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Final Reflections

 

 

Readers, as the semester draws to a close, I must sum up my LIS 6010 learning experience:

 

I’ve gained knowledge of the foundation of this profession.  I was exposed to past and current trends in the field.  We discussed and debated ethical issues and professional responsibilities.  Our lectures and readings covered social and technical issues relating specifically to the profession and libraries in general.  Our exposure to LIS literature was voluminous and immediate as in the just released Pew report that I discussed in my last post. 

The LIS leader assignment led to memorable online discussions of traditional and contemporary figures in the field.  I will always be thankful for the kind reception and invaluable information I received from librarians during library visits and telephone interviews.  I appreciated your candor even when the realities of the issues were difficult to hear.  I am moving forward in this educational quest better informed due to this real world exposure.  I have also benefitted from my classmates experiences which they so generously shared throughout the semester.  My understanding of the role, functions, and expectations of library professionals has deepened.  For those in the field (professionals and support workers) facing challenges; weathering tough times; forging ahead, you have my utmost respect and appreciation.

This was a challenging first semester.  Blogging went against my grain, but I imagined myself talking to friends. Thanks, WSU community, family, friends, and general well-wishers for your support.  Readers, I will have a few days between semesters, oh how I am looking forward to reading a good (just for fun) novel. What will I choose?  Mystery? Romance? Thriller? Aah, so many choices, so little time.  Read on!

 

 

 

LIS Assertions/Assumptions: Revisited

Readers, our LIS6010 class was asked to revisit assumptions/assertions about the LIS profession. I believe the following:

1.Llibraries are not behind the times. Again, not only are libraries not behind the times; libraries are in the forefront in many communities providing access to computers and other devices along with usage instruction serving to bridge the “digital divide.” (Parsons and Oja, 2012, p13) Older adults sign up and show up for library sponsored computer classes chipping away at negative labels. ((Moody & Sasser, 2012).

2. The unemployed and homeless are not the only adults who visit libraries. I stand by this statement: While it is true that that library serves as a comfortable refuge for some; it provides a means to lift up another. No resume, no job. No computer. No means to complete an online application. Still, adults come to the library for business and pleasure; they come by themselves or with others. It is not our job to judge…amiable and efficient customer service is expected as well as ethical behavior and professionalism. (Haycock & Sheldon, 2008, p36)

3. I believe it is false that librarians and support workers don’t get along.  Many librarians are former support workers. I have been in support positions for years. This personal experience affirms my belief that most professional librarians understand and appreciate the contributions of support workers to the overall success of the library. From the bottom up, no one is insignificant in the library, our success depends of each other.

4. Libraries are not just for school children.

Again, I believe libraries are for everyone. From toddlers to seniors, the library provides life-long learning opportunities. Libraries inform, entertain, inspire, and train people from diverse backgrounds with a variety of interests via classes, programs and age-appropriate tools. Research findings such as the recent Zickuhr, Purcell, and Rainie (March, 2014) Pew report asserts “life stages and special circumstances are linked to increased library use and higher engagement with information…deeper connections are associated with key life moments such as having a child, seeking a job, being a student, and going through a situation in which research and data can help inform a decision.”  While the suggestion that “similarly, quieter times of life, such as retirement, or less momentous periods, such as when people’s jobs are stable, might prompt less frequent information searches and library visits may hold true for some, I believe an increase in leisure time will afford many the opportunity to visit their public library for information (perhaps to help make home, health, or other consumer related decisions) and entertainment. For others, the times and traditional stages in which child rearing and educational pursuits take place are changing and stretching across the life span. “The time table of life events varies….” (Moody & Sasser, 2012, p 3) Information needs and solutions will shift accordingly.

Readers, over this semester, my beliefs have been affirmed by the readings and lectures; I have been enriched by the debates whether negative or positive facts and opinions were expressed.                

