16/10/2013 § 14 Comments
“Job search prep” has been on my To Do list since mid-summer. I’m an aspiring academic librarian graduating in May and I know that the job hunt can be a very long and involved process. I’ve been updating my resume and keeping track of job ads that interest me in an attempt to prepare ahead of time. But now as fall whips by, “prep” is looking more and more like actual searching. I have Rafiki’s words from The Lion King echoing in my head as motivation: “It is time!”
There are so many resources available for job-seekers and, as with most things on the web, the volume can be pretty overwhelming. My aim here is to round up some of the tools and resources I’m utilizing so far, and to open the floor for more tips and sharing.
1. An RSS Reader. I did not fully appreciated the power of an RSS reader until I began to look at job adds. Essentially, RSS (rich site summary) readers allow you to aggregate “feeds” of content from various websites. So, instead of obsessively checking every site that posts jobs, you can check your RSS reader for new content in one place. I’m currently using Digg, which a friend recommended to me, and I think it’s clean and easy to use. There are, of course, lots of other options out there.
This page has information on library job sites. Try your regional ALA chapter and library school sites as well. Unfortunately, not every job site offers their content as an RSS feed, but it’s a great place to start.
14/10/2013 § 20 Comments
I confused some people when I said that I was going to library school, but that I wanted to be an archivist. I developed my passion for archives when I was an undergrad, and that was the specialization I was going to the pursue in library school. I’ll just come right out and say it- I had no interest in becoming a librarian. Man, that feels good to get off my chest.
This doesn’t mean that I’m entirely devoid of librarian skills. Maryland requires 12 credits of core classes (out of 36 total) for all MLS students, so there are plenty of opportunities to intermingle. It’s been fascinating to learn about the different approaches librarians and archivists take to similar issues such as long-term preservation, or the differences in user interactions.
After those 12 credits, though, it’s harder to get that useful cross-specialization interaction. Many of the specializations at Maryland are adding more required courses, and becoming more strictly prescribed. Online cohorts in the general and e-government tracks, as well as the school library track and the archives/digital curation double specialization, are completely or almost completely set programs, with no chance for electives. And there are signs that the other specializations will follow suit. There are fewer and fewer opportunities to take classes with students from other cohorts as you go through the program.
“That’s excellent,” I hear you say. “Having a plan ahead of time takes the stress out of course selection, and you know from day one the sort of topics you’ll be covering. I love it.”
Whoa, Skippy. Let’s stop and think about this for a second. An entirely structured graduate program might be great in a STEM field- a you must learn X, Y, Z in that order kind of thing. But an MLS degree is much more fluid. What happens when you get into the workplace and have to work with say, an archivist, but you can’t understand why they’re more concerned about temperature controls than the serials budget? The ability to work across fields is vital, but gets lost when the student doesn’t get the chance to choose to break down those barriers. Or on a more practical level, what happens when you decide to change specializations- say when you decide you don’t want to be a school librarian anymore and want to pursue the e-government track? Are you willing to start from scratch because you haven’t taken the courses in the prescribed order?
11/10/2013 § 15 Comments
I recently received an email via my library school’s student listserv explaining that our university Provost has asked the library school and the College of Media to explore “integrating their two units.” It is very early in the exploratory process, and certainly not a sure thing yet, but it got me thinking about the possibilities. I don’t know much about the merger idea, but it seemed OK to me: easier access to more classes and professors, additional networking contacts, and perhaps a stronger focus on writing/communication for library students? What’s not to like?
However, it seems my opinion is not shared by everyone. Another library student/employee responded (to everyone): “It will be a horrible disaster for all new graduates who want jobs and will definitely destroy GSLIS itself.” After some brief online searching I found an article in the local newspaper from a few years ago when the exact same merge was proposed. In it, our former dean explained that his main reason for opposing the merge was the possibility of our rankings “plummeting”: “The decision on our side was really about, ‘How would a different structure likely affect our competitiveness?’ It wasn’t a rejection of Media.”
08/10/2013 § 5 Comments
We are super excited to share the newest Hack Library School writers. It was challenging to choose from a very talented pool of applicants, but ultimately these eleven stood out. Please join us in welcoming them!
Aidy began a love affair with libraries as a volunteer in her local library’s Teen Library Corps organization. She donned a prom dress as part of an after-school library fashion show, walked down the runway and never looked back. Since that point she believed that working in libraries would be a really cool and fancy gig.
In 2004, she began work in public libraries as a Community Relations Aide for the Orange County Library System. Since then, she continued to play dress up most notably as a monkey (Curious George), a mouse (Lily’s Purple Purse), and a doll (Raggedy Anne) to assist in children’s programs. She also held positions in the Reference & Circulation Departments. Most recently, she transitioned from public libraries & prom dresses to corporate libraries and slacks and now works for the Library Services Department at Orlando Health.
