02/12/2013 § 9 Comments
It’s hard to believe, but the end of the fall semester is a good time to start thinking about next summer’s professional conferences. Though June, July and August might seem like ages away, many conferences use January as their deadline for submissions from students. So today is as good a time as any to talk about a type of submission that can seem foreign to a lot of library students- the poster session. Let’s dive in!
What is a poster session?
At conferences, poster sessions are an opportunity for students and/or established professionals to present their work in an informal context. It’s a great way to dip your toe into the conference presentation waters. Unlike a traditional session, all of the posters are set up at once, and each presenter is expected to stand with their poster for the entirety of the session (typically an hour or two) to answer questions from passers-by. The advantage of this format is that it can be a lot less intimidating to be a part of than a panel or paper presentation. Also, at most conferences more posters are accepted than papers, especially from students.
Where do I start?
If you keep an eye on your listservs, or check the website of a particular organization you’re interested in, you will notice a lot of calls for posters. Here are a couple of examples- one from ALA and the other from the Society of American Archivists. The timing might vary- you could have six months or six weeks. But you know how these things go- you’re most likely to find out about the deadline a week or so before it’s due. DON’T WORRY. One of the secrets of conference presenting is that you typically only need an abstract of around 250 words at this stage in the game. So now it’s time to set your idea down on paper.
28/11/2013 § 7 Comments
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Alison Peters.
I fully admit it: I was this close to dropping out.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m very happy with the 100% online LIS program at San Jose State University, which allows me to work full time and develop a freelance writing career, all while I’m in school. And the LIS degree is perfect for combining my love of books, public/customer service, and research. But after a semester ‘break’ I needed a jumpstart; something to put me back on a focused path and engage me again.
So when the call went out to join an independent study course devoted to the LIS Publications Wiki, I jumped at it. The wiki is, essentially, a database of LIS-centric publications and everything you ever wanted to know in order to write for them. Designed to be used by LIS professionals and students around the world – it’s a pretty amazing, extremely valuable research effort. Each entry details things like the publication’s submission guidelines, their audience makeup (so you’ll know who you’re tailoring your writing towards), what they’re looking for in submissions, and how to contact editors and send in your query. The goals are to encourage more LIS folks to write, to get published, and to inspire readers by showing how many publications and organizations are out there, just waiting for you. If your focus is metadata and you’re interested in writing a scholarly (i.e., research oriented and peer reviewed) piece for an acclaimed publication that might help you land a job or gain tenure, click on the Scholarly Journals section to narrow your search focus. If your library or school just developed a cool new program, the LIS professional and trade publications or LIS online forums (which is where I came across, and fell in love with, HLS in the first place) would most likely love to share your news with their readers. And if you’re like me and just want to gush over books with other aficionados, search for a Civilian publication like BookRiot, and try your luck.
26/11/2013 § 1 Comment
It’s nearly Thanksgiving in the US, and as we reflect on the things in life for which we’re most thankful, libraries are certainly high on the list. Here on Hack Library School, we’ve had plenty of posts dealing with reasons to get involved with professional organizations and conferences, from opportunities for training to networking and more! Even if you’re not prepared to join a committee, there are often other ways to give back to the profession. One of them in particular needs a signal-boost from the entire library community: The Declaration for the Right to Libraries. Here’s what you need to know:
The cornerstone of ALA president Barbara Stripling’s Libraries Change Lives presidential initiative, The Declaration for the Right to Libraries is “designed to build the public will and sustained support for America’s right to libraries of all types – academic, special, school and public.” Over the next year, libraries, library schools, and community groups are encouraged to hold signing events, which invite community members to publicly, unilaterally declare their right to vibrant, dynamic library access. These events are designed to spark conversation and raise awareness of libraries, as well as to help libraries nurture a network of community advocates. By bringing people into frank conversations on the challenges facing libraries, the declaration will also help to foster a sense of libraries as the hub for community dialogue.
In the spirit of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe that libraries are essential to a democratic society. Every day, in countless communities across our nation and the world, millions of children, students and adults use libraries to learn, grow and achieve their dreams. In addition to a vast array of books, computers and other resources, library users benefit from the expert teaching and guidance of librarians and library staff to help expand their minds and open new worlds. We declare and affirm our right to quality libraries -public, school, academic, and special – and urge you to show your support by signing your name to this Declaration for the Right to Libraries.
