#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.


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

Banned/Challenged Books Panel [Part 1: Planning]

October 4, 2010

The iSchool has a student chapter of ALA. We call it SALA. This year, I am the secretary of the organization. It is an honor and a pleasure to be a part of a dedicated and professional organization. We work at disseminating information given to us by ALA as well as planning professional and social events throughout the year.

I volunteered to lead the organization of the Banned/Challenged Books panel this fall. We didn’t schedule it during the official Banned Books Week because that was the first week of classes. The panel is on Wednesday, October 6 in Mary Gates Hall 420 from 5:15pm-7:00pm. Here’s our schedule:
5:15pm-6:00pm — Free pizza, socialize, share our favorite banned/challenged books
6:00pm-7:00pm — Panel with the following panelists:
             * Susan Hildreth — City Librarian, Seattle, Washington (Seattle Public Library)            
             * Terri Kuechle — Middle School Librarian, Beaverton, Oregon
             * Lynn Miller — Teen Librarian at Ballard branch, Seattle, Washington (Seattle Public Library)
             * Elsa Steele — Managing Librarian in Kirkland, Washington (King County Library System)

Our panel will be available to distance MLIS students who attend UW, too. We are going to set up an online meeting room where people will be able to listen to the panel and participate by leaving comments and questions online. I am excited to add this dynamic to our panel.

These next couple of days, I will be creating a list of questions to use to facilitate the panel, but I hope the audience brings its own questions because I look forward to this being a stimulating discussion about libraries, intellectual freedom and the rights of readers.

You can find updates about SALA on our website, Facebook and Twitter.
Look for another post reflecting and evaluating the panel after the event. And hopefully I’ll have some photos!

Marketing and Strategic Planning for Libraries

April 12, 2010

Every time I sit down to write this post… I think, “Maybe I don’t know enough about this yet…” and then I start browsing articles and web sites and making lists of other things I want to read.

Here’s one thing I do know though: libraries (and librarians) have not done a good job at marketing themselves or planning for the future (in terms of users, technology, etc). And because people (users — active and passive) don’t know what the library has to offer, it is difficult for them to be valued in communities (public and academic). And that scares me.

Libraries should be leaders. Librarians should be leaders. I’m a leader — why am I not participating in this more? I’m going to think about this. And someday, I’ll write a post that expands on it.

My School is the iSchool

September 30, 2009

We had an all-school orientation today. So – this included new and returning undergrad students, MSIM (Master in System and Info Management?), MLIS (Master in Library and Info Science – me) and PhD students – and faculty and staff. Wow.

The dean of the iSchool is from New Zealand. He made us repeat (over and over and over) “My school is the iSchool!” Clearly – it is his motto. And now mine.

So, after today, I’ve slammed into two questions:
1. Am I going to step uncomfortably into a leadership role as a student here?
2. What in the world do I want to focus on – in terms of research and preparation for a career?

(excuse me while I eat some popcorn and drink some diet Dr. Pepper and think about these questions some more)

1. Am I going to step uncomfortably into a leadership role as a student here?
I say uncomfortably because I know there are STRONG, STRONG students here already. But, these people almost seem too strong; they might know more than they think and they might become frustrated too easily to be good leaders. I know I can become frustrated, but I also know how to handle frustration and leadership to create a learning experience instead of a chaotic one. If I choose to be a follower, I might get stuck in the chaotic experience… and not be trusted to pull the group out of it. I almost want to be a follower so I can ask stupid questions. I’m wary about putting myself into a leadership role in class and finding that I don’t know ANYTHING.
Clearly – I am getting no where with this rant… question 2. please. and more popcorn.

2. What in the world do I want to focus on – in terms of research and preparation for a career?
Career: Be Erika Rux. ha. True. But.
Each member of the faculty stood up and gave a 30-second explanation of what they study/research/teach. They all said that they are looking for students to assist in their research.

By assisting in research, I would have:
(1) the opportunity for something GREAT to include on my resume
(2) the opportunity to be published
(3) outside of class (or maybe insider) knowledge of a subject
(4) the opportunity to open new doors for my career through finding internships and networking connections.

So – I need to join a research project.
One professor talked about how she works with indigenous cultures to form collections of their information. She worked with the people to examine the information and then classify it and organize it so they could use it – probably in education, historical documentation, etc.
(I would love to use my Spanish and love for Guatemala to do this in Guatemala. wow)

Another professor talked about how he examines the way information is classified. Then he figures out how it could be organized better – or in a different way that suits someone else’s needs.
(This sounds right up my “organizational” alley)

Clearly. I have more thinking to do. And I need to talk to more people. And drink more diet Dr. Pepper.

Conclusion: On Thursday – I am going to attempt a leadership role in class; I am going to talk to people. I am going to stay organized and find my fit in my school, the iSchool.

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