29/08/2012 § 25 Comments
As a second-year SLIS student, I’ve talked to quite a few new students in my program who are anxious about securing library jobs. I can understand how they feel; after all, one year ago I was a freshly minted SLIS student. I had never gotten paid to work in a library. I came to library school with the sage advice of my mentor, a very recent library school grad, ringing in my ears. She had conveyed to me in no uncertain terms that I should work as much as I could while going to school to build my resume. Because of her, I came to library school knowing I needed to jump right in—-but that didn’t make the process any easier.
By now I’ve held several jobs and it has led me to realize that my real education happens when I go to work every day. I view my coursework as something to get through; if my classes are enjoyable it’s a plus. I have taken enthralling classes, practical classes, boring classes, and enragingly irrelevant classes. They’ve fallen all over the spectrum. So while I attempt to do well in them, my main priority is working as much as is feasible. I firmly believe that library jobs should always trump coursework because if you do not work, you will not get a job in a library upon graduating. We could squabble about the particulars (maybe you could get a paraprofessional position without experience) but I don’t think it’s contestable. The library job market is intensely competitive and the more library experience you have, the better off you will be.
With that said, the following are a few tips I have for new students looking to work while in library school.
05/07/2012 § 10 Comments
Earlier this summer I attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) in Victoria, British Columbia. While I was there I took an intensive course on GIS and the Humanities. I was a complete novice but I enjoyed the chance to begin developing a brand-new skill set. This course was fresh in my mind as I pondered what to write about for my next HackLibSchool post, and I was reminded of number of job postings I’ve seen over the past year for GIS positions within libraries. Consequently, I’ve decided to explore it a bit as part of our Emerging Careers in Librarianship series. I’m hoping readers can add to my ramblings since I am admittedly nowhere near an expert in this field, just a curious dabbler interested in promoting awareness about this type of librarianship and starting a discussion.
21/05/2012 § 20 Comments
There have been some terrific posts about conferences on HackLibSchool in the past: Chris recently wrote about unconferences and Joanna wrote a post earlier this year encouraging students to attend conferences as a library student. Today I want to take these posts a step further and encourage other future librarians and information professionals to not only attend but also present at conferences while in library school. I concluded my spring semester with a panel presentation at a state conference (Society of Indiana Archivists) and a poster presentation at a national conference (LOEX), where I had such great experiences that I want to encourage other library school students to take the plunge and do the same.
To reiterate some of the reasons Joanna mentioned in her post, attending conferences is a valuable part of your library school years because of the networking opportunities, educational takeaways, and considerably lower student registration costs. When you present at a conference you get all of the same benefits of attending while also gaining valuable experience for your resume/CV. After presenting at a conference, you will have documented evidence of contributing to the profession (a great way to prepare for those job postings that say “demonstrated commitment to professional development” preferred/required!). It also shows that you are comfortable with public speaking, which I guarantee will make you stand out on the job hunt.
There are multiple types of presentations at conferences (poster, panel, and paper) and conference sizes (local, regional, state, and national). They each have their own culture and provide different opportunities for student presenters. Poster presentations are usually the format students are encouraged to take up at larger conferences (a pretty low-pressure introduction to conference participation), whereas smaller conferences will likely accept paper sessions from students and working professionals.
So, why don’t all library school students present at conferences? I’ve determined a few main barriers to conference participation and thought I’d offer up my tips on overcoming them.
16/04/2012 § 11 Comments
Following in the footsteps of previous posts that focus on a specific field of librarianship (such as Annie’s post on art librarianship and Chris’s post on data curation) today I wanted to explore special collections librarianship. I’d like to work with digital projects for special collections or archives after graduating from Indiana University and along the way I’ve picked up a few tips that I thought might be helpful to share with other library students interested in pursuing careers in special collections libraries.
First of all, I should define what I mean by special collection libraries. While special libraries could denote any library beyond academic and public with a specialized focus (such as a corporate or map library), special collections usually refer to repositories containing rare, unique and/or historically significant materials. Many special collections contain archival materials, and in smaller libraries special collections and archives are often merged.
12/03/2012 § 7 Comments
This is the third post of our Declassified Series, in which we focus on exploring the similarities and differences between courses on the same topic that are offered at different schools. Previous posts include Reference and Information Architecture. Below, Brianna and Barbarajean discuss their experiences in Digital Humanities classes.