Pro Bono Librarianing

09/04/2014 § 4 Comments

I’m an attorney, and one of the things that attorneys are encouraged (in some states,required) to do is pro bono work. “Pro bono” means “for good” and is generally representation of a low-income person or a non-profit organization without payment. Libraries are generally a community function and librarians generally serve communities (but see my most recent post, on independent information professionals). There’s less of an opportunity for librarians to do the same sort of “pro bono” work. Volunteering isn’t really the same thing.

But I think, nevertheless, that there are real opportunities for pro bono librarianing. I came to this conclusion while at a conference of the Law Library Association of Maryland about Access to Justice. As an attorney, I had always thought about access to justice as a lawyer thing, not a law librarian thing. It makes sense, though, that librarians would have a role in access in justice.

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Hacking Your Career Plans: Independent Information Professionals

24/03/2014 § 3 Comments

This post came about as a result of combining in my mind the following four things:

  1. A conversation about possible directions of big legal research sites (Lexis and Westlaw, specifically but hypothetically)*, now that there are so many reliable alternatives for finding primary law (statutes, court opinions) at significantly lower cost;
  2. The worn-out trope of the “death of libraries” (to which I’m not linking any items–do we really need to give it any more press?);
  3. Musings on the term “Chief Information Officer” and how it generally has nothing to do with information and everything to do with technology; and
  4. An announcement of a conference of the Association of Independent Information Professionals.

The sum of these parts is brownies. (Yum.)

No, the sum of these parts is the role of the librarian outside the four walls of the library. (And brownies.)

Many of us are going to get our degrees, find a job in a public, academic, or special library of our choice, and live happily ever after. But some of us may not want that. Did you know that you don’t have to want that?

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When Library School Hands You Lemons

22/11/2013 § 17 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 »

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