10/07/2013 § 9 Comments
In part, what it means to be a library professional is staying current with developments in the field of librarianship at large and not just focusing on your specific job duties at your institution. While you are in library school, this task is often easier because your classes encourage you to read and research into contemporary issues in the field, but afterwards, many librarians note that their workloads keep them from being able to read news and research as much as they would like. Developing good, efficient practices for staying current on library world news while you have the time, then, especially important.
Winston retrieved the Tulsa World every morning. Photo by S. Carter, 2004.
I’d love to hear from readers about two things:
- What is one source of library news that you check regularly to stay on top of the news (listserv, blog, professional magazine, scholarly journal, podcast, etc.)?
- What is one current library news item that has caught your attention recently?
For myself, I have many library-related rss feeds set up in my Feedly account, and while I often just read the headlines of blog posts, at least I have a sense of what kinds of news items are current. I also recently started using my Twitter account more regularly to follow various librarians who post about library topics. I’ve found that Twitter often has more up-to-date links to news items than blog posts since it takes people a little longer to compose a blog entry with reflections on the news item. For example, ALA’s publication American Libraries has an active Twitter feed of news.
The news story that I am thinking about lately is the announcement last week at the ALA conference from President Barack Obama in which he charged public libraries to provide access to health care information once new laws about mandatory coverage take effect. (My co-conspirator at Information + Publics recently blogged the topic.) I first came across a mention of the story the weekend of the announcement via a Twitter post.
How do you get your news? Reflecting on your own practices in finding news information (or having it find you, in the parlance of Web 2.0) is helpful in clarifying for yourself how you engage with information.
05/06/2013 § 4 Comments
It’s that time again! Summer is here, and we know lots of Hack Library School fans are in the nation’s capitol for work, or internships, or school, or just for the heck of it. So we’ve got a series of meetups planned for everyone to get to know each other. It’s a great chance to network in a casual setting, and get to know parts of this excellent city that you might not see otherwise!
The first two meetups will be:
June 8th, 5:30
We the meet up @ We, the Pizza
305 Pennsylvania Ave SE Washington, DC
(Just up the street from the Library of Congress. Closest Metro is Capitol South, Blue/Orange lines)
June 15th, 7:00
Hack Vampire School (Buffy the vampire slayer Happy Hour) @ The Black Cat
1811 14th St NW, Washington, DC
(Closest Metro is U Street, Green/Yellow lines)
If you can’t make it to these two, there will be more to come, so stay tuned! See you around town!
05/06/2013 § 7 Comments
prax·is \ˈprak-səs\ n. 1. the actual work of a profession (as opposed to the practice of it in training situations) 2. in social work, the concept of reflexive, integrated theory and practice 3. in education, the processes of reflective experiential learning or, following Paulo Freire’s work, the combination of reflection and action in the world that leads to transformations of oppressive conditions
Photograph from Pages and Pictures.
Does a dog need to read a book about being a dog? Does a librarian need to read a book about being a librarian? These questions may seem similar, but I suspect that most people have different answers to them. And yet, much of the conversation about library and information science (LIS) education seems to suggest that librarians do their work best simply through practice rather than reading and learning about librarianship.
More on praxis, Shulamith Firestone, and dogs…
06/05/2013 § 2 Comments
I recently went to my first conference for librarians, the Minnesota Library Association’s annual ARLD Day, and I greatly enjoyed hearing from librarians and interacting with some of my library school peers in that environment. In the keynote presentation, Jenica Rogers provided a wonderful reminder that librarians should stop accepting what people offer as the terms of foundational work relationships (with vendors, legislators, what have you). More importantly, she encouraged librarians to stop thinking of ourselves as helpless against the people we collaborate with in making libraries work. I look forward to attending many more conferences, unconferences, and other gatherings of librarians to learn and partake of the energy that circulates in such spaces and the validation of our shared values.
This conference reminded me of something that I think is crucial to a solid LIS education. As much as we worry over the specific content of an LIS education, librarians-in-training must constantly remember to reach out to people in other fields, whether they are faculty in academic disciplines (for academic librarians), vendors of information materials, information technology specialists in their institution, social services agencies in the community (for public librarians), or teachers in schools (for both school media specialists and public librarians). We must learn how to work with others with different skills and training, and we must learn how to think about our work not just as supplementary to other people’s work but as complementary and mutually beneficial.
28/02/2013 § 7 Comments
As librarians’ roles evolve, project management skills are becoming increasingly significant to potential employers. Library students interested in technical and leadership positions may want to acquire project management experience while still in school. This can be challenging, since the nature of a project manager’s role involves levels of responsibility that may not be given to graduate students.
Some ways to attain this experience may include volunteering on digital projects, involvement with professional organizations, or taking a leadership role in group classwork. Internships and pre-professional jobs may offer access to relevant professional development workshops- I attended a 2-part project management course run by the project management office at my internship site, which gave me a valuable overview of project management concepts and practices.
For a look at one specific LIS student/project manager experience, I sent some interview questions to Chelsea Gunn, who managed a digital library project for a class we both took at Simmons College GSLIS. The class collaborated on a semester-long project and built a digital library showcasing materials from the Simmons Archives. This was a complex undertaking involving multiple working groups of students with overlapping deadlines and dependencies, and Chelsea made sure our deadlines and standards were met.