Today’s Gratuitous Photo of My Library: The University of Louisville photo archives curator & print manager found this lovely set while shelf reading. It is a stereo viewer with glass positives from WWI. You see something similar to this quite often but the images are printed on cards. The glass retains massive detail, which makes the viewing quite intense. You definitely feel like you’re there.
Newly released into the world from the independent Library Juice Press:
From the blurb:
In librarianship today, we encourage voices from our field to join conversations in other disciplines as well as in the broader culture. People who work in libraries and are sympathetic to, or directly involved in, social justice struggles have long embodied this idea, as they make use of their skills in the service of those causes. From movement archives to zine collections, international solidarity to public library programming, oral histories to email lists, prisons to protests —and beyond —this book is a look into the projects and pursuits of activist librarianship in the early 21st century.
Ah, this must be the spur for the new follows. Thanks, Daniel — and what good company!
One more academic instruction librarian blog I recommend is the Pumped Librarian by Nicole Pagowsky. Also, In The Library With The Lead Pipe isn’t exclusively about academic libraries, but often is, and always is awesome, so.
This also makes me wonder — is there a hashtag for instruction-specific posts? Maybe #infolit?
First, I totally endorse Kelly’s recommendations of Nicole Pagowsky’s blog and In the Library with the Lead Pipe.
As for the hashtag question. In the past I’ve vacillated between #infolit, information literacy, library instruction, info lit (can you tell I’m not a cataloger?). We should standardize the hashtag for posts around library instruction.
I vote for #infolit — then we’re standardizing with twitter. What does everyone else think?
Game of Thrones Windows. Bow down, nerds.
San Francisco’s Booksmith (Haight Street) kills.
Descendants of Solomon Northup encounter a record of his enslavement at the National Archives:
Solomon Northup was a free man when he was abducted and sold into slavery in 1841. He survived to recount his story in a memoir, 12 Years A Slave, which is now a motion picture. Yesterday, a few of his descendants viewed the document that marks the beginning of Northup’s journey into slavery—a slave manifest from the brig Orleans. Number 33 on the list of slaves bound for New Orleans is Plat Hamilton, the alias chosen for Northup by his kidnappers.
The descendants of Solomon Northup say they were aware of his story as they grew up, but seeing the actual documentation was an emotional experience. Today’s Washington Post has a story about their visit: http://t.co/b1Pz534rTS
The slave manifest is on display at the National Archives through March 30.
One of the descendants, Vera Williams, works at the National Archives. You can read her personal story (http://go.usa.gov/B68G) or learn how she and Clayton Adams walked in the footsteps of her great-great-great-grandfather Solomon Northup (http://go.usa.gov/B68z).
Photo: Northup descendants Clayton Adams and Vera Williams find his name on the slave manifest at the National Archives. (Photo by Jeff Reed)
Anonymous asked: I'm really trying to stay on top of current trends in the academic library field without having a ton of money to go to national conferences...what are your favorite blogs, listservs, tumblarians, etc. to follow or even websites to get news from our community? I feel like I'm always behind...or following things that are more just noise than good sources of trends. When I was in library school it was easier but now not as much. Thank you so much!
Two pieces of advice before I recommend a few blogs:
- There may be local conferences in your area that are more affordable than national conferences. For example, where I live, there’s an annual one-day conference on library instruction called CCLI. These types of local conferences — with no travel costs, hotel costs, and a lower registration fee — are more feasible for those with a limited budget, but still supply a ton of value. They connect you with local professionals, you learn trends relevant to your area, and often learn about forthcoming jobs before they hit national listservs.
- Find a local mentor you can sit down with might help, someone who doesn’t work at your institution (if you’re employed). Getting someone’s perspective, who works in a different environment, is a good way to know what’s going on more broadly. I had lunch yesterday with the librarian who mentored me when I was an intern and it was tremendous — and made me realize I should do that more often.
Here are a few blogs to keep up on (very much a partial list, there are other blogs I also read):
- Char Booth, info-mational. Char does not post frequently, but she’s very insightful.
- Meredith Farkas, Information wants to be free.
- Jessica Olin + guest contributors, Letters to a young librarian.
- Brian Mathews, The Ubiquitous Librarian.
- Jacob Berg, Beerbrarian.
- Chris Bourg, Feral Librarian.
- Karen G. Schneider, Free Range Librarian.
Full disclosure: one of these is my boss. Some of the others are my friends. I am not bias-free. Who is?
Tumblr division, academic librarians (again, partial — I follow well over 500 total tumblrs):
- The Lifeguard Librarian (you knew that one, right?)
- Library Journal (that one too I assume)
- Laura in Libraryland
- Libral Thinking
- Danielle Westbrook
- metadata priestess
Some of these are professionally focused, some are not, but I enjoy following them all. I enjoy the mix of personal and professional on tumblr.
