As a second year SLIS student focusing on a future career in academic librarianship, Elaine Hall, of Seattle, Washington, jumped at the opportunity to participate in original research and co-present findings at the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference this past fall.
Collaborating with other SLIS students, SLIS alum Donna Frederick, and Assistant Professor Kristen Rebmann, who serves as the academic advisor for the School’s SLISConnect Distributed Research and Writing Group, Hall analyzed roughly 48 job announcements for distance learning librarians.
“My role was to analyze the qualifications for the regional aspects of each job description and tenure-specific positions,” Hall said. “I found that the majority of job postings were looking for candidates who had online distance learning experience and who had teaching backgrounds or online teaching experience.” Hall noted that some of the most highlighted skills included communication skills, teamwork, distance education experience, technical skills, and information technology skills.
The library-related skill that ranked highest in Hall’s analysis was reference experience. “Interestingly, the focus in these job listings was more on educational experience than having a traditional librarian background,” Hall said. “Still, 85 percent of these positions required a MLS or a MLIS degree, so a background in librarianship was a strong component for these positions even though the specific skills were more educational or technical in scope.”
A recording of the hour-long virtual presentation, Who is the Distance Learning Librarian? Exploring Job Announcements to Understand Evolving Professional Roles, is freely available on the Library 2.012 archives website.
“Presenting our research was an informative experience,” said Hall. “I had a script with my findings, and I stuck pretty close to that. In comparison, Kristen Rebmann had a more personal style. She was able to add personal experience to her findings,” added Hall. “And SLIS alum Donna Frederick’s presentation was very communicative and had a professional angle. It was a great experience to mix with more advanced presenters.”
Hall joined the School’s SLISConnect Distributed Research and Writing Group and became the group’s Liaison in part for the networking and leadership opportunities. “I wanted to connect with other students, alum and professors,” she said. “Trying to get published in any way is a strong focus of mine,” Hall added, which is partly what inspired her interest in Rebmann’s research.
With a target graduation date of May 2014, Hall has enhanced her academics with another leadership role, Chair of the School’s American Library Association Student Chapter (ALASC). Hall’s responsibilities include coordinating new board members and the chapter’s social media platforms, as well as developing networking opportunities for ALASC members. Last year, Hall served as ALASC’s program coordinator and organized library tours, events, and Second Life virtual presentations for SLIS students.
ALASC, SLISConnect, ASIS&T Student Chapter, Washington Library Association, ALA Student-to-Staff Program: “It’s impossible to get involved in everything, so start by attending a seminar with a topic you’re interested in, then try a workshop, and move on from there.”
SLIS Student Marc Crompton’s Adventures in Libraryland
SLIS Student Rosemary Kiladitis’s RoeSpot: “Great book reviews.”