Surviving the All-Day Interview

16/08/2013 § 8 Comments

A sizable number of library students graduated in May or over the summer, and many of us were then faced with the prospect of finding that perfect job. Hack Library School has tackled other sides of this topic before, with Madeline’s post on the quick-turn after graduation, and Joanna’s post on eResumes, among others. I wanted to add my perspective after landing a number of all-day on-campus interviews for other jobs and collecting advice from many friends and colleagues I greatly respect. In true librarian fashion, I’ve synthesized their advice and built my own list:

1. Prepare to repeat yourself!

All-day interviews often run from early in the morning (sometimes even the evening beforehand) until mid-afternoon or later. You’ll meet with committees, colleagues, and constituents throughout the library community, who will often ask you variations on a few core questions, making it difficult to avoid repeating the same information. I’ve found it helpful to write a list of things I wanted to make sure I mentioned throughout the day. Then, as long as you’re covering something from the list, it’s okay to paraphrase things you’ve covered earlier in the day with a different group. More importantly, you won’t leave the interview thinking, “Oh no! I spent six hours and only told them about one facet of my interests!”

2. Research!

We’re librarians. We’ve gone to graduate school to develop excellent research skills, whether to answer tricky reference questions or sleuth out the information needed to catalog that pesky first edition. There is utterly no excuse for ignorance when it comes to the institution where we’re interviewing. « Read the rest of this entry »

[Hack ALA] Hack Library School Events!

25/06/2013 § 1 Comment

ALA Annual is just a few days away, and as we’re all packing and prepping for Chicago, it’s time to start thinking about Hack Library School events! We’re pleased to be hosting two of them:

Conversation Starter: Hacking Transferable Skills!
This conversation starter will be held in room S102-d at the McCormick Place Convention Center, on Sunday, June 30th, at 1:30 pm! We’ll be talking about life AFTER hacking library school. Here’s the session description:

LIS education is designed to prepare students for many things beyond “library work”–how do we turn those skills into useful talents as we enter our chosen profession? This session will bring students and professionals together to get us talking about “big questions.”

HackLibrarySchool is all about self-determination, and we “hack” our programs and approaches to make our degrees exactly what we seek. How can similar attitudes be applied to library work?

Is there a “gap” between perceptions of recent graduates and library veterans? How can we bridge it?

Join the HLS bloggers to answer these questions and more!

The HLS meet-up!

Come join us for our second ALA Annual HLS meet-up! We’ve teamed up with LibraryLab for a get-together at The Green Door ( from 8pm to 10pm on Sunday. Meet like-minded librarians, and chat about the ways you hack your life. This event is informal and should be a blast! Come make some new friends, have a drink, and chat about the conference, librarianship, and general awesomeness. Hope to see you there!

{Too long; Didn’t read}
Conversation Starter: Hacking Transferable Skills
Sunday, June 30th, 1:30-2:15
McCormick Place Convention Center
ALA Scheduler Link:
Meet-up (With Library Lab!):
Sunday, June 30th, 8-10pm
The Green Door Tavern
 678 North Orleans
ALA Scheduler Link:

Hope you’ll consider joining us! See you in Chicago!

Hacking the Elevator Pitch

17/06/2013 § 2 Comments

One of the things I most love about librarianship is the diversity of the field. People choosing library science come from any background you can think of, and once they have the degree their choices are manifold. As an amplifying degree, virtually anyone can find their options and skills expanded by graduate study in librarianship, and can enter and thrive in truly wide-ranging circumstances.

This is awesome. It does, however, create a small problem for new grads: How can we express our skills and interests to employers and networking connections when the field is so broad? How do those of us with a number of interests pick which one to focus on? More pertinently, when a combination of skills is our real strength, how do we explain the whole picture to listeners who may be more accustomed to specialists?

« Read the rest of this entry »

Hack Library School @ ALA ’13!

26/04/2013 § 1 Comment

#HLSConvo '12 (Credit: Steve Teeri)

#HLSConvo ’12 (Credit: Steve Teeri)

Hello, Everybody! Guess what? HLS is super-excited to announce that we’ve been chosen to lead another Conversation Starter at ALA annual! Last year, our #HLSConvo in Anaheim drew a roomful of passionate, engaged librarians and library students together to share information across the pre- and post-graduation lines. This year, we’re focusing on skills: Transferrable skills that will help us as we get our first jobs and throughout our careers.

Conversation Starters are one hour long, and are designed to spark questions and get people talking long after the hour concludes. This year, here’s what we’ll be focusing on:

LIS education is preparing us, or claiming to prepare us, for many, many things beyond “working in a library”–how do we turn those skills into useful talents as we enter our chosen profession? This conversation starter hopes to bring together students and professionals to get them talking in a moderated forum about such questions as:

  • HackLibrarySchool is all about self-determination, “hacking” our programs and approaches to make the degree be exactly what we want it to be. How can we apply the same attitude to our work (especially if we aren’t in positions that support shaking things up)?
  • Is there a “gap” between perceptions of LIS recent graduates and veterans of the profession?
  • How can we bridge it?
  • What concrete actions can we take to make it easier on everyone when new graduates join established institutions?

We’ll be talking on Sunday, June 30th, at 1:30 pm, but there’s no harm in getting the conversation started early! If you’d like to weigh in, let us know in the comments, or on Twitter with the #HLSConvo hashtag. Be on the lookout for our annual Hack ALA series, too! June will be here before we know it.

Hope to see you all in Chicago!

What Should We Be Reading?

17/04/2013 § 8 Comments

As it’s National Library Week, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the things that unite us. Library education is meant to launch all of us into successful careers in the information world, and to provide a foundation upon which we can build.

Certainly, we are not rubber-stamped automata with identical skill sets. Our interests and electives can and do vary a great deal from student to student, from librarian to librarian. Still, something I have noticed in conversations with librarians and library students is a lack of common readings. We do not seem to have a central “canon,” as such, and while our field may be constantly influenced by related disciplines, librarianship has a long history of thought that we could all benefit by reading. Rather than make up an “authoritative list” on my own, though, I wanted to bring in as many perspectives as possible. I hope that this post will prompt a conversation, and later perhaps prompt action as curricula are redesigned throughout the country.

Three nominations, to get you started: « Read the rest of this entry »


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