28/10/2013 § 9 Comments
I started library school fairly confident that I had no interest in working in a library, and I wasn’t the only person in my cohort who felt that way. I chose a program that clearly stated a focus in library and information science, and spent my elective courses looking at data science, information visualization, and social information use, even as my peers were diving into collection development, cataloging, and more “traditional” library skills. My original reasons for entering library school were easy to lose when I was surrounded by so many people who were passionate about the work they wanted to do within libraries. Two years after I entered, I graduated, and started hunting for the library position that would launch my career.
I *loved* graduate school, and thinking about the challenges of the information world. The conversations I had with my fellow students helped me convince myself that libraries were the place to be, and I started to forget that librarians and libraries are likely best represented by a Venn diagram; related, but not always overlapping. « Read the rest of this entry »
29/08/2013 § Leave a Comment
Well, this is it, kids: my time in library school is over, and so too ends my time writing for Hack Library School. This is so long, this is farewell, this is auf wiedersehen and adieu. This is also when I’m supposed to write a nice post summing up my time here, or my time as a library student, or something like that. But I’m finding that a bit difficult, because at least for me the end of library school has segued straight into professional librarianship. So while on the one hand it feels as though everything has changed, it also feels like the road I’m on is the same one I’ve been on since my grad school orientation.
Back in the summer ending my first year in library school, I made a plan to transition to Boston. I had no leads there; I knew precisely one person, who was not a librarian. I was giving up a decent amount of library cred back in Portland in exchange for what I hoped would be a wider array of opportunities, but there was no question it was a gamble. I figured I would find a nice practicum somewhere in Boston, head back east, and somehow that would lead to a job. To my own immense surprise, that’s exactly what happened… I found and landed the practicum, moved back east, and at the very end my practicum– just as things were starting to look a bit dire, as though perhaps I’d made a mistake — I got a job. The day I flew back to Portland for my final capstone presentation, not an hour after my plane had landed, I received the email offering me the position. I can’t begin to express the relief and gratitude I felt that day.
Here’s the thing, though: the job I’m doing is not a job I’d ever have guessed I would do. I’ve always hedged my bets by following the digital librarianship track, but in my heart of hearts I was most interested in how people use technology in the library, and in teaching them how to master all these amazing new tools that technology has given us. Actually getting to do that seemed like a distant dream, though, to be won only through years of part-time and contract gigs, fighting for my chance to teach, or being turned aside and into some other track entirely. Then one day I found a job posting for a Digital Literacy Librarian at a boarding school of all outlandish places, and figured I might as well give it a shot. A week later, I went to interview. A week after that, I got the job offer. This week — only a month after first spotting that ad — I’m on campus for faculty orientation. It has all been startling and thrilling and exhausting, but I have no doubt that this is the next right step on my road.
So here’s my advice to you, as a old hand at library school and a total rookie as a professional librarian:
12/07/2013 § 19 Comments
Do you have an eResume yet?
I think it goes without saying that every day we become more and more digitally driven. Personally, even though I know it is still done, I cannot imagine sending a hard copy of my resume or examples of my work anywhere. I have my emailable versions but, for my professional life, I think a website is the best way to showcase my work and work history.
The eResume can be simple as on online resume or more complicated with pages and/or links of work examples showing your competencies. The latter dives into the ePortfolio territory. As Chris eloquently stated: an ePortfolio is an online showcase and demonstration of your skills and knowledge. Some schools require them and require them to have specific information. For the purposes of this piece I am referring to your online portfolio in a more general sense and to distinguish from a full ePortfolio I’m calling it an eResume. Chis’s reasons for having one and what I outline below can be applied to either/both.
20/02/2013 § 30 Comments
When I tell people what I am doing in Florence, Italy for a year, I am invariably asked one question: “How did you land such a position?!” To which I smile broadly, often chuckle a little and answer simply and honestly: “I applied.” This, my LIS, MLIS and MSIT friends is one of my best hacks for library school and life.
“80% of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen
You have to show up. For most positions and roles that you want to land, that means tossing your hat in the ring with an application.
If you have been following HLS’s new series “So What Do You Do?” you have heard about a number of great internships and programs to round out your LIS education. In none of them (at least so far) does the hacker say: well I was just standing around on a street corner and someone said “come do this thing.” Whether it be getting into library school, volunteering, taking a leadership position in the club which eventually leads to the internship which then leads to a job with your dream organization… all the steps start with some sort of applying yourself — even if it is as simple as showing up.