Aidy holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida and is a graduate student completing an MSLIS degree from Florida State University (Go Noles!) through their distance learning program. She anticipates to graduate in the Fall of 2014.
Her current professional interests include: the evolving role of health librarianship, healthcare law (e-govt) and libraries, consumer health resources, and promoting more women leadership roles within libraries. She is the mother of one enthusiastic seven-year-old girl who is a master with the XBOX360. She does not currently own a cat, but rather an extensive cardigan collection and in case you’re wondering, she did not keep the prom dress (it was a loan). Though she wished to have kept the monkey suit.
Alan is a second-year master’s student, specializing in Archives, Records and Information Management at the University of Maryland. His research interests include American music, digital music distribution models, and copyleft. He is currently engaged in a practicum in Special Collections at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, at Maryland. Having graduated from Goucher College in 2002 with a BA in Music, Alan has been a mainstay in the Baltimore creative music scene for the past 10 years. He works for the dance departments at Goucher College and the Community College of Baltimore County, co-leads the dixieland/old-timey ensemble “Sac Au Lait”, and continues to freelance on drums and percussion. The rest of his free time is spent maintaining and growing his personal collection of over 2500 unpublished recordings. You can read more about Alan here(alanmunshower.com).
Amanda Davis is a second-year MLIS student in the Valdosta State University distance program. She is specializing in technology and hopes to graduate in December 2014. After experiencing a yearlong adventure as a GED teacher, she came to work as a reference assistant for the Chattahoochee Valley Library System in Columbus, Georgia. She is a 2012 ALA Spectrum Scholar, and her library interests include reference services, digital storytelling, transliteracy, and e-government accessibility. She is also quite fond of Goodreads, good reads, Miles Davis, and sandwiches. Follow her on Twitter @iamandahope.
Anna-Sophia is an MLIS student at the University of Pittsburgh’s iSchool specializing in Archives and Information Science. Her prior misadventures include an MA in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and experience in various museum and library departments, volunteer management, supporting faculty and independent scholars, and making shave ice in the park. She is currently a 2013-2014 HASTAC scholar, the student groups liaison for ArLiSNAP, and an intern at the Frick Fine Arts Library. She also tweets excessively @aszingarelli and dotes on her elderly cocker spaniel.
Casey earned her bachelor’s degree in Media and Cinema Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and chose to continue her education at UIUC to earn a Master of Library and Information Science degree with a Community Informatics specialization. Currently Casey works as the Patron Services graduate assistant in Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and volunteers in the teen makerspace at Urbana Free Library. Her main interests involve youth services, community engagement and technology and she is planning to harness these interests into a life-long career in public libraries. Find her on Twitter @CayMcCoy.
Courtney is working on her MLIS from Valdosta State University and is excited to enter the wonderful field of librarianship. She has undergraduate degrees in Classical Archaeology and Latin and primarily focused on ancient Greek and Roman art. While in school, she worked in the editorial office of the American Journal of Archaeology for several years. She also excavated in Italy with the Gabii Project and especially enjoying cleaning and cataloging the finds.
After a brief stint on the PhD track in Classical Archaeology, she decided to pursue another career and found librarianship to be a perfect match. She is interested in the academic and research aspects of librarianship as well as cataloging and archives. In addition to the MLIS, she hopes to obtain a MA in Art History and would love to eventually work as an art librarian or museum collections manager. She serves as a docent at the Georgia Museum of Art and loves educating visitors about art and museums.
She currently works with graduate students at an art school but has various library volunteer gigs, including serving as the Head Editor for Georgia at INALJ, assisting the art bibliographer with assessing the Asian art collection, and working virtual reference shifts. She is excited to attend her first state library conference in October and is presenting a poster at the ARLIS/SE conference in New Orleans in November.
In her spare time, she enjoys visiting museums and curling up with a good book and her husband, greyhound, and three cats. She blogs at Future Art Librarian and can be found on Twitter @futartlibrarian.
Kara is a new MLS student in the online cohort at the University of Maryland, College Park, and plans to finish her degree in the summer of 2015. She balances classes with her job at the Association of Public Health Laboratories in Silver Spring, MD, where she supports the Public Health Preparedness and Response Team (and writes the occasional post for APHL’s blog). Kara lives in Baltimore with her partner and their cat (the cat likes him better).
Kara earned a BA in Political Science from Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, VT in 2009. Her interest in libraries and literacy was sparked while working at a federally funded healthcare clinic and seeing firsthand how a lack of information access was negatively affecting the clinic’s most vulnerable patients. When she finishes her degree, she’s hoping to work in a public library. Professionally, Kara is really interested in information/media literacy, non-traditional libraries, increasing information access, and public libraries as community organizers. She is hoping that joining the HackLibrarySchool team will give her a valid excuse to be super-nosey in pursuit of these interests.
