16/03/2012 § 18 Comments
To follow up on Ashley’s post earlier this week on advice from a hiring manager, I thought I’d share my own perspective. I recently served on a search committee for a tenure-track academic librarian position and reviewed applications for a paid (!) summer archival internship. Nothing I’m going to share in this post is groundbreaking, but I just want to reiterate some key points to keep in mind when sending in applications for jobs and internships.
1. I really appreciate when your file names include your full name and what type of document (resume, cover letter) it is. While a file that’s named after the place you’re applying to is helpful for your own reference, it’s not helpful for mine.
2. This is definitely a personal preference, but I really love when application materials are sent as .pdf files. Never trust Microsoft Word to keep your formatting true. You also take the risk of leaving track changes on (oh, it’s happened — and yes, it looks bad).
3. One way I can tell if you’re detail-oriented is if you actually send in everything that’s asked for. If the job/internship posting asks for your availability, be sure to include it.
1. Tailor your cover letter. Show that you looked at the organization’s website and know something about it, and specify why you want to work there. You will especially stand out if you discuss why you are interested in performing the type of work explicitly listed in the job description. If you talk about how you’d love to learn about digitization when it’s not described in the position description at all, it’s a clear giveaway that you didn’t read it thoroughly — or that you’re just recycling an old cover letter without much editing. Oftentimes, I’ll see a resume that looks good but change my mind after reading the cover letter.
2. Think of your cover letter as exclusive from the resume. Please don’t just repeat what’s on your resume, but really explain why your past experience is relevant to the position.
3. Write clearly in your cover letter. If I need to read a sentence multiple times to understand it, you’ll stand out for the wrong reasons. One sentence does not need to take up five lines.
Of course, most of these are just my personal preferences. Be sure to check out the blog Hiring Librarians, which provides many different perspectives from hiring managers on what they look for in a candidate, and Open Cover Letters, which publishes cover letters from librarians and archivists who got hired.
14/03/2012 § 8 Comments
Last semester I took an Academic Libraries class that required me to interview an academic librarian. I reached out to Courtney Young to help me complete this assignment. Ms. Young is Head Librarian & Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at Penn State Greater Allegheny and serves on the ALA Executive Board.
The goal of the project was to get a real world perspective on some of the special academic library issues we had discussed throughout the semester. While I drafted interview questions to address this objective–I couldn’t help but see the interview as an opportunity. I was pretty confident that my interviewee had a hand in hiring at her library. Getting an interview can be tough, getting feedback from a hiring manager can be even more difficult. Knowing the struggle that many of my peers are facing in the job market, I thought it would be a good idea to ask her what she looks for in a job candidate. Courtney Young had some brilliant and unexpected advice that I hope you can put to use as you look towards the future and begin your job search. « Read the rest of this entry »
13/03/2012 § 8 Comments
This post was collaboratively written by Quasi-Con planners and School of Information Master’s candidates Kelly Davenport, Peter Timmons, Ilana Barnes (ALA chapter president), Kim Miller (vice president), Katy Mahraj (treasurer), Ryan Clement (webmaster), and Mariah Cherem (social media coordinator).
The DIY Library Conference: A Quasi-Guide
It was an experiment.
When Ilana Barnes pitched the idea of a student-led library conference at the University of Michigan School of Information (SI) during her tenure as ALA Chapter president, she chose the following theme: “The Future of Libraries?!”
Ultimately, we didn’t need the question mark. More than 70 students, professionals, and alumni gathered in January for the first Quasi-Con, a hybrid unconference and professional conference. We’re here to tell you how we organized it, and why we think you should plan your own Quasi-Con, in three easy steps.
10/02/2012 § 29 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.
20/12/2011 § 7 Comments
Today’s Guest post comes from Amy Frazier, who just finished her first term with Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management in Portland, Oregon. Before entering library school, Amy studied film in London and taught film making skills to community members here in Portland. You can read more of her writing on her blog: Sidelong Citation and be sure to follow her on twitter: SidelongCite.
I came to library school by way of film and video work. Prior to enrolling at Emporia State University SLIM-Oregon, the main thrust of my career was in documentary film making and education, teaching people how to make their own films and videos. It wasn’t the most obvious path to the stacks, even though to me the progression seemed natural. But it can be a challenge to find ways to make my existing skill set relevant to librarianship, so I spend a lot of time looking at the intersection between moving pictures and the library.
During my first term in library school, I got an opportunity to start digging into this a little bit by way of a class called “Theoretical Foundations of Service.” We got a group assignment to develop an information seeking behavior model related to a specific kind of library — visual libraries in the case of my group, which we narrowed down further to film and video archives and libraries. (There were two ex-film students in the group, which might explain the choice.)
A review of the literature didn’t provide a great deal of information – there were some good pieces about related fields like art libraries, but for moving pictures specifically there was very little. So as a next plan of attack, we decided to go straight to the authorities. We were very graciously granted interviews by two amazing librarians, Liz Coffey of the Harvard Film Archive and Mark Quigley of the UCLA Film and Television Archive . Based on those conversations, we gradually built up a picture of what an effective search would look like.
In a nutshell, it was… complicated. There were a number of factors that, while certainly not exclusive to film and video, represented unusually large obstacles. Collections tend to be quite isolated from each other and inaccessible from the world outside their home institutions; searches require pretty intensive mediation by a librarian who knows their collection well; and even under the best of circumstances, a search for motion picture items can be a long and uncertain endeavor. While the project gave me a new level of respect for the librarians and archivists doing this work, it was eye-opening to see how complex the process can be. Even with some idea of how to go about a search like this effectively, the prospect remains intimidating.
So that was my first brush with film and video in the library. Outside of school I work as a circulation assistant in the library of a large medical school/research hospital, and was lucky enough to be given a role on an existing video project developed by our User Experience librarian. It’s a relatively simple piece, a profile of the staff at our library and their philosophies of service and librarianship, but it’s an opportunity to demonstrate what video can do in the library. Now I’m looking around and seeing potential projects everywhere — some of the article databases are so confusing, what if we put together a video tutorial to help guide patrons through a simple search? We have students and researchers using library resources 24 hours a day, wouldn’t it be great to have that sort of resource available even when there isn’t a reference librarian in the house? Could video make these resources more accessible to that group of patrons that’s reluctant to come in and ask for help? It’s not a replacement for real reference instruction, but I think it could be a great supplement.