Start reading job ads now

24/05/2013 § 7 Comments

One piece of advice that multiple people gave me around the time I started library school is: it is never too early to start reading library job ads (especially if you’ve already started library school). Of course the library hiring process is not so lengthy that you need to start actually seeking jobs if you aren’t within a few months of graduation. Rather, looking at job ads is a great way to discover a lot of things about yourself, your library school, your career goals, the job market, and the field that you have entered. While it can sometimes be disheartening (because you’re still far away from graduation) or strangely inspiring (because of the totally amazing opportunities and positions that are waiting for you) or even confusing (why would I need to know how to do that), reading library job ads will almost always prove to be an enlightening and worthwhile use of your time.

Now's the time!

Now’s the time to start looking! Image Source

Here are some of the key reasons you should be reading library job ads now and how you can use them to shape your path:

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Getting Political

13/02/2013 § 9 Comments

I’m always on the lookout for articles, blog posts, and anything else with some variant of “things they don’t teach in library school,” as I’m sure many of you are as well. These things usually fall into two categories: “things they should teach in library school classes, but don’t” and “things you have to learn outside the classroom.” As an LIS student who is trying to make the most out of her education, both inside and outside the classroom, I try to keep an eye out for both.

Thus, when I recently stumbled across an American Libraries Inside Scoop post by Chris Kyauk entitled “They Don’t Teach You Politics in Library School,” it really got me thinking. Should they teach us politics in library school? If so, how? Would that kind of education lend itself to a classroom setting? And aren’t library students and librarians already politically engaged as it is?

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[Series] So What Do You Do? My Practicum Experience at a Small Academic Archive

11/01/2013 § 4 Comments

This post is part of a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which LIS students talk about their experiences as interns. We want to showcase the wide range of things people are doing in the world of library and information science.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Nicole Helregel and I’m in my second year of the MLIS program at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. My undergraduate degree is in American History, from Beloit College (in Wisconsin!). I’m currently a graduate assistant at an academic library, where I mostly work the reference desk, create exhibits, and update web content. On a more personal note, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that delicious soups are good for the soul and perhaps the best way to combat the winter blues.

So what do you do?

This past semester I spent over 100 hours working at the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections (one part of the larger University of Illinois Library system) as part of a practicum experience. Because I’m a townie, I was able to start my practicum during the summer (even though I was technically registered for it in the fall semester) and worked, on average, about six hours a week from August through December. It’s a small unit, with two full time employees and no graduate or student assistants; thus, they were very grateful and receptive when I approached them about a practicum.

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[Series] So What Do You Do? Interning for Government Website Usability

28/12/2012 § 7 Comments

This post is part of a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which LIS students talk about their experiences as interns. We want to showcase the wide range of things people are doing in the world of library and information science.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Steve Ammidown, and I’m a student in the Archives, Records and Information Management specialization at the University of Maryland’s iSchool.  My undergraduate background is in sociology and gender studies; prior to that I spent nine years working in the corporate sector as a paralegal and office administrator.

So what do you do?

I’m just finishing up as a Usability and User Experience intern at the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (and people wonder why acronyms are so popular in the federal government?) here in Washington, D.C.

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Digitizing Our Stories: Why Narrative Matters Most in Libraries

21/12/2012 § 4 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Kelly Minta.

keeponlearning

An employee outreach poster from Los Angeles’ first transportation library, Los Angeles Railway, which is now the Los Angeles’ Metropolitan Transportation Library.

The concept of librarians creating content and using grassroots promotional techniques to present libraries to the public isn’t a new idea, but it is happening in more innovative ways today.   The creation of content, whether on interactive user-generated sites or through articles, charts, images, and other storytelling mediums, is no longer an alternative to conventional means of public outreach and collection development. Rather, it is a necessity as libraries build stronger web presences.  Creating a digital space for people to visit the library is equally as important as creating a physical space for users.

As a graduate student who has studied and interned in public libraries, academic libraries, and archives, I have been able to see firsthand that the creation of content and dissemination of information in all types of library institutions is vital.  Not only are library users educated about the collection of materials, this is also a way to garner attention from those who do not patronize the institution.  The librarians who create this content are tech savvy writers and storytellers who understand the value of imparting narrative into a library or archive’s collection in order to add significance to people’s lives.

The concept of service is one that librarianship is founded on, and it can be very difficult to change the collective mindset of librarians away from conventional reference services to service via original web content.  I recently interned for a public library and was able to see firsthand that the culture of public libraries is often so focused on in-person service that they may fail to see the entire audience of users who are at home on laptops, sitting in classes or meetings with tablets, or out shopping with smartphones.  These are people that the library could be reaching – people who crave data and information that is useful, informative and accessible.  These are people who care about their communities and libraries and, while they might not visit the physical location, still support the library’s mission.  Digital spaces for libraries are more than an online representation of our physical ones – they are another wing of the library, a separate sphere for education and collaboration that draws users into the library via new and usable information.

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