References:
Parsons, J.J. & Oja, D. (2014) New Perspectives on Computer Concepts. Boston, MA: Course Technology.

Moody, H. R. & Sasser, J. R. (2012).  AGING: Concepts and Controversies. (7th Ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
Haycock K & Sheldon, B. (2008) The Portable MLIS, Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited

 Zickuhr, Kathryn; Purcell, K.; Rainie, L. (March 13, 2014) From Distant Admires to Library Lovers and beyond. Retrieved from blackboard.wayne.edu http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/03/13/summary-of-findings-4/

 

 

Star Gazing: Learning from Blogging Librarians of Merit

Admittedly, my initial exposure to blogging librarians resulted from an effort to fulfill the requirements of this LIS6010 course. During this semester, I have discovered numerous librarians who blog with care and substance; I admire their passion and consistent hard work. Readers, in this post I’ll share my thoughts on blogs I plan to continue following beyond this academic venture: In the Library with the Lead Pipe and Letters to a Young Librarian are blogs with exceptional writing that snared me at first sight.

In the Library with Lead Pipe was established in 2008. With outstanding writing from an editorial board of professional librarians with different career paths (plus outside contributors with various viewpoints) this blog is poised to make its mark for years to come.
Noteworthy posts include an in-depth article about sharing and withholding information in library workplaces by Elizabeth Galoogis at http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2014/me-and-you-and-everything-we-know-information-behavior-in-library-workplaces/.
This was an enlightening article about “library workplace behaviors and the effect they have on service to patrons and overall quality of the work environment” from the perspective of a working librarian. In a section on “New Librarians and Principles of the Profession, there were specific references to the code of ethics, appropriate since the code purportedly guides LIS professionals on the job. During this semester, we have reviewed and discussed the ALA code of ethics at length in class. The inclusion of the code in the blog is further evidence that the code is not a throwaway or something to be learned by students and filed away in the real world of work. Instinctively this is known, but still….
Because I love reading and writing poetry, I was thrilled to read an article by Erin Dorney at http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2014/librarian-as-poet-poet-as-librarian/ featuring interviews “with three poets who also work in libraries.” Dorney highlights notable poet librarians and concludes “Both the poet and the librarian rely on curiosity—on questioning, exploring, and learning to make sense of the world around them.”
Though all the contributors are good, my favorite is Emily Ford, 2007 MLIS graduate who generously shares her personal struggle to obtain her first permanent full time library position, five years after graduation. This award winning librarian/blogger certainly seems to have hit her stride. I have been educated and entertained by her writing. Armed with new information re: outreach, I discovered I had a slightly different take on this topic (previously covered in an older post by Emily Ford) I was inspired to write a post of my own for another class assignment. Emily Ford’s article is at http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2009/outreach-is-undead/. My article is at http://waynestateteam46010.blogspot.com/p/re-tagging-outreach-charged-with.html I look forward to more from Emily Post. She’s inspiring.
The other blog that I plan to continue reading is by Jessica Olin: Letters to a Young Librarian. Olin offers “advice to those who are new (or even not so new) to librarianship from someone who has been doing this work for a while now” at http://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/.
The blog archive dates back to 2011. In a post regarding why she started the blog at http://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-i-decided-to-start-blog.html
Jessica Olin explains, “I want this blog to be about more than an experienced librarian dispensing advice to the new kids, however. In my conversations with individuals and groups who are joining my profession, it seems that there is a gap between what library programs are teaching and what new professionals will need to know in order to be successful.” This blog is her attempt to fill this gap.
A recent post explains how she gained leadership experience by: “serving on campus committees, teaching a freshman writing class, and coordinating programs and activities” among other things.
http://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2014/03/accumulating-management-experience-what.html
Jessica Olin shares the ups and downs of her first year as a library director at http://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2014/02/what-difference-year-makes-my-first.html
She admits, “I had to fire someone…I put my foot in my mouth…I felt so overwhelmed at times”
Like many posts on this blog, this article was accompanied by great graphics –a moving picture of frightened, but happy kids on a roller coaster.
Olin even has a blog about other librarians who blog at http://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2014/01/bloggity-blogging-librarian-blogs.html
She likes Feral Librarian, written by Chris Bourg and Beerbrarian, written by Jacob Berg.
While Olin is my favorite writer on this blog, guest writers have made solid contributions including a post by 2011 graduate Emily Weak, an Adult and Virtual Service Librarian, who explains how she got her “foot in the door” at : http://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2014/01/getting-your-foot-in-door-moving-from.html
She gained experience as a “pool librarian over a year and a half before getting a permanent full time position at one of the three libraries” where she had previously done pool work.
Readers, I hope now you see why these blogging librarians are stars to me.

