The NMRT Endnotes Committee is pleased to announce the publication of the June 2016 issue of Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table. The new issue is freely available on the NMRT website:
Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal that addresses issues faced by new librarians. Endnotes accepts research and practitioner-based articles, and its aim is to work with new authors to produce quality scholarly articles. Each issue also includes reviews of books published in the previous year.
I’d like to thank all of the Endnotes contributors, as well as the committee members whose hard work made this issue possible.
Zara T. Wilkinson
Endnotes Chair, 2015-2016
By Maggie Cusick
New Members Round Table – Online Discussion Forum Committee
Some entering library school know exactly what type of work they would like to do and can tailor their coursework program to best prepare them for success in a given setting. Some come in with only an idea of what they think they would like to do and learn more about the field and their interests during library school. In either case, once we are out in the working world, we may find that there are skills or a knowledge base that we wished we had been exposed to at an earlier point. Due to the reality of the job market, our own changing and evolving interests, and a broadening understanding of the possibilities and opportunities offered by library work, we find we want and need to keep learning and growing. For example, one may be interested in public service in an academic environment, but did not have an opportunity to gain much or any instruction experience up to this point. Or, one is a cataloger but wants to learn about government documents or rare book cataloging.
Once one is out of library school, it can seem challenging to find time and resources for continuing education, especially for gaining special skills. The topic of the month for the New Members Round Table Online Discussion Forum Committee for May 2016 was just that: tips and recommendations for gaining additional or specialized skills after library school. What do you do when you feel you either “missed something” in library school or did not have an opportunity to gain these skills but still want them? What is the most effective way to gain them? Internships? Classes and workshops? Finding ways to work with colleagues at your current place of work to gain insight and skills? Volunteering?
We had a lively discussion that touched on engagement with professional organizations, workshops, webinars, volunteering, internships, part-time employment, and continuing education courses offered through a variety of institutions both onsite and online
Professional Organizations: One contributor noted that she works an overnight shift and therefore is not able to help her colleagues with their work such as instruction sessions. One strategy that she has used is to become involved in professional organizations such as NMRT and LLAMA through ALA. For example, she has signed up to be a mentee through LLAMA and has joined the editorial board of the Journal of New Librarianship. ALA has a variety of mentor/mentee programs, including ones for conferences. I had the pleasure of having mentors for my first trip to ALA Annual as well as my first trip to RBMS. Having this individual to whom I could turn with questions and concerns about the conference made it a less intimidating experience. ALA and its divisions connect us in the profession on a large scale so that we can share resources, ideas, and experiences.
Continuing Education Courses, Workshops and Webinars: There are many sources for continuing education classes, workshops, and webinars – both offered online and onsite. Onsite examples provided by participants included: courses offered through their Alma Mater (also available online), courses through institutes like Rare Book School, and workshops offered onsite at conferences. Examples of sources for online professional development courses included Library Juice Academy, TechSoup, and ALA divisions such as LITA and RUSA.
A discussion participant made the excellent point that it is important to learn about the course structure to determine whether there will be hands-on exercises, discussion, or lectures. If experiential learning is your goal, you will want to make sure the class will be able to provide that for you. It is one thing to read about a topic, it is another to be able to demo or practice a skill.
Volunteering, Internships, and Part-Time Employment: The need to do experiential and hands-on learning in some cases, leads me to the last category of professional development opportunities discussed: volunteering, internships, and part-time employment when possible. Spending time with other professionals doing the kind of work you are interested in pursing is valuable. You can learn whether you would like to be in a particular setting. You can determine at this stage what gaps you may have that you did not know about, or what skills you already have that could be strengthened.
One of our discussion participants described her experience interning in a special collections library. While she ultimately determined this was not that path she wanted to take, she gained some other skills working with databases that have served her well since. I too, did some interning after library school. I did an internship where I did copy cataloging. It was a collection I was interested in, but I found that technical services was not my path.
This same discussion participant also noted the value of looking into community college libraries or local universities for experience in an academic context. She specifically suggested part-time adjust positions. She had had experience doing this. In this context, she was able to apply and expand upon her time teaching computer classes at a public library to her work in this two-year college instruction setting.
In summarizing all of these ideas from NMRT members, it looks overwhelming. A strategy for me that has worked has been to look at it from this question of “what piece of information or skill am I missing?” and look for opportunities that could help fill that specific gap. Also, it can be fruitful to think outside of the options noted. For example, taking a language class could be beneficial or a bookbinding class at an art studio – it all depends on what gap you are trying to fill. Of course, one class, workshop, or webinar will not be able to fully flesh out our knowledge or skill base. We build on skills and experiences over time as the needs of the field evolve.
