The Elevator Speech

22/09/2011 § 11 Comments

Church Station Street Elevator

From Flickr user brunoboris - used under Creative Commons license.

As soon as you start library school (or maybe before) people will ask you— “Why?” Besides asking why you specifically are going to grad school to get your MLS they will ask questions like: “Why does a librarian need a master’s degree to check out books to people?” or “Why do we even need libraries?”

If you are a first year student or a veteran librarian you better have a good answer at the ready—you are representing libraries and the profession to the “outside” world with your answer. We can echo reasons to employ librarians on this blog all day long— but the people who need to understand the worth of libraries and librarianship don’t read this blog or any library blog and they may not even go to the library.

Step one in changing their mind is to have impactful, well thought out talking points for these situations. Because an “Um….I like books and um….it’s not just the Dewey Decimal System” kind of answer isn’t going to cut it. A great way to be prepared for impromptu conversations about libraries is to develop an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a quick pitch (about as long as an elevator ride) that sums up why a product, service, idea, or institution is worth the listeners time, money or patronage. On The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries blog Kathy Dempsey shared a success story in which a library t-shirt and an elevator speech made a guy rethink his stance on libraries. Dempsey’s experience is a perfect example of why we all need to be prepared to talk up libraries whether it’s at the reference desk, on Twitter, or at the grocery store. « Read the rest of this entry »

Transition: Student to Professional

11/05/2011 § 14 Comments

About a month ago I wrote a post titled: Some thoughts from a #n00brarian. The day that post went live, I was offered the position at my dream job as the Library Director of Muir Library in Winnebago, Minnesota.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t announce it because it had to be approved by the City Council, but that’s neither here nor there anymore.

I have a job and I love it. I’d like to just play with the idea of my transition from student to professional for a few minutes. (Spoiler Alert!! If you’re looking for a post about how easy the transition is, don’t read this one)

LIS Education, Advocacy, and the Future of Librarianship

15/04/2011 § 13 Comments

Note: I posted this a bit ago on my blog, but since it has a lot to do with how we approach LIS education as students and new professionals, I wanted to post it here too!

A lot of discussion has been circulating about the future of librarianship in response to comments made by Jeffrey Trzeciak (of McMaster University) indicating that he wouldn’t hire any more librarians, preferring instead to give certain positions to people in IT or with PhDs. I agree that in many instances you might want to consider candidates from a variety of backgrounds, but to discount librarians (especially coming from the University Librarian himself!) is an indication of how deeply our field is misunderstood. I first read about it through Jenica Rogers’ post, which I think provides a great intro to the subject and some awesome perspective on why we need advocacy as professionals (not just as a profession or as institutions.) My fellow Hack Library School editors, along with Courtney Walters and a few others, began discussing the topic via Twitter (I was at work, so didn’t get to jump in until after the fact!) If you’re interested in seeing the discussion, look for #savelibrarians. In addition, some blog posts have started going up to discuss our future as professionals–a great post in particular is Courtney Walter’s discussion of our identity crisis as librarians/info pros.

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Diversity in LIS – From My Perspective

07/02/2011 § 33 Comments

Dear Reader,

Please take one moment to scroll down the page a little and look at the fancy little avatar photos we have below, exhibiting the contributing writers to this here blog. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Have any first impressions? Thoughts? I know I did. When bringing this group together for purposes of writing about library school and the profession we are about to enter, I approached the bloggers I had been reading, heard about, or came across in my daily interweb scanning life. It wasn’t until all those photos were posted on this page that I saw an issue. 1 white guy and 5 white girls. Two things bothered me about this discovery. First, if this little group of writers is any sort of microcosm of the greater LIS student body and the profession, there is a problem. Second, and this was most embarrassing to me, when scanning my Twitter lists and blogs for confirmation, I found very little evidence of diversity there.

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