Information and I

05/12/2012 § 14 Comments

“Can I still write for Hack Library School if I am not technically pursuing a degree in LIS anymore?”

I recently posed this question to our crack team of HLS editors. I am not quitting pursuing a Masters… just not an MLIS. An addition in degree offerings in the College of Communication and Information Studies at FSU allowed us to opt to transfer into a new Masters of Information Technology program instead of Masters of Library and Information Studies.

The MLIS versus the MSIT question is a quandary that I didn’t expect to face, yet it is demonstrative of the shift and broadening occurring in the Information Profession. There is so much crossover and combinations under Information. HLS reflects that as well. We have had a plethora of digital-, IT- and IS-based articles of late. One that particularly struck me was Nicole’s piece on CS/MLIS Interaction. Would I truly be of those computer-ish people? Are we — and the degrees we potentially earn — really that different?

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Perceptions of a Very Small Public

22/10/2012 § 15 Comments

I am a librarian who serves a population of 24. Perhaps the count is 32 if one includes faculty and staff of Florida State University International Programs Study Center in Florence, Italy. The library, as the previous Student Supervising Librarian noted last year, is almost as antiquated as the 15th century building that holds it. Nothing gives me more pleasure than unlocking wood medallioned doors with skeleton keys and opening thick shutters to let the sun shine onto parquet floors and the shelves of a 7,000 volume collection.

Library Doors

After Topher’s excellent post on librarian perception I have been thinking more and more of the perception of the library here. The history, with all of it’s frescoed charm, is not enough to protect the library from running into a 21st century identity crisis. I think it is a problem that many libraries, even the most modern of structures and collections, that serve populations thousands of times our size, are also facing:

What is our point and purpose in this digital age?

« Read the rest of this entry »

Hack ALA Annual: Recovery

27/06/2012 § Leave a comment

We are slowly getting reacclimatized to real life after an absolutely fantastic and overwhelming time at ALA Annual over the weekend. We learned, we networked, we were inspired, we picked up tons of great freebies in the exhibit hall, we partied hard and we generally geeked out on all things LIS.

We hope you enjoyed the event — either in reality or virtually — as much as we did. It was an absolute pleasure to meet so many of you in Anaheim.

We are working on various posts to summarize the event and share our experiences, expect those to roll out in the coming weeks. In the meantime you can continue to contribute to the #HLSConvo and of course browse our archive to find applicable content to your current hacking needs.

- Your Friendly LIS Hackers

[Series] Hack ALA: Professional Preparations

12/06/2012 § 19 Comments

Calico cat laying in my briefcase

by Michael Beck under CC license via Flickr.

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.

Business Cards

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.

Update Everything

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…

  • Resume
  • 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. 


Say It With A Smile

01/06/2012 § 6 Comments

banana smile

“smile” by red5standingby under CC licence via flickr

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 »

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