ALA – left behind but not without hope

June 21, 2012

I’m not headed to the annual ALA conference in Anaheim like many info-pros are right now. Instead, I’ll be working my typical hours and continuing with the summer reading program events. I’m not disappointed, though. I’m hoping this fall I will be able to attend a conference or two. I applied for a scholarship for the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) annual conference in Raleigh, NC at the end of September and I’m hoping to get enough funds to travel up to the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) conference in October.

I’m looking forward to watching tweets and blog posts about the discussions at ALA. I know that although I’m left behind this year, good things will happen there because good people are attending and working to make librarianship better around the country. And, this is my promise to you, at some point in my life I will be able to physically attend these conferences to play a more active role in this process. I just can’t do it right now – because I’m really BROKE! 🙂


#cpd23 Slacker [and Thing 7]

July 22, 2011

#cpd23 is on Thing 7 and I clearly am back on Thing 3. I believe I may just jump past the Things I missed and jump into Thing 7.

Professional Organizations are a vital part of my career. I’m officially a member of the following organizations:

Minnesota Library Association – I joined this after staring my career as the Library Director of Muir Library in Winnebago, Minnesota. I find value in receiving the information that is available for members and I also appreciate the networking opportunities at specific meetings and the annual conference. Because I’m working in a one-librarian-library, it is nice to know I have a state full of librarians to connect with.

Association for Rural and Small Libraries – I joined ARSL when I realized (had that silly epiphany-type-moment) I wanted to work in a small or rural library! I thought it would be helpful for me to not only see the conversations exchanged on the listserv but also see the potential job postings listed there as well. I hope to be able to apply for one of the scholarships to the annual conference in the next couple of years (when I’m not starting my career and getting married).

Hack Library School – I’m one of the ‘original’ editors for Hack Library School – thanks to Micah noticing me on Twitter and my blog. I’ve written posts about a little bit of everything involved in LibrarySchool. I am still writing there although I’m finished with school, but I will soon be taking over a more editorial role than a writing role. And although this is not a face-to-face organization, I have met one of the editors face-to-face and I also chat regularly with other members of the team.

One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve been a solo-librarian for the past couple of months is how important conversation with other librarians and IS-related-career-people is. Maybe online conversation is easier and more effective for me because I’m used to communicating that way, but I honestly don’t feel librarian-lonely when I’m not meeting with people face-to-face. Even if I’m just watching listserv conversations or a specific convo on Twitter, I am learning and connecting in ways I wouldn’t if I didn’t have that technology.

At this point in my career, I would like to become more involved at the local, regional and state level of these organizations in order to work directly with the patrons in Minnesota and Rural Libraries and library school students in general. All three of these populations are near and dear to my heart and I hope to be able to devote more time to their advancement.

Should I continue my ALA membership?

February 23, 2011

The question is simple: Should I continue my ALA membership when I graduate? I finish school about 20 days before my “valid through” date expires on my ALA Member ID Card. That means that I will have to pay $65 instead of $30 for a membership (plus $$ for whatever “extras” (divisions, round tables, etc.) I choose).

To be completely honest, I do not have $65 laying around and while my birthday actually falls between my pending graduation and ALA expiration, I don’t really want to ask/suggest a membership renewal to people who would purchase me something. I would rather ask for them to use their money on gas to come visit me…

So here’s a restatement of the question: Why should I continue my ALA membership when I graduate? Or why shouldn’t I?
Read the rest of this entry »

Book Arts Event — a fun new skill!

January 28, 2011

Book making is a new experience for me. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed learning how to make simple yet beautiful books with a great group of people. It was a relaxing evening full of laughter, getting to know other classmates, and also learning a new skill to take into the field of librarianship. Here’s what we made!

My Exquisite Corpse Book

The student organization (sALA) held a Book Arts event in November. The instructor, Anne Bingham, is a school librarian and she incorporates book making into the classes she teaches. Her language students make sewn Exquisite Corpse books  and fill the pages with parts of sentences to use to study grammar and composition. They also make Accordion books to write their own stories; each panel tells a different part of the plot.