Journal-Sizing: LIS Publication Comparisons


Dear Readers, a comparison of two publications useful to the library profession is my topic for this post. I have chosen Public Libraries and Booklist. I chose these resources because I have only a cursory familiarity.
Public Libraries is the official magazine of the Public Library Association. The editor is Kathleen M. Hughes. There are several contributing editors. The issues are theme related. The editor’s notes highlights the theme and invites readers to seek out particular articles. The Innovation issue, (Jan, Feb 2014) for instance, featured articles ranging from “Crisis to Collaboration” to “Babies in the Library” and “Technology Center Focuses on Innovation and Creativity”. (Jan/Feb, 2014)
The journal is publish bimonthly, it is the official journal of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Libraries Association. Readers are also invited to visit PL online for access to bloggers and features from the print magazine. Those wishing to publish are encouraged to make submissions which undergo a “double blind review.” Minimal ad-like announcements are PLA-specific (promoting the PLA conference) and/or public library related, touting the use of PLA Train the Trainer Kits available through the ALA website.
Written for and by library insiders, contributing editors include librarians; library directors; library school educators; and consultants. “Each issue includes important industry news, PLA and ALA updates, and columns and feature articles that offer strategies and ideas that can make a difference in your career” according to PL’s website. Contact information accompanies each article in the “About the Author” section along with a very interesting feature (for this bibliophile) an announcement of the book that each contributor is currently reading. I like the informative, yet informal tone of the articles. Articles are free of library-jargon overkill. References are included were appropriate, as are the qualifications of each writer.
In our LIS 6010 class, we’ve been reading articles about libraries in different settings, from the court house to the airport, similarly, cutting edge practices are illustrated in Public Libraries. Why is this important? Frankly, much of what we read and even reports we get from some professionals in the field are overwhelmingly negative. This too, is instructive; there is no need to sugar coat the real world environment, but for students, and those currently working, the realities are clear. New, or just new to you approaches are affirming. PL articles read as if the professionals themselves are saying: yes, it is tough for libraries, but let us share some positive solutions that others are trying; be inspired. On Ulrich’s Web Global Serials Directory site, Amy Jackson proclaims Public Libraries to be “essential reading for all public librarians.” (01-17-2014)
Readers, PL’s website also tells us it is intended for “public librarians, library staff, and trustees, but if you happen to come across it at your local library, don’t be surprised if you find yourself lingering over an article or two.
Because I love reading, I’m drawn to book lists. Readers’ advisors often keep Booklist handy because it offers a ready sampling of ALA’s best lists. A bi-monthly publication (except for July and August) Booklist, an ALA publication, has been spotlighting notable books for over one hundred years. ALA’s 2014 Best Lists was featured last month. In that issue Editor Bill Ott reminds readers of the extensive reading necessary to produce such lists. (March, 3, 2014) Best Lists of women’s fiction; adult genre fiction; young adult fiction and more, including notable audio-books are featured. According to its website Booklist is intended to “help librarians build their collections and readers decide what to read.”
Print subscribers have access to booklist online, a free website and database; subscribers may also sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter with links to open access reviews published only online. In addition to lists, book reviews and author interviews are also found for children and adults in numerous genres. To keep you wanting more, there is also a segment on what to expect in upcoming issues. A look at frequently asked questions online reveals Booklist does not currently review e-books, but is considering doing so. Booklist offers a webinar archive online highlighting “what’s new “in certain book categories. Ulrich’s Jacqui Grallo calls Booklist “an essential resource for school and public librarians, and an engaging and informative read for anyone interested in literacy, books, and reading.” (01-17-2014)

