I first heard about the Mechanics’ Institute in INFO 280: History of Books and Libraries. As you’ll see below, it has a rich history, and my classmate was intrigued enough to write her final paper about it. We traded manuscripts for editing, so I learned a lot about its storied past, and I was thrilled when the opportunity to interview the Library Director presented itself. Deb Hunt has served in that role since 2013. She told me that although her “career has been mostly outside of libraries, the Mechanics’ lured me back to libraryland.”
One of my last posts in 2016 was a call for you to set up a personal website. I argued, “having a personal website gives you more control over your image, how you present yourself, and how you showcase your work.” I still believe it, and I think it’s even more true now than it was in December.
Why? Well, in case you haven’t been hit by LinkedIn’s new user interface (UI) rollout yet, here’s your fair warning: there’s a new desktop UI coming, and I think it’s terrible. If your profile has already been updated, do you agree with me or not? I’d love to hear more in the comments.
Whether you like it or not, you must admit that the site and your profile are organized very differently than they were before. In the last iteration, users had a lot of control over how their profile looked, the arrangement, and what information was highlighted. Users could also toggle between a chronological or algorithm-determined “top updates” view of their newsfeed. Groups were easy to find, and it was simple to participate in discussions.
On Wednesday, SJSU Career Center liaison extraordinaire, Jill Klees, held her monthly workshop via Collaborate. Her presentation – “It’s Time to Update Your Resume” – was timely for those of you preparing to graduate, students thinking about doing an internship in the summer or fall, recent graduates, or any of us who want to get a job. So, in sum, it was useful for everyone!
Jill began by stating, “The main purpose of a resume is to get an interview, not the job.” This may sound surprising, but it also takes some of the pressure off, right? Basically, your resume needs to pique the interest of the employer enough that they want to talk to you face-to-face.
So, how to write one of these rise-to-the-top-of-the-heap resumes? Well, it’s just a few steps:
Has Presidents Day gotten you thinking about presidential libraries? Maybe you saw the news flying around Twitter last week that Barack and Michelle Obama wanted to hire an intern? Bad news, the deadline’s passed – but there are still ways to work at one of these august institutions.
The Barack Obama Library will be the 14th of its kind. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt donated his Presidential and personal papers to the Federal Government; President Truman followed suit in 1950. Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act in 1955, “establishing a system of privately erected and federally maintained libraries. The Act encouraged other Presidents to donate their historical materials to the government and ensured the preservation of Presidential papers and their availability to the American people” (source). The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is charged with their operation and maintenance.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Or Singles Awareness Day! Or Galentine’s Day – a new one for me, but I love showing my lady friends love! In the spirit of true love and lightheartedness, I asked friends and classmates for their librarian crushes. "Librarian" is used here in the broadest sense of the world, and I got delightfully diverse responses.
Laurel Brenner couldn’t bestow just one rose and so sent me two crushes. The first, Mary Elizabeth Downey (1872-1949), became “Ottumwa, Iowa's first public librarian, served as the Director of the Chautauqua School for Librarians, and acted as state library organizer for Ohio, Utah, and North Dakota. All those things certainly make her an awesome and admirable woman, but what makes her crush-worthy is that she was one of the librarians who bravely stood up to the man who had essentially professionalized librarianship: Melvil Dewey. Downey and several other female librarians spoke up about being sexually harassed by Dewey.” Girl power! I like it.
On Monday, the iSchool’s Special Libraries Association Student Chapter (SLASC) held a panel presentation via Collaborate. The seven-person panel – composed of iSchool students and alumni with experience working in special libraries – shared what it was like to work in each of their libraries, a bit about their various career paths, and even some job hunting ideas.
What are special libraries? Well, according to the Special Libraries Association (SLA), “If you manage information and/or knowledge resources for organizations and their stakeholders—such as business executives, government agency staff, university faculty and students, association members, nonprofit funders, and law firm partners” – you are a special librarian. So special libraries can be just about anything.
Whether you are a new iSchool student or tackling your eportfolio, Jill Klees wants you to know what tools are available to you as you navigate the LIS world. On Wednesday, February 8, she’s holding a Collaborate session to help you jumpstart your career: Your LIS Career Starts Here.
I’ve attended this workshop in the past, and Jill does a great job of giving students an overview of what iSchool resources are available and how to use them. Perhaps more importantly, she does it in a way that will leave you feeling more empowered than overwhelmed. I definitely encourage you to attend!
Jill will use Collaborate to show you around the Career Development site, including resources to help you
On Tuesday, February 7, at 6pm Pacific, current students, alums, and faculty will speak on a panel about publishing opportunities for students through the iSchool and beyond. From blogs to newsletters to peer-reviewed journals, this online session will help you understand the differences among them and find the best place to publish your writing.
If you’re a good writer, getting published is a great way to fill out a resume and help you stand out from the crowd. You will also grow your network and gain contacts who may help you find a job down the road. Furthermore, taking advantage of one or more of these opportunities can help you provide evidence of a number of professional-level skills. For example, an article can back up your resume claims that you are an excellent researcher, writer, and communicator. If you have a coauthor or two, you can clearly collaborate well. You can also demonstrate that not only do you have good ideas, you can take initiative, organize, execute, and produce results.
Besides expounding on the virtues of networking, reading widely, and interning, I try to highlight some of the less-common LIS careers here because the skills LIS students learn are incredibly useful in a wide variety of settings. For example: content consultant, cybrarian, director, instructor, digital marketer, and acquisitions manager.
If you’re a current student, or even a recent alum, and your career direction seems fuzzy at best, please know that you’re not alone. Not even a little bit. Raises hand. Also, know that it’s alright. Grad school is the perfect opportunity to figure it out.
First, take a deep breath. It’s gonna be ok. Next, peruse the Career Development resources. There is a literal ton of information and links to even more.