirectly from my honors thesis. I love exploring the evolution of media, as it allows one to connect dots on both a mini and macro scale and notice patterns that may otherwise be missed. While at Brandeis, my honors thesis was the most research intensive writing I had ever done and my thesis advisors, Professor King and Professor Tharaud, were incredibly supportive during the process. I am continually thankful towards them both, because even as a Brandeis alumni they have both continued to support my other research endeavors.

Queer Animation follows similar aspects of my honor thesis, where I piece together a queer timeline. The database showcases over 200 films and shorts, sourced from 33 countries and covering a 110-year history. Developing this database required organization and methods I learned during my honors thesis. In particular, my familiarity with using Excel sheets to catalog and maintain other key information.

Start planning your future as early as possible, but be flexible because the path is likely to change. For instance, if you had told freshman me that I would write a 60+ page honors thesis as a senior, I wouldn't have believed you!

Take advantage of Alumni networks and don’t be afraid of cold emails. Yes, while cold emails can be a bit nerve wracking as a concept, think of it this way: if you don’t at least try you won’t know what the outcome will be.

Finally, you may still be looking for the career that’s the right fit, and that’s okay! It’s good to try on different hats to see which one suits your needs the most. Personally, there’s still more I want to achieve with my own work and I’m excited to see how it will evolve and develop in the coming years.