In comparison, both Booklist and Public Libraries are intended for adults; both are for library staffers, primarily. Both are ALA associated publications. Public Libraries is peer reviewed. Both sources are written by library insiders, and are frequently read by public library professionals. Both publications have long histories. PL has been active since 1962. Booklists has been active since 1905 (formerly ALA Booklist) according to Ulrich’s website (April 4, 2014). Both publications have an online presence with some access to materials featured in the print versions. Booklists is also intended for use by the public. Public Libraries is not specifically intended for the public, but readers may find the library-related articles of interest.

Hughes/PL Editor, K. M. (2014, January/February). Editor’s Notes. Public Libraries, 53(1), 2.
Public Libraries Magazine | Public Library Association (PLA). (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://www.ala.org/pla/publications/publiclibraries
Write for Public Libraries | Public Library Association (PLA). (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://www.ala.org/pla/publications/publiclibraries/writeforpl
Webinar archive | Booklist Online. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://www.booklistonline.com/GeneralInfo.aspx?id=73
FAQ | Booklist Online. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://www.booklistonline.com/faq
Jackson, A. (2014, January 14). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/title/1396658129420/23515

Ott, B. (2014, March 3). Special This Issue. BookList, 110(14), 2.

Grallo, J. (2014, January 17). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/1396659405734/42872

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Blurred Files: Mid Semester Analysis and Reflections

Dear Readers, as the title indicates, the semester is half-way over; at times it was a case of information overload, so fast it was a blur.
After a good start, I suffered a setback. This week was the worst of my academic quest thus far. I have taken a few days before writing this post to mentally recover from my (technical blunder in my other LIS class) so that I could file it away as a lesson learned, and move forward.
My hesitation to divulge my humiliation is consistent with my belief that it is unwise to overshare. I mentioned this in an earlier post and I still feel the same. I am an amiable person, gregarious at times, but still leery of public forums even as I grow increasingly aware of potential benefits. I respect others privacy as well, a belief held in high regard in the library profession and supported by the ALA code of ethics.*

A recent assignment highlighting leadership traits in LIS required the class to choose a pioneer or someone who made significant contribution to the LIS field. While many chose well known LIS pioneers, I chose a recent retiree who is still leading as a volunteer and outreach service proponent. I decided not to list her age because I felt that was unnecessary to make my points; it also seemed invasive to dig for personal information that was implied, but not specified in biographical information attached to resources about her contributions. Pushed for time due to assignments from my other classes, I did not give my best effort, which is not reflective of my esteem for Ms. Kathleen Mayo.

There was a moment during my leadership research online in which I followed a link to a professional business profile site. I would have retrieved more personal details from that site, after a second of hesitation, the site asked me to sign up to post my own professional profile; I declined. I am not ready for the exposure. It seems premature, yet I have stepped outside my comfort zone to share information on this blog.

When I look back over the journal entries, I do see two areas in which I seem most at ease: When I take on the readers’ advisory role; also in a couple of attempts at creativity as in the “opening the blinds” and the “sexy turtle” photos. Hesitation aside, I hope all who happen to read my posts, are assured above all, that I am sincere.

It is time for spring break. I am going to give my eyes a rest as I listen to an entertaining book on tape, a great traveling companion. Thanks for reading!