Kara is originally from Maine, although she hasn’t lived there since leaving for college in 2005. She loves living in Baltimore and plans to stay for a while, but she spends a lot of her time plotting ways to get back to New England for extended visits. Non-professionally, Kara likes all kinds of outdoor activities, concerts, science-fiction, travel, and beer-making. Her professional website is karamackeil.com, although she hasn’t had a chance to update it in over a month and is mostly just hanging onto the domain name.
By night, Lesley is a part-time MLS student at the North Carolina Central University School of Library and Information Sciences in Durham, NC, where she is president of the ALA Student Chapter. By day, she works full-time as the supervisor of Receipts Management Section in Cataloging & Metadata Services at Duke University Libraries. Her professional interests include academic libraries, the library as place and community, nontraditional students, information literacy, and how libraries and librarians use social media. Lesley was an ALA Student-to-Staff Program volunteer at ALA Annual 2012 in Anaheim, where she enjoyed working with ALCTS. In her free time, she enjoys reading, blogging, travel, digital photography, genealogy, and geocaching.
Michael is a first-year MLIS student at Florida State University’s iSchool. He works at the Collier County Public Library and at the Hodges University Library, does freelance research and editing, and aspires to become an academic reference and instruction librarian. Michael graduated summa cum laude from Florida Gulf Coast University with a dual B.A. in English and history. When not charming the public or kayaking the seas off southwest Florida, he blogs on librarianship and classic literature at Shelver’s Cove and keeps up with the LIS world on Twitter @topshelver. He is a proud bearded librarian and professional all-rounder.
Becky is a second year student in the LIS program at Catholic University of America, specializing in law librarianship. She anticipates graduating in the summer of 2014. While not in school, Becky is an attorney for the D.C. Council. She has worked for the D.C. government in various capacities for almost seven years and has found herself, much to her surprise, to be somewhat of an expert regarding the District government’s information resources. Becky is a lover of all things grammar, a fierce advocate for the Oxford comma, and a consumer of vast quantities of caffeine. You can read her unfiltered thoughts on Twitter at @dcdotnerd.
Samantha is a first year grad student working towards an MSLIS with concentrations in digital libraries and archives at Drexel University. She currently works for the University of Texas at Tyler as the archives assistant. After graduating in December 2014, Samantha plans to pursue a career in humanitarian or performing arts archives. Her interests include digital preservation, open access to information, digital literacy, human rights advocacy, and advancing the participation of women in STEM careers. Follow her on Twitter @sam_winn.
23/09/2013 § 6 Comments
If you’re considering library school, if you’ve been accepted, and especially if you’re already there, I would strongly recommend getting hands-on experience as soon as possible. An internship or even just a bit of volunteering will help you to build a foundation of knowledge and skills as you pursue your degree. Other hackers have written on finding opportunities and making the most of them, but I’d like to address some key benefits of getting pre-library school experience in the first place:
Identifying Interests and Goals
Before starting library school I had never been paid to work in a library. However, I had spent considerable time interning and volunteering in them and had been an enthusiastic patron for as long as I could remember. During college, I spent two summers in a small academic library and one semester in my college archives, building an understanding of various kinds of library work. In addition to providing me with a basic ’how things work’ familiarity with many areas of academic libraries, my internships helped me to identify some of my interests and strengths, and to identify areas of librarianship I wanted to explore further. For example, after spending a lot of time by myself with boxes and files of papers in one internship, I decided that it would be important for me to pursue positions with more collaboration and patron interaction in the future. Figuring out what you don’t enjoy can be just as useful as discovering what you do.
18/09/2013 § 2 Comments
When evaluating which courses to take, students often start with the list of undeniably library-specific courses: reference, cataloging, archives, etc. But as the profession continues to evolve it has become more and more interdisciplinary. Library students today take end up taking everything from web programming to marketing, from database design to educational/instructional theory.
The question I’ve been trying to tease out lately is: is it more effective to take library-ified versions of these courses within our library schools or to take them in their true departments? For instance: will you learn more from a marketing class that is taught by a library school faculty member and focuses specifically on library issues? Or would it be more broadening and beneficial to take a marketing class in the business college?
17/09/2013 § 1 Comment
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Natasha S. Chowdory
Hi! I’m Natasha. At the moment I’m working as an assistant librarian in a small technical library in the UK. I’ve been in the role for a little over a year and loved it so much that I decided to become a librarian. Today I wanted to share information about what it’s like to be a library student in the UK.
First and foremost, in order to become a librarian or rather ‘information management professional’ in the UK you have to make sure that you choose a course that has been accredited by CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). CILIP has branches for each region of England as well as hosting conferences and serving as a platform for new ideas related to information management (the most current being the issues surrounding metadata and the crisis of libraries closing across the UK). If your course is accredited by CILIP you increase your employability – not just in the UK but also all over the world. So that’s step 1. They have reduced membership rates for students which include incredible benefits – magazines, job notifications, etc.