As I left the event, I took time to grab a bibliography of book making resources from Anne. I think I’ve not only found a new hobby but also an opportunity for a wide-audience program at the library I will (hopefully) work in someday. Here’s another book I made. We sewed the pages together using large needles and waxed thread.

Here’s part of the bibliography Anne shared with us. If anyone else has done simple book making and has other suggestions for resources, please share them!

  • The Book Arts Web:
  • Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord’s making Books with Children:
  • Carter, David A. Elements of pop up: a pop up book for aspiring paper engineers. New York: Little Simon, 1999.
  • Diehn, Gwen. The decorated page: journals, scrapbooks & albums made simply beautiful. New York: Lark, 2003.
  • Gaylord, Susan Kapuscinski. Super pop-up reports for American history. New York: Scholastic Professional Books, 2000.
  • Golden, Alisa J. Unique handmade books. New York: Sterling Pub. Co., 2001.
  • Ikegami, Kosanjin. Japanese bookbinding: instructions from a master craftsman. New York: Weatherhill, 1986.
  • Jacobs, Micahel. Books unbound. Cincinnati, Ohio: North Light Books, 2006.
  • Johnson, Paul. Literacy through the book arts. Porsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1993.
  • LaPlantz, Shereen. The art and craft of handmade books. New York: Lark Books, 2001. 

iCareer Week Email — Share

January 24, 2011
I composed this email to be sent to my classmates a couple of weeks ago. We were having iCareer week — a week where we had events, panels, job fairs, etc. regarding Information Careers (careers in information?). Anyway, sALA (the Student chapter of ALA at UW) did not plan an event. Instead, I pulled together an email full of resources for people to have. I figured I’d post it and let other people find access to these resources if they haven’t already. Here it is:

Greetings iSchoolers!

Because we know you will be busy attending other iCareer Week events, sALA sends you this email to read and react to at your leisure. The following are points of interest from the ALA web site and related information (list servs, wikis, blogs, etc.) that are related to the development of Careers in Librarianship.

Remember, we post any/all scholarships for ALA members to our web site, Facebook and Twitter.

Points of Interest:
ALA web site
  1. Join or renew your membership to ALA — As a student, you can simultaneously join ALA and your state’s chapter for only $35! This deal lasts until August 31, 2011. You can read more about this phenomenal deal here:
  2. Looking for information about your state’s library association? Try this site:
  3. ALA Student Member Blog —
  4. New Member Round Table Resume Review Service — submit your resume online or meet up one-on-one with someone at a conference —
  5. Free webinars and webcasts — related to a wide variety of issues in librarianship —

Job Lists

  1. ALA JobLIST —
  2. Library Journal’s Job Zone —
  3. —

List Servs
Want to know what people out in the field are discussing day-to-day? Join a listserv that interests you. Job positions are also often announced on these listservs. Here’s just a sampling of what’s out there — ALA Divisions such as RUSA, YALSA, LITA, ACRL, PLA. The full list is here:

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact one of the sALA officers.

Thank you,

Your sALA Officers

Do I belong in a Professional Organization?