*We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted. (Section III)

Retrieved from: Code of Ethics of the American Library Association | Advocacy, Legislation & Issues. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics

Zooming In: Assessing my qualifications in light of the LIS job market

Assignment: LIS Job Analysis, Part II

The purpose of this post is to reveal my “fitness” for the advertised positions previously selected as “real world” entry and advanced level job opportunities. For this exercise, I have chosen to zoom in on the following:

The Senior Subject Specialist position: Requirements in addition to the MLIS included 3-5 years of collection development, programming, and readers’ advisory experience ”This position is responsible for managing the staff, operations, and budget of the Center for the Reader at Central Library. Under general direction of the First Floor Manager, the Senior Subject Specialist plans, coordinates and executes a comprehensive program in order to establish the Center for the Reader as the place for patrons to find what they want to read next in paper or electronic format, the latest information on authors and new books as well as classics, and how to utilize technology to enhance their reading experience.”

This job (or one similar) seems doable. It incorporates three of the aspects (reader’s advisory, reference, and programming) that I enjoyed the most about a former position I held as a paraprofessional; this position was in the adult reference department of a regional branch of an urban public library. Updating my technology (as I am in the process of doing) should enhance my ability to gain a Senior Subject Specialist position. The collection development skills could be further honed on the job, for this is not an entry level position, but one on which I could strive.

The entry level Adult Reference Librarian position is one that I believe I will be qualified for upon graduation. Responsibilities include outreach, research, content (development) and staff development.  Also, strong customer service and diplomatic skills are required for this full time civil service position at this large urban public library. My work experience should enable me to attain such a position. Finding a full time permanent Adult Reference position is easier said than done. Also this ad did not mention the need for updated computer skills, but in the interest of serving my patrons to the best of my ability, I’ll continue to cultivate these skills.

My initial desire to merge my interest in Library and Information Science remains. I believe the merge will enhance my ability to serve my adult patrons and my employer. Even an indirect application of the knowledge gained (of a vast and growing sector of the adult demographic) surely will enhance my ability to work on their behalf or with regard to their needs and interests. In time, the slightest edge may be the difference that will garner a promotion sooner.

My goals are to stay the course, remain optimistic. Learn as much as I can as quickly as I can. Gain an internship for more exposure (and hopefully more access) to professional contacts currently in the field. Again, keep at it; stay optimistic because I know I CAN DO THIS!

Still sexy, after all these years: Taking another look at “traditional” LIS job opportunities

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Readers, last week I focused on “dream jobs” but, the reality of the job market forced the inclusion of practical considerations.  This week I must consider my “qualifications” as well as the “appeal of certain jobs.

With the focus on emerging technology-oriented careers in the LIS field, it’s easy to ignore possibilities that traditional positions still offer.  With my work history in mind, I’ve added a few job ads (without the links) but to consider just as well :

A class assignment in library ethics focused on a circulation policy dilemma prompted the addition of the following job:

Operations Manager: “The Operations Manager provides managerial support and supervision that ensures circulation operations are in support of delivery of library services consistent with standards and policy directives.”

“Other duties include, collaboration with the Page Supervisor and Supervising Librarian regarding scheduling, coordinating functions and providing information and technical services to ensure the most efficient use of staff and resources.”

Minimum requirements include:
“Graduation from an accredited four-year collegeplus three years of job-related experience and training. Or other combination of education, experience and training that provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties and responsibilities of the classification.”

This full time position is in a higher cost of living area with a comparative salary.

Here is an Adult Service Librarian position with “traditional” job features such as: “outreach, resource development, training & staff development.”  Qualifications include: “MLS and one year experience providing information services.” This full time job would require relocation.  This is a unionized environment with a large urban system. Salary posted is hourly.

An extensive search led to this Librarian II position requiring an MLS and three years of experience in teen, adult, seniors, and people with disabilities. This job “requires knowledge of library and community resources and reference services in electronic and print media.”  Qualified applicant will be placed on a list for six months.  This is a good paying job with a large county government library system located in a higher cost of living area.