Published: January 1, 2014 by Beth Wrenn-Estes

Beth Wrenn-Estes Over the past months youth services FT faculty has been discussing in detail our existing Youth Librarianship Career Pathway. We’ve had some rich discussions and lots of ideas have been brought forward.

These discussions have drawn me into thinking about what content may be missing in my courses – topics that I touch on now but that need expansion or topics that I didn’t think relevant but do now. I strive to create assignments that give my students actual learning experiences that relate directly to a real-life on the job responsibility. I teach in a “traditional” pathway one where jobs are shrinking. I still believe though in the value our students have, that I have had, in working with youth in both schools and public libraries and I also see my “traditional” students needing to come out of our program with skills that can help them work in non-traditional work environments if they choose to.

They can have the best of both worlds while in the program taking Children’s Literature but also taking as many courses that link them with current technology as possible. Hyperlinked Library with Michael Stephens comes to mind or Grant Writing with Patty Wong or Lisa Valdez. I want students to not just limit themselves to public library but to the skills that will help them work in a public library but also give them the ability to apply for positions working an adjudicated youth facility or as a literacy specialist for a statewide literacy program.

One of the topics that I have been thinking and reading a lot about recently is what skills are necessary to be good at management and that includes project management and the role that each of us plays as a leader in our work place. My work experience in libraries both public and schools and as a sports administrator have shown me that anyone can “influence” from within whatever position they have.

Management skills are not just for those that aspire to rise to director or branch manager’s positions but to individuals assigned to reference desks, database management, the management of a summer reading program or creating and managing an after-hours homework center.

Years ago I was fortunate enough to become friends and still remain so to this day with a wonderful library and information consultant in Denver. Her name is Pat Wagner (http://www.patternresearch.com). I asked Pat to do a workshop for my staff on “influence”. I had attended a workshop on this topic earlier in the year through the Colorado Library Association. I wanted the staff in our central library office to understand the influence they had within our department and thought an outside voice was needed to bring the point home. I feel the need to include many of these concepts with my students now.

One of my objectives for the coming spring semester is to look seriously at my course content and see where I can add or expand on concepts that help students see how they can have “influence” and how they can work on their self-advocacy skills. I think this will be worthwhile and add to the already existing courses that meet the stated student learning objectives and competencies.

Enjoy the rest of the winter break!

Two suggested reads:

How I Got My LIS Groove Back
Alison Peters

Library and Information Science (LIS) Transferable Competencies, Melissa Fraser-Arnott
https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/2595 – .UsBB0_RDv5w


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