12/06/2012 § 17 Comments
Editor’s Note: This follows in a series of posts in our annual Hack ALA Week dedicated to all things conference-y and professional. As students, it’s important to get your feet wet in the LIS professional world early, and as often as your budget allows. While these posts are ALA Annual-themed, much of the advice can be applied to other professional networking situations.
It’s time to get yourself ready to attend ALA or whatever other conference or professional networking event you have on the books for this summer.
Sometimes preparations before the event take as much time and are just as important as attending itself. You can review some of our previous posts about what to wear, attending without attending, and conference planning for some great general tips and information for surviving a conference — and we probably don’t need to tell you to plan your sessions early so you have ample time to research presenters or sessions you definitely want to see.
Conferences are not only about taking in new new information, they are an invaluable networking space. Here are some prepatory hacks with an eye on networking and professional development to get you ready to confidently hit the conference floor.
There was a twitter discussion which thoughtfully included HLS recently about business cards and the result was yes, they are still valuable and desirable to have. You don’t want to be that guy/girl littering every hand with a business card but you do want to have them at the ready. It isn’t too late to get some printed for ALA and they don’t have to be expensive. You can even get blanks at your local office supply store to print at home.
Dave Delaney has some good quick tips for a better biz card; I particularly liked his ideas to have whitespace for the receiver to make their own notes and possibly include a picture. As a student, you probably want to include your institution name, degree sought and expected graduation date. At the least they should look professional and have your current contact information.
Speaking of contact points, have you updated your professional documents and public profiles recently? Hopefully you will be making lots of new contacts and connections and you don’t want to send them to an outdated website with an old resume. Now is the time to polish, proofread (again) and prep your professional accoutrement including your…
- Cover letter
- List of references and recommendation letters
- A drafted follow-up contact email (“Hello XYZ, It was so great to speak with you at ALA…)
- ePortfolio (you do have an eportfolio right?)
- Professional website
- LinkedIn profile
- Twitter Account (including your avatar and bio)
It also might be the time to scrub your Facebook or other social media sites of anything that might raise eyebrows to a potential employer or peer — the former will almost certainly check and it is best to know how you appear to the outside world.
Start the conversation early
Twitter is a powerful tool before and during conferences. Follow #ala12, @alaannual and of course @hacklibschool for all the latest updates (if you don’t have a Twitter account you should strongly consider getting one but you can also access in any web browser). Also, never underestimate a conference buddy! Post in your school’s Facebook group or ListServe, and talk about attending in class to find out who else might be going. You shouldn’t only spend time with those you know but it helps to walk into a room with one familiar face, for information sharing and you can also divide and conquer conflicting sessions.
While you are on LinkedIn updating your profile with your most recent experience, have you joined the ALA group? They sent out some great information this past week specifically for job seekers.Did you know you can get a “Librarian for Hire!” ribbon at the JobLIST Placement Center to put on your badge? And – shout out to Anaheim locals! – there are free resources if you are attending the conference or not. ALA also has its own resource of professional networking hacks for new librarians also for non-attendees and attendees alike. If you are going, make sure to get yourself ready to check out the exhibitors hall and the Networking Uncommons.
Keep calm with your carry on?
Finally, what will you pack and what will you pack it in? While a suit is likely overkill for a conference, you should be thinking about what you plan to wear. Will you depend on the likely conference bag giveaway or do you need to bring/buy a suitable conveyance for your stuff? Will you use a notebook, laptop, iPad, Phone etc for note taking? It is good to start thinking though these logistics so packing is a breeze and you have what you need when you arrive (don’t forget pens!).
Hopefully the hacks herein are good notes and reminders for all of us to get our professional lives in order — you never know who you are going to meet so best always to be prepared! Tune in for the rest of the week as we tackle more on ALA12 and beyond.
Did I miss anything? Something unneeded or unclear? Let us hear about it in the comments!
PS – if you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out our recommended sessions and events for ALA12. Also of important note: You should definitely come by and say hi at the Hacklibschool / Library Boing Boing Meetup on Sunday evening and our Conversation Starter is June 23rd — you can still add your voice/question here even if you wont be attending.
01/06/2012 § 6 Comments
The goal of Hack Library School is to provide the information and resources to get the most of your MLIS and LIS education (though a great deal of our content is accessible and useable to those in any discipline). I find that sometimes we all need the reminder of the most simple of life, work and school hacks — those things that you know but then someone says to you and you think “Oh right!” Or, to put it another way: all we needed to know about earning our MLIS, we might very well have learned in Kindergarten.
My easily-heard-but-sometimes-hard-to-remember-and-practice LIS School Hack is: Be Nice. « Read the rest of this entry »
04/05/2012 § 10 Comments
Do you feel that buzz in the air? Or maybe you can actually feel the vibrations under your skin and drumming in your ears. You might even be thinking “I don’t have time to read Hack Library School right now!” It isn’t just the caffeine you’ve been living on. If you’re like a number of our fellow LIS students, professionals, and hackers what you’re surely feeling right now is STRESS.
Even if you are done with your own finals, if you’re working in a library or around any type of student population, by osmosis you are picking up on the stress hormones of those around you. Patience is hard to come by. Deadlines feel like do-or-die. Your brain feels like it is careening around the blackness on the back of a TRON bike.
Breathe, friend, and let’s talk stress management.
23/03/2012 § 26 Comments
The word “curation” in common usage has lost some its meaning. We think of it more in terms of collector, aggregator or disseminator and not as “caretaker” as is its true definition. We future and current archivists and librarians, are all curators of information. We are shepherds and superintendents of data and particularly in the online space, we should be setting the example for proper care.
Anyone who tweets, facebooks, blogs, links, writes, or shares in the online space is similarly a curator of information. A webpage is just like a piece of paper in a library with all accompanying metadata. The shared hyperlink to that paper is both amazing tool and the source of conscientious curation questions.
The new information economy is not based on amassing huge amounts of data but curating and providing context to important, true, interesting, and/or relevant information. A link deserves to be attributed if shared. No brainer right? This is usually accomplished by linking to the original post or page. Equally important, however, is the source of the material – who or whatever lead to it – similarly deserves credit.
I have been ruminating on this idea of late after reading the Curator’s Code by Maria Popova. You can visit the original Curator’s Code site here and for more mind fodder you can watch, read, read and, for the contrary view, read - links via @brainpicker and Google. Basically, the Code advocates using “via” and “HT” (Hat Tip) with your links to attribute your source if other than the original creator, either a from direct link or a stream-of-finding respectively.
The idea is that just as you attribute an idea you espouse to a person, book or quote, you should also reference from whom – from what curator – you found your item of information (picture, link, article, post etc).
10/02/2012 § 26 Comments
Here we are in the second month of the semester and if you are new to your LIS program, you’re probably just trying to get your feet under you (as I was a year ago). Old hands are re-acclimating to the familiar not-enough-hours-in-the-day feeling and we are all looking at due dates, reading lists and task lists with dread.
For the first time or the 10th, you might be drowning in a sea of acronyms and the thought of adding ALA, MLA, SLA, or AMIA seems like it will shortcircuit your brain. Believe me, though, the effort of finding a good conference and then attending is going to save you tons of time, energy and even money in the long run.
It is worth it to add this to-do to your plate in a place of priority. Hack Library has published some great resources for hacking a conference, particularly the Grandaddy of them all ALA (here, here, here and here). Even if you can’t make it to Anaheim this summer, you ought start planning to attend at least one LIS Conference in the next year. Let me explain through my experience.