The complete NMRT Executive Board for 2016-2017, officially taking office at the end of the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando,FL is:
President: Kate Kosturski
Past-President: Kirby McCurtis
Vice President/President-Elect: Mandi Goodsett
Secretary: Nicole Lamoreaux
Treasurer: Lesley Looper
Members Services Director: Julia Frankosky
Outreach Director: Ariana Santiago
Networking Director: T.J. Szafranski
Leadership Development Director: Nicole Spoor
Councilor: J.P. Porcaro
You can read about the responsibilities, duties, and privileges of serving on the NMRT Executive Board in the NMRT Handbook.
Outgoing board members who will complete their terms of service during the 2016 ALA Annual Conference include:
- Megan Hodge, PAST PRESIDENT
- Karen Doster-Greenleaf, SECRETARY
- Easter, DiGangi, TREASURER
- Tinamarie Vella, NETWORKING DIRECTOR
- Kelly Trowbridge, OUTREACH DIRECTOR
For all board members, both incoming and outgoing, we thank you for your service and contributions to NMRT and the American Library Association. Your commitment to the profession and to NMRT’s mission to support new and emerging information professionals is to be commended. We look forward to continuing to work with all of the outgoing board members as they take on new and exciting roles within other divisions, sections, and round tables within the American Library Association.
NMRT will be hosting two orientation opportunities for conference attendees.
Annual Conference Orientation
Date: Friday, June 24
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: HYATT Regency Orlando, Room Regency Ballroom T
Date: Saturday, June 25
Time: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Rosen Centre, Room Salon 05/06
To Learn More
Are you searching for a job or just want to keep your resume up-to-date? Make an appointment to have your resume reviewed at Annual 2016.
The NMRT Resume Review Service booth, located inside the ALA Placement Center, is open Saturday, June 25th and Sunday, June 26 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. The conference resume review service is free of charge to anyone. Walk ins are accepted, but you are encouraged to make an appointment. Appointments are 30 minutes long and fill up quickly.
For more information and to make an appointment, check out http://bit.ly/1vArIPT . If you have questions, please contact the NMRT Resume Review Service Committee Chair, Melanie Kowalski, at email@example.com
May Live Chat Recap
By Peter Brunette
A growing number of librarians are coming out of library school and can’t find professional work, or full-time work. The promise of “there will be a lot of retirements soon so jobs will open up” has been heard for a long time, and often, when that time comes, full-time jobs become multiple part-time jobs or are eliminated completely. Likewise, many mid-career part-time librarians, as well as people entering the profession from other fields, struggle to find work in an uncertain economy. As the unemployment and underemployment issue worsens, what can organizations like ALA, as well as library graduate programs, do to tackle this issue?
On May 25th, several librarians participated in a live chat on twitter on this subject, ranging from job hunters and paraprofessionals to part-time and full-time librarians in a variety of different libraries. Participants recognized several barriers to talking about unemployment and underemployment in librarianship, such as that it goes against the narrative perpetuated by library schools that jobs are available if you relocate, which many people can’t, and that there will be a mass retiring of librarians, which in many areas of the country aren’t happening. In the current state of librarian employment, the decades-old myths of mass retirements coming and the importance of relocation are ones that library and information science students and job seekers can’t afford, especially when taking upon possible debt when obtaining a master’s degree in LIS. And for those librarians who are willing to relocate, they may be disappointed when libraries only higher locally.
Overall, there are more librarian candidates applying for coveted full-time professional jobs than jobs actually available to those candidates, particularly in areas with a library school, making competition for jobs remarkably tough regardless of how much experience or skills a candidate may possess. Additionally, with an MLIS, many librarians be seen as overqualified for paraprofessional work, and hiring committees may assume that librarians with an MLIS may not stick around for long once a better job comes along. A recent article in Public Libraries Online describes how part-time jobs are the new norm for librarians. Therefore, those candidates must do what they can to survive while obtaining that perfect job, which may mean using library skills in a non-library setting, taking up internships and volunteer work, or finding other ways to generate income until a paying library job comes along.
