Thursday, March 31, 2005

End of March

This month seems to have flown by. It has only been a few days since I started this experiment with blogging, and it seems my interest is increasing. The hard part may be finding things to write about, or rather things to write about I would not mind if the rest of the world sees. There is the hard part. I have been reading other people's blogs, taking a look to see what they put on. It never ceases to amaze me how personal some people get in their blogs. Now, I don't have the type the blog that hundreds of people will rush and read, but still, some of the things I have seen, from a married couple struggling with infertility to high school students to political blogs to just old fashioned rants, just seem way too personal. Then again, the internet has this capacity to make people anonymous (though, I should point out not all bloggers remain anonymous. Some of them make very detailed profiles of themselves) yet very intimate with each other. Hmm, interesting.

At any rate, I made it to the end of the month, and I think I will keep going, a least a bit longer. We'll see where this leads. Maybe develop some writing ideas I have been itching to explore for a while. In the meantime, it is another day at work. Today, I will be at the Information Desk later in the morning for a two hour stretch. We have been busy, but it is the time of the year when students come in mostly to use the computers, so other than some questions of how to use a database, things are likely to be quiet. I do say likely because very often someone comes up with some interesting or challenging question that throws any sense of complacency out the window. And I like it that way. I would rather be working with a student than catching up on my reading or maybe this blog. Don't get me wrong, I like reading and blogging, but there is always a bit of time for that somewhere along the day.

Our library is in the process of searching for another librarian, a Collection Development Librarian to be precise, which is basically someone to coordinate our collection development and acquisitions operations. This includes maintaining and developing procedures for acquisition of library materials and developing our collection as well as managing the budget and a few other administrative functions. I know I am oversimplifying, but people can go and read the advertisement for the position if they are interested. At any rate, the deadline for applications was March 1st, so sorry if any potential librarian sees this at this point in time.

This makes me reflect a bit because not that long ago I was the candidate for a library position. That was last summer, but time somehow flew by, and before I knew it, I was "an old hand." Actually one of my colleagues called me that not long ago. So now we get someone coming in, and I get to see it from the other side of the coin. I am in involved in the actual search committee, so other than meeting this person briefly during her campus visit and attending her open forum, my exposure will be minimal. But maybe I can feel a little for this person since I know what a full day of campus interviewing can be like. Unlike me, she is making a lateral move, namely she is coming from another library where she worked as a librarian to apply for our position. So she has the "experience" that job openings tend to always ask for. I was coming out of library school when I applied. It does not make things easier when most the postings say "at least 3 years of professional experience," especially for jobs that could be done by a recent graduate. There were openings that actually welcomed recent grads. I applied to both, but I had to be a bit more creative in terms of marketing my "experience." Since I applied for positions as Instruction Librarian (or Information Literacy, or a couple other permutations of the librarian that coordinates and conducts a library's educational programs), I could highlight my experience as a high school teacher and in college in addition to a degree in teaching. Actually very few librarians have formal teacher training and experience. This allowed me to "talk my way" into job offerings with the "3 year professional experience" note. My job requires knowledge of pedagogy and learning styles and other key concepts in education, and I had that. In addition, I did work in libraries in instructional roles, so even though I did not have the MLS when I was applying, I already knew the workings of a library. So, to those out there who may get discouraged if they see "you need experience," be creative. Look at your experiences and see how you may match them to what is required. Very often the so called "need professional experience" can be waived, so to speak, if other experiences more than make up for it. So, to all future librarians out there in library school, don't be discouraged. Do try to get experience working in a library while in library school, but also look at what other experiences you may have had and how they can be relevant or beneficial to the position you are looking for. Librarianship is a career that attracts many career changers. In fact, I was lucky to be with a very diverse group of classmates who had been lawyers, educators, in business, and so on. They bring a wide array of experiences that only adds to what they can offer.

Having said that, I am sure our candidate now had a bit of an easier time getting here because she has had time in another system. Then again, her position is more administrative. Mine is more hands-on. I coordinate instruction, but I do a lot of it myself, and I would not have it any other way. For her, she would coordinate, but each subject librarian then goes and does the actual selection of book materials. Administration is the one thing for now I stay way from. In ten years, who knows? I may want to work my way up to running a library someplace, but not anytime soon. Librarianship overall is very much like public education, maybe that is why I was attracted to it. It is like education because in order to advance you have to leave behind the work you love most. In public education, that means you leave the classroom to become a principal and eventually a superintendent. In librarianship, you move to become a library director (or dean if the place is big enough and you have a PhD). Great jobs I am sure, but they take you away from the daily work and the hands-on. At least for me anyhow, but as I said, in ten years, who knows? So, I have heard some vague things about our incoming candidate in terms of she works currently in a community college and as such, she "wears a lot of hats," meaning she does a lot of different tasks, which is consistent with librarians in small academic settings. It also tells me that her experience will likely allow her to fit right in with us since we also "wear different hats." Maybe we have more support staff for instance, but otherwise, she is used to a challenging and diverse environment, so she should be fine. So, I look forward to meeting her, seeing what she has to offer, and who we'll go from there.

Well, I may post more later, but for now, I have things that need to get done. By the way, I did finish that pathfinder I was working on, the one on terrorism. I went with the idea of making two, one for Iraq and Abroad, and one for domestic/urban/U.S. terrorism, which would cover not only 9/11 but other events like the Oklahoma City bombing and issues of homeland security. There is a lot of good information available, and the challenge is evaluating and seeing what is good for our students to have a headstarts. Down the road, we are redesigning our website, so hopefully we will be able to put some of these pathfinders, and others made by my colleagues online. But if not, I am toying with the idea of making an online portfolio. I already have a website I designed with CV (Curriculum Vitae. For those of you outside of academia, an academic resume), or rather had a website. Once I graduated I lost space on the IU servers, but I have the files to upload. So I could upload it to some new place, likely one of those free website places, and then add a place for works like pathfinders. We have servers here, but getting space is not as easy as it was where I came from. And making it a personal page, I may have s bit more leeway. We'll see. Anyways the idea of posting the pathfinders someplace may be that others can benefit from them as well.

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