I also follow a lot of public librarians (you can good ideas to port over!), institutions, and submission blogs like Librarian Wardrobe. You can browse the tumblarian list for both institutions and individuals to follow.
Anonymous asked: How does your library prepare for the possibility of mass departures? We have six librarians (one new-ish director and five assistant librarians) plus classified staff. One of our best librarians (who has the library's most difficult and specialized job) is definitely interviewing for jobs. Another two may leave for reasons unrelated to work. We all get along, communicate, cross-train, etc., but I don't know how we'd stay afloat if we lost 1/3 to 1/2 of our librarians over a month or two. Tips?
Fortunately, my library has never faced mass departures. In fact, since I started, we’ve only had one departure and have otherwise grown, from a staff of four professionals (including me) on my first day to 5.5 permanent employees now with some temporary help, too.
Frankly, I don’t know how we’d survive, either, if we lost half our staff in short order, aside from scrambling to fill positions. I’d imagine we’d cut down on certain operations — shortened reference desk hours, fewer information literacy workshops offered, purchase fewer new books, put weeding on the back burner — but we’d very much want those to only be temporary measures.
Does anyone with more experience in staffing want to answer Anonymous’ question?
librarian-wanderer asked: I've got an interview Friday for an academic librarian position (electronic serials). What was your hiring experience? Any interview prep you would suggest that is unique to the academic environment? Thanks! :)
Hi! First of all, good luck!
Going into an interview, comfort and familiarity are your friends, from wardrobe choices to the topics that will be discussed. Look professional but don’t make yourself so uncomfortable that you squirm and sweat.
While there can be some unique questions and concerns that come up in an academic environment, you’ll also get many of the same boilerplate questions asked in every job interview everywhere. For me, when I’ve been on an interview panel and a candidate flubs one of these questions — which I consider softballs — they’re out.
- "Describe [x]# of trends in [electronic serials/ERM/digitization/technical services/academic libraries/etc.]
Be able to name trends! Be able to discuss trends! I’ve seen candidates be confused about this question. How does that happen? If you asked me about trends in academic libraries, I could name 20 before I have to take a breath.
Yet I’ve seen candidates fumble around, mention something about eBooks, and look up hoping the question is over and we can move on. That was the softball! Hit it out of the park. If electronic serials aren’t actually your specialty, get to looking in a few journals, or find blogs written by electronic serials librarians. Get up to speed before the interview.
- "Describe an situation in which you [did the wrong thing/failed/could not complete a project] and what you learned from it? Be specific."
There’s always a question like this, and others that ask you to describe specific scenarios, positive or negative, from your past work life. Have a few anecdotes in mind going into the interview so you’re prepared for this. Candidates who don’t have examples in mind before the interview starts always get flustered at this point. Don’t be that candidate.
- What makes you want to work at [University/College]?
This is the slowest pitch softball in the game. Heck, this is a swing at a t-ball. And yet…I’ve seen some of the vaguest answers to this question (which often comes first — and first impressions are important).
If you’re asked why you want to work *there*, and all you can say is that you need a job and your skills matched the job description, that’s not going to cut it.
Talk about the institution — why that particular institution is a perfect fit for you. That means doing a little research in advance. Know what that school is proud of. Look in every corner of their website. Walk around the campus if you can. Read the school’s mission statement, and if the library has one, read that too. Incorporate that vibe into your response. If nothing else, even the cynical panelist will respect that you did your research.
Speaking of doing research, use your investigative skills and go in knowing what types of library systems they use. If you’re savvy, you should be able to figure out what ILS they use, what ERM product they use, and whether they focus on “big deal” journal package purchases from publishers or on aggregation databases, just from looking at their website. That familiarity can then come in handy when you are talking to them (it’s always odd to me when a candidate doesn’t come in with a sense of how we operate).
Also be ready to talk about how the work of the electronic serials librarians can influence other aspects of the library’s work.
Finally, does the library director or any of the librarians at the institution blog about their work? That’s another way to come in with a sense of how they operate (although don’t spend the whole interview saying, “Well, I saw on your blog [this] and [that]” — use the blog as background research, don’t keep citing it in the interview! That comes off sycophantic.)
There will probably be some very specific technical discussions. But those revolve around things that can be learned. It’s when the candidates can’t even hit the softballs that I get worried.
Any additional advice from my followers?
Sure, drama happens. But I’ve met tons of great, amazing people in the six years since I started my MLIS. I love the connections I’ve made online, the friendships that have started here, friendships that have grown and deepened. I love the folks I’ve met in person, in my workplace, at local meet-ups, and at conferences. Dedicated people. Smart people.
We can and should treat each other better. There are plenty of issues of concern, areas in which we need genuine, meaningful change, and a lot to discuss. And discussion can and will get uncomfortable.
But there’s no one I’d rather work with to make that change, to improve the state of libraries, and to expand information access, than the amazing folks I have met online and off throughout this profession. We can and should treat each other better. But we’ve got a great base.