January 18, 2011
Around this time last year, I was approached by another iSchool MLIS student and asked to run for an office for the Student ALA Chapter at the University of Washington. I thought about it and asked other officers what the responsibilities entailed and decided to do it. Then I decided I had better become a member of ALA (American Library Association) if I was going to represent the iSchool and ALA by being part of the organization. So I joined. I didn’t know what (if any) the benefits would be, and I’m sure I still don’t know everything about it, but here are 3 things I didn’t know about ALA before I joined.
  1. American Libraries Direct – This is a weekly email that highlights events/webinars/people/awards… okay pretty much any and everything that is going on with ALA and libraries (in the U.S. and internationally) during the past week. I often tweet articles or snippets of stories I find interesting. I also bookmark articles I think will be useful for creating displays or planning programs when I am working at a library someday.
  2. There are so many listservs available and they are very diverse. Here’s a list from ALA: When you sign up for a listserv that looks interesting, you’re going to get a ton of emails. My advice is to set up a filter for the messages and then pick a day of the week when you want to look them over and save what you need and respond if you want to. I also found that job postings are often sent out on listservs and if you’ve been participating in the discussions, people may recognize you from your amazing insights and you could be a step ahead of the other job applicants.
  3. Scholarships – Some of the available scholarships for schooling and continuing education opportunities (such as ACRL, ALA and ALA Midwinter) are only available to people who are already members of a certain organization. Here’s the General Scholarships site for ALA.
I am also a member of ARSL — Association of Rural and Small Libraries — because I realized (during my education) that my passion lies in small communities and I hope to someday work in a small or rural library. By being a member of this organization, I am able to participate in email discussions with other people who are currently working in these settings.
This isn’t a post to convince anyone to go join ALA or ARSL. Find the organization that best fits your passions and career goals and join. Be as active as you want and enjoy and thrive in the experience of getting to know other librarians with similar passions.

Job Hunting Tips for MLIS Graduates

November 30, 2010

I listened to a webinar done by LLAMA (Library Leadership and Management Association) a couple of weeks ago and I thought I’d post some of my notes in case they are helpful for anyone else.

Webinar: Job Hunting for the Recent or Future MLS Graduate
November 18, 2010
— presenter was Brian Keith — HR at University of Florida Libraries

When starting your job search:

  • Know what your salary requirements are. If you can’t afford to live off of what the job will pay, it isn’t the job for you. But it’s also wise to remember that what you’re paid will be based on your education and experience. There are a couple of surveys that could help you figure out your salary requirements — ARL Salary Survey, ALA Salary Survey for both public and academic libraries. 
  • It is tough to know how many applications to send out. The better they’re done, the more complete they are and therefore the more time you spend on them, the fewer you need to send out. However, if you can compose a well-crafted cover letter that can have minor adjustments for future job applications, you are saving yourself time. But make sure you make all the necessary adjustments. Don’t apply to a job at the Green Library and give them a letter addressed to the Yellow Library. 

The application itself:

  • CV vs Resume
    • Both are acceptable; pay attention to what the job description requires.
    • CV is usually for academic professions and can be as long and detailed as is necessary.
    • Resume is for business professions and is usually 1-2 pages.
  • Cover Letter
    • Develop and deliver your message early in the cover letter. This is your chance to shine!
    • Look back at the job description and highlight the required and preferred qualifications listed. Focus on your strongest qualifications.
    • Explain your interests or your career path or personal goals. Explain why it would be a good move for both you and the organization. 
    • If your experience isn’t library-related, explain why it is still relevant and how it improved your suitability for the job. (This can also include education and volunteer experiences)
    • This should be well-written, proofread and be 1-1.5 pages. 
  • References
    • Choose your references wisely. If the application is looking for someone with supervisory experience, your reference should be someone who knows about your skills in this area. 
    • Prepare your references by sending them an updated version of your CV or Resume, a copy of the job description and your cover letter.
  • If links and reports and other information are included in the job application or other emails you receive after being selected for an interview, know what that information says. The organization is handing you the answers to interview questions and you will be able to get a better grasp of the organization if you’re aware of it early.

The interview:

  • Be able to answer: “Why do you want this job?”
  • Show engagement, enthusiasm and leadership in librarianship
  • Remember that search committees are not necessarily skilled recruiters. You may have to ask them questions if you the questions you were asked do not cover everything you have to say. 
  • Ask questions during your interview:
    • Why is this position available?
    • What do you like best about working with this organization?
    • What are the expectations for this position?
    • What are the opportunities for advancement?
    • What are stakeholders in this organization looking for?

Those are my notes. Any additional ideas or tips?

Other helpful blog posts:

How Social Media Can Help With Your Long Distance Job Search

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