It’s your turn! First off, go sign the online declaration at http://www.ilovelibraries.org/declaration/sign . (The numbers will be used for advocacy in the future, so it’s really helpful to sign online!) Then, tell everyone you know to do the same. Work with your local libraries to plan a signing event, join the social media campaign to help spread the word, and go practice your library advocacy skills!
25/11/2013 § 7 Comments
As programmer and tech journalist Ciara Byrne noted in her op-ed “No–You Don’t Need to Learn To Code”, learning to code is not always fun, easy, or even useful for every career path. Nonetheless, programming can develop several soft skills that translate across a broad range of professions. In addition to increasing your digital literacy, learning to code teaches you to solve problems, to seek out collaborative solutions when you are stuck, and (in my experience) to endure lots of frustration for the sake of future rewards.
The benefits of learning to code are especially tangible for information science students. Programming knowledge equips you to customize content management systems, create sophisticated reports in an integrated library system, develop mobile apps, manage databases, implement open source software, navigate user experience design, customize or create a web presence for your institution, and collaborate more effectively with IT professionals.
You may be thinking, “But Sam, I am not a programmer. It just doesn’t come naturally for me.” Well, join the club. My undergraduate degrees are in history and political science! Although I grew up in a very tech-friendly home, I never had any ambition to be a programmer. After I started working in libraries, however, I found that some kind of coding knowledge is necessary for many of the jobs I want to pursue. It hasn’t always been fun and it has rarely been easy, but I have made it a priority to learn these skills. Over time, I have actually learned to enjoy coding.
Here are some guidelines that have helped me endure the tough times:
« Read the rest of this entry »
22/11/2013 § 1 Comment
Readers, we have exciting news! Hack Library School will be featuring a digital humanities-themed week of posts in early January 2014.
We are soliciting content from readers who have ideas they’d like to share. We’re looking for posts on the following themes:
- A basic introduction to DH
- Alt-ac careers for librarians
- Round up of the best DH resources (tools, conferences, etc.)
- Tips for gaining DH skills as a library student
As you can tell, these are pretty basic. While we are trying to pull together content that will be broadly applicable to LIS students, if you have ideas for posts that don’t fit within these descriptions, please share those too!
Contact us with a brief description of your proposed blog post at hacklibschool [at] gmail [dot] com by Friday, December 6 – but the sooner the better, because we’ll be hoping to have a final draft completed by late December. Guest writers should be current students or recent graduates of an LIS program.
22/11/2013 § 16 Comments
My library school experience has, I’m sad to say, handed me a bunch of lemons. There are the professors who aren’t as inspiring as I would prefer (sorry), the journal articles that look like they weren’t proofread, the classes that are scheduled at times that are inconvenient for everyone. Including the instructor.
And then there’s the fact that one of the classes I need for my specialization is offered only in the spring, and this spring it is offered at a time when I cannot take it for religious reasons (probably NSFW), which is the biggest lemon of all.
Meanwhile, I’m paying a not-insignificant amount for my education, so let’s talk about how to turn these lemons into lemonade. « Read the rest of this entry »
20/11/2013 § 10 Comments
Why so serious?
For aspiring librarians, attitude is all-important. Many of us eat up our days doing internships and day jobs, writing papers, presenting at conferences, and networking our hearts out on Twitter. This kind of workload makes us run the risk of stress, frustration, disillusionment—even burnout, especially if we work in high-pressure public service jobs, fret over the dicey job market, or struggle with personal issues. How do we stay in love with the career we chose?
First, try not to agonize. The fate of the world does not rest on your shoulders. You need to work hard and do things you may not always enjoy doing, but you need not keel over from exhaustion every night to succeed professionally.
What do I myself do to hack my library school and job? Answer: I do not take myself seriously. I’m a perfectionist, so I take my work very seriously, but I see no reason to stifle my joie de vivre. And so I sip tea from a Shakespearean insults mug while manning the reference desk. Gotta enjoy the little things.