Your Very First Library Student Business Cards

26/07/2013 § 9 Comments

At the beginning of this summer I was faced with a pretty lengthy list of long-range-to-do’s, one of which was “business cards(?)” (yes, I put question marks on my to-do lists…). After seeing business cards encouraged in many Hack Library School posts, and after realizing I’d probably want some for ALA, I decided it was time. But then I was faced with a myriad of options, questions, and debates. What should I include? Should I put my phone number or just my email? Should I mention that I’m still a student or just put something dorky like “aspiring information professional?” Here are some of the many factors that I considered; hopefully they’ll give you all some things to think about as you craft your own business cards.

If you’re not afraid to get a little cutesy, might I suggest these lovely library-card-inspired business cards by Tower of Babel.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Social Media

12/11/2012 § 16 Comments

I’d like to start my tenure here at Hack Library School with a dose of brutal honesty: I’m not a huge fan of people.

Ok, to be fair, it’s not that I don’t LIKE people.  It’s just that, as an introvert, I find them exhausting, and the prospect of seemingly endless conversations with strangers gives me serious anxiety.

As a grad student who would, one day, like to find a full-time, paying job, I realize the importance of networking.  I know that going to conferences and seeking out new connections in the library field is an excellent way to learn new things and perhaps even procure gainful employment.  I also know that I rarely have the desire to walk up to strangers, awkwardly introduce myself, and attempt to make library-related small talk.  So what’s a library student to do?

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Pinning for the Patrons

30/07/2012 § 5 Comments

Photo by Jude Doyland

A few months ago a co-worker introduced me to Pinterest with the disclaimer that I would waste massive amounts of time on the platform once engaged. And they were right. I’ve spent a great deal of time collecting recipes I’ll never cook, outfits I’ll never buy and ideas to repurpose an old door that I don’t have. While some may see it as a waste of time, I enjoy the time I spend on Pinterest and it has prepared me for one of my new library job tasks: managing my library’s presence on the site. Admittedly, I’m still perfecting our approach, but I do have some tips that I’d like to share. (Check out this Pinterest 101 if you need help with some of the jargon below). « Read the rest of this entry »

Is LinkedIn worth the effort?

04/04/2012 § 18 Comments

A classmate from my Transformative Learning and Technology Literacies class at San Jose State University sent me a LinkedIn connection request about a month ago prompting a total revamp of my oft-neglected and unfinished LinkedIn profile.  I realized that my profile needed to be presentable if my classmates were going to be looking at it, and also because, oh right, I’m graduating soon (I mean, I hope!).  And not to mention that part of the coursework for the above mentioned class includes creating our own Personal Learning Networks, or PLNs, which a LinkedIn account could be considered a part of.

So, of course, I said yes to the connection request, because it’s a part of a class assignment, and it might be good for networking for future jobs and lifelong learning–but oh no my profile!  I hadn’t looked at my profile in a year, and never really completed it to begin with, and I doubt I’m alone in this predicament.  As I became consumed with the task of making my profile presentable and exploring all the site’s features, I got excited about the possibilities that LinkedIn could offer, but after investing a lot of time (time I could have spent on Facebook!) updating my profile, I began to question the usefulness of such professional-based social networking sites, particularly for MLIS students and job-seeking librarians.

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Marketing in the library

02/03/2012 § 15 Comments

Picture thanks to thenovelworld.com

One concern that has been mentioned in many of my classes is the lack of marketing about the library. Librarians and libraries perform vital services but many people are unaware of what these services are. This affects all kinds of libraries. One professor, who also worked at a public library, felt that outside of hardcore library patrons, most members of the community had no idea that the library provides services such as free internet access, medical reference and programming.  Another professor talked about how City University of New York schools had been given a grant to create better reference resources for students. The result was a comprehensive group of online reference guides by subject and including links to encyclopedias, databases and journal articles. The problem? They weren’t being used because very few students knew they existed; including almost everyone in my class, a reference class where we should be most informed about research resources.
      As search engines and databases make it easier for users to answer reference questions on their own  the way that librarians can stay relevant is to market the amazing work that they do. But what are effective ways to do that?

  • Thinking like a business- Though librarians and libraries perform services for the public at no cost, my public library professor suggested that libraries, especially public libraries, start thinking more like a business.  He paraphrased another professor in saying libraries could increase their number of patrons by being open longer. Bookstores like Barnes and Noble are open until 9:00 PM so that customers are able to stop by after work. Most libraries however, are usually only open until 5:00 or 6:00 and paradoxically cutting library hours seems to be the first cost saving measure that many libraries take. Librarians can also meet patrons where they usually spend time, for example opening library branches in malls and other retail outlets to increase visibility in a community.
  • Embedded librarians- Where libraries in shopping malls create better visibility for public library services, embedded librarians create better visibility for academic library services. Embedded librarianship and online reference resources allow librarians to leave the library and go to places where students work, to introduce research strategies and resources. Three out of four classes I have taken in my LIS program have been at a computer lab and this is where I do most of my research for assignments. This has made me see the value in having librarians available in spaces like these, outside the traditional domain of a librarian.
  • Blogs- You do not have to look very far to find blogs written by librarians about the great work they are doing. Just take a look here. These blogs give librarians an opportunity to promote the work they are doing and share ideas with other librarians. Though librarianship is not always thought to be the flashiest of professions, blogs give us a chance to showcase the innovative work we do and advertise this to others.
  • Twitter- Beginning my LIS program, I was anti-Twitter, believing that a 140 character tweet was doing the exact opposite of what I wanted to do; encouraging patrons to read and love books. My attitude changed when all my classes stressed the importance of social media and Web 2.0 to librarians. I decided to open my own account, which gave me information about many opportunities, including the opportunity to be a Hack Library School blogger, that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. One of my favorite twitter feeds is that of the New York Public Library.  The NYPL tweets an interesting or thought provoking line from a book, well-known or obscure, with no title or author information. The link at the end of the tweet brings the user directly to the catalog where the reader can find out more information about the book and can request it to be held at any of the branch locations. These tweets recommend good books and encourage patrons to visit their physical library branch in a few short lines.

This list leaves many holes, including how to market the library to those who have never used it. Chances are users who are following library twitter accounts and reading librarian blogs are not first time library users. In our LIS programs we have the unique opportunity to share and discuss marketing idea that work in libraries, so what has worked for you?

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