26/08/2013 § 4 Comments
I’m a joiner. There, I said it. Being a part of one organization or another has been as natural as breathing for me since I was a kid. So it was only fitting that I joined the Student Archivists at Maryland (our chapter of the Society of American Archivists) when I arrived at the University of Maryland iSchool. It’s a quick way to meet like-minded people and dive quickly into a field that you’re going to spend a relatively short amount of time studying. I was a little surprised at the low attendance at the meetings though- why should that be? « Read the rest of this entry »
29/05/2013 § 3 Comments
The end of my first year of library school has been a welcome reminder to reflect: to remember that, not so long ago, MARC and FRBR were meaningless acronyms, I had never answered a reference question, and I didn’t even know what half of my course titles meant. I’ve been sorting through notes from classes, panel discussions, and workshops in an attempt to mentally index the year and to check in with myself. In doing so, I have remembered some of the moments in which I felt especially excited about what I was doing and learning—e.g. hand-coding my first website, planning instruction sessions, and talking to librarians about the work they love. Honestly, I had forgotten about quite a few of my favorite moments; losing track of inspiration is quite easy amidst the anxiety and self-doubt that can strike throughout the busyness and unknowns of graduate school. In the face of these worries and doubts, reminding ourselves of what continues to draw us forward on our chosen paths can be incredibly powerful.
Today my library school (and life) ‘hack’ is to keep track of the things that inspire and excite you—things that can then serve as motivation, as a guide when picking classes and developing projects, and even as content for resumes, cover letters, and interviews. I think we learn and work best when we’re excited about what we’re doing. Keeping a finger on the pulse of what poet William Butler Yeats describes as the “rag and bone shop of the heart”—the often disorderly yet foundational deep structure of ourselves—encourages that excitement.
22/05/2013 § 4 Comments
Here at Hack Library School, we are pretty firm believers in the value of attending conferences. We’ve talked about why you should attend conferences, how to hack academic conferences, and presenting at conferences. Now that the academic year has ended for many of us, conferences are a great way to continue our library education during the summer months!
Conferences provide us with opportunities to network with other librarians and information professionals and learn about things that may not be covered in library school classes. As an added bonus, they are usually significantly less expensive for students, so now is a great time to take advantage of them! There are a variety of conferences taking place this summer, ranging from the all-encompassing (ALA Annual) to those that are much more specialized in terms of discipline and geographic location. Here are a few conferences you might want to think about attending this summer: « Read the rest of this entry »
14/01/2013 § 4 Comments
Last week I found myself suddenly teary-eyed during a meeting with a librarian. No, I wasn’t sad or upset. The librarian’s obvious love for his work had just inspired and moved me so much that I couldn’t keep my eyes from filling.
I’m only a little bit embarrassed to admit that this wasn’t the first time I got a little misty about librarianship. There are few things I find more inspiring than talking to people who love what they do, and that goes for librarians especially. Accordingly, incorporating informational interviews into my supply of professional development tools was one the best things I did during my first semester in library school (shout out to Zack Frazier and his tips for the first semester). Talking to librarians about their career paths and current positions has given me opportunities to learn about specific library settings, the skills involved in certain positions, and the challenges and joys of librarianship as a profession. I have also expanded my professional network, gained confidence in my interviewing skills, and boosted my enthusiasm for the future.
The web has lots of resources about informational interviewing. This tutorial from Quintcareers.com and this article from About.com offer guidelines for preparation, active listening, and follow up. Instead of rehashing all of the information found on these and many other sites, I’d like to offer my thoughts on two aspects of informational interviewing that I see as most challenging: working up the courage to ask for an informational interview and figuring out how informational interviews can play a part in job hunting. « Read the rest of this entry »