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Showing posts from May, 2010

Open Letter to LIS Students and Librarians-to-Be

While discussing the recent Friendfeed thread on LIS schools and student placement with my good pal, former bosslady and library management mentor Mary Chimato, some interesting things came up that I really think are worth sharing. I hope this post is particularly helpful for new grads or current (or newly matriculating) library students. My intent is not to discourage new librarians - I openly advocate for folks to join the profession. It is a career I love, and I think many would find it fulfilling. But I advise them to come in knowing what the hardships may be.

The big thing, when it comes to hiring. The big thing, when it comes to looking how resumes and CVs are structured with relation to the job requirements. The big thing you need to walk into LIS school thinking about:

How do you know you really want to work in libraries?

Using the library as a patron - much as we all appreciate that you do so - is very, very different from actually working in a library. Unless you have done so…

SLIS Discussion

There is a really fantastic discussion going on right now about LIS programs, asking about whether schools should still be churning out graduates in a depressed economy with few available jobs. Definitely go read the (still-growing) thread.
The MLS is not useless - it imparts skills and knowledge that I have found a necessary foundation for my career in librarianship. This is not a discussion of what the degree is "worth," and I don't appreciate the arguments made that it is worthless.
Questions in the thread cover questions such as whether huge programs (see SJSU) are problematic, whether programs bear the responsibility for curbing enrollments in a reflection of markets, and whether a SLIS is easier to cut than other program because it doesn't generate grant money or rich alumni.
I suppose where I'd like to come in on the discussion is the fact that other graduate programs are naturally limited in growth. They advertise themselves based on student/faculty ratio, t…

When Luxuries Become Necessities

Seeing some discussions of air-conditioning (and those poor souls lacking it) on Friendfeed lately have me thinking about the progression from "luxury" items & services to "necessaries."
I grew up without air conditioning. The humid, hot summers of Long Island for a fat kid were miserable without A/C. I always considered it the height of luxury when I visited someone's house (or, ahem, the freezer section of the grocery) and they had the magical cooling machine. My father, who worked outside in all weather in all seasons, suggested I drink a great big glass of suck-it-up-atine. Instead, I lived in the pool or held my face to the cool floor tile in the basement.
When I got to college, there was an airconditioning control in each dorm room. I called Housing and asked if we got charged extra tuition if we used it. (They were very kind and did not laugh at me. At least, not while I was still on the phone.) By the time my roommate arrived, I had grown accustomed …

Which Came First...The Personal Library or the MLS?

Moving in. While I hate looking at all these boxes and wondering where the heck I'm going to put everything (apparently the loss of 200 square feet of space is more significant than I thought), I do love the fact that when you are initially unpacking, everything has its place. I am a bit of a scattered person, and I inevitably start building up piles, but I do like that initial honeymoon of the move-in period.
Most particularly, I love unboxing and shelving my books. My personal library is much smaller than it was a few years ago - carting eight to ten thousand books every 18 months moving crosscountry got old after the fourth move. I sadly (okay, I was *devastated*) weeded my own collection. Now I try to take advantage of used bookstores that buy back books, or give you credit toward merchandise. This allows me to go off on my various obsessions and change my collection around, and the books I keep are those I am very attached to.
I am usually guilty of claiming that I am "Low…

LibPunk: Using Our Powers for Awesome. And Breaking Shit.

This is my penultimate day of work. I've been juggling a few posts that I want to finish, but then I read Sarah Glassmeyer's LibPunk ruminations (for the LibPunk Essay Contest). I thought I'd toss my hat in the ring with a few haphazard thoughts on the subject.
What LibPunk is to Me
To me, LibPunk is unconcerned with whether or not it is considered a profession at all. LibPunk is more concerned with actual results than titles, accolades, the "rock-star" status or lack thereof, figuring out how to improve and augment services with little to no additional resources, and putting a big ole boot in the hindquarters of naysayers. A replacement of passive aggression with aggressive aggression. A focus on users while acknowledging the staff work necessary to create the best user experience.
In effect, I like to think LibPunk is all the things I want librarianship to look like, and wearing some snazzy boots while doing it.
Using Our Powers for Awesome
"With great power co…

Facebook, Privacy, and One Librarian's Opinion

The Facebook Beef.

Everyone is taking sides on either extreme. It's either "I want to lock my social network down so no one can access anything and I am an island of internet" or "Don't be an idiot, everything on the web is billboard-worthy and privacy is a thing of the past."

The debate has many of us on FriendFeed wanting to shake people like Etch-a-Sketches. You can be holier-than-thou ("You should expect this from a monetized company!"), smug ("Told you this would happen.), an apologist ("Maybe Zuckerberg means well and is just forwarding the case for open networks,") or suspicious ("I heard if you get your settings wrong, companies and applications can steal your pictures and use them for ads."). In any case, most people are missing the point.

It's not the nerds, social networking experts, librarians, Alex Scobles or other techgeeks Facebooks awful privacy settings take advantage of, though we're teh ones bitch…

Prayer of the Beleaguered Manager

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Prayer of the Beleaguered Manager
And Yea, though I walk through the Valley of Management, I shall fear no performance issue, for the Man With No Name sits over my shoulder, and his glare it doth soothe me, and his six-shooter proclaims that we will take no shit. And we shall get resources to those that worketh, and we shall make the lives of those that worketh easier, and woe unto those who would throw a wrench into the good works of staff.
Amen.

Young Blood: U. of Alabama, You're Doin' It Wrong

Dear University of Alabama Libraries,
Yes, we want to encourage folks to enter the profession. However, I'd take issue - and there have been other grumblings - at the way you've decided to implement your plan. In your job ad, you state the following:
Qualifications: Master’s degree in Library & Information Sciences from an ALA accredited institution, or a Master’s degree in instructional technology or a related field received since December 2009.
So, only if you graduated in the past 5 months are you eligible for this job. I am curious as to whether this is because:

A) An MLS received six months ago is terribly out of date (as in, "You poor thing, you probably don't even know what an RSS feed is. I bet you even still use the blink tag in your html. How quaint. *clucks sadly* Bless your heart!");

B) You have an internal candidate and wanted to write the job description to fit them as well as possible to weed out other applicants (understandable, but better to writ…