Meanwhile, many struggling librarians may find it hard to confide in fully-employed librarians because full-time librarians may not understand why it’s so hard for others to find the same opportunities they discovered. Coworkers may not be optimal confidantes because employers may know that MLIS librarians working part-time may be looking for full-time work elsewhere. Similarly, job hunters may not want to be perceived as that person who’s always talking about their job hunt even in a supportive environment. However, the only way that others can be aware of the unemployment and underemployment situation is by discussing it, making it known that higher organizations can find a solution. Finding supportive supervisors or mentors can be helpful for job hunters in keeping up with the job hunt, providing advice, and reviewing resumes and cover letters. Additionally, commiserating with other librarians on social media, such as Twitter or Facebook’s Library Employee Support Network may be helpful when job hunting.
Additionally, participants in the live chat made several suggestions in regards to what library schools can do to better prepare students entering the workforce. Library schools could cap off the number of students entering a program to help with the glut of qualified librarians looking for full-time employment. Students could be required to do an internship at their preferred library type (public, academic, archive, school library, et cetera) so they can begin to gain experience before graduating, learn practical skills such as presenting and instruction through their coursework, and participate in a mentoring program connecting students with professional librarians. While library schools most likely provide statistics on current job statistics, such as Library Journal’s Annual Placement and Salary Survey or the ALA-APA’s Occupation Resources and Occupation Fact Sheets, they should be honest with potential students about the current job market as well as that statistics can be skewed by the percentage of librarians who answered the survey or who didn’t answer. Likewise, library schools should open up students to other potential avenues of employment outside of libraries where those LIS skills can be useful. Students should be aware of the opportunities available to them locally, whether that be local library organizations, state conferences, or free professional development.
In an age of uncertainty, librarians need to ditch the myths of mass retirements and focus on the facts of what’s actually happening with librarian unemployment and underemployment. While no one answer will solve this issue in librarianship, the more we talk about and recognize it, the more we can discover what we can do to improve the situation together.
By Holly Kouns
We hope your mouse ears and sunscreen are packed for ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The NMRT Local Information Committee has compiled information, suggestions, and a map to help you make the most of your time in the sunshine state.
NMRT Local Info Map
This interactive map (http://nmrt.mapsandideas.com/nmrt.html) highlights the locations of hotels, restaurants, and attractions surrounding the Orange County Conference Center. Our selections focus on nearby restaurants and attractions for you to check out between sessions or after the day’s events end.
If you haven’t already booked a hotel, check out the ALA hotel list to take advantage of ALA blocked rooms located near the conference center.
Orlando is a sprawling city with clusters of shops and restaurants. To get from one area to the next, you will need to rent a car, grab a taxi, or take advantage of the local bus system Lynx. Prices for Lynx range from a $2 fixed route single ride pass to a $16 fixed route 7-day pass. You can purchase tickets online by visiting the Lynx site or stop by one of these retail locations.
Information and tips for Lynx in the International Drive area can be found here.
Routes to Disney and other popular stops and attractions can be found here.
There is a never-ending supply of delicious restaurants and attractions, ranging from the off-beat to world renowned in the Orlando area. As previously mentioned, the interactive map focuses on locations within a close perimeter to the conference center and along International Drive, but we encourage you to explore the city and take in all Orlando has to offer.
TripAdvisor’s list of top restaurants is a great place to start if you’re feeling adventurous and want to travel away from the area surrounding the conference center.
If theme parks, shopping, and entertainment appeal to you, then Orlando is the place to be! This metropolis boasts world renowned theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, countless malls, outlets, and attractions.
Listed below are a few popular attractions with links to their ticketing information and websites.
The Florida Mall
The Mall at Millenia
Additional information can be found at Trip Advisors Top Orlando Attractions or the Orlando Events Calendar.
NMRT Field Trip
Interested in oddities and curiosities? Want to get to know your fellow NMRT members? If you answered yes, join NMRT’s Annual Conference Local Information Committee on our inaugural field trip to Ripley’s Believe or Not!, Orlando. Ripley’s Odditorium features weird and unusual objects and illusions from across the globe, all packed into one very strange museum on International Drive.
Find out more information by visiting our blog post and sign up using the google sign-up form here.
We can’t wait to see you in the sunshine and summertime at ALA Annual 2016!
Moderator: Hillary Richardson
April is a month that brings most of us out of a winter funk, with signs of spring showing, warmer weather teasing us, and the end of the school year approaching. April is a month of fools, jokes, and fun, so this month’s New Member Round Table online discussion was an homage to creating occasions for “disruptive fun” in the library. We asked: what sorts of activities aren’t necessarily “traditional” to places of study and orderly community are being introduced in libraries?
San Jose State University hosts “De-Stress and Destroy” the day before finals start. Teresa Slobuski at SJSU wrote, “At these events students are provided boxes to build up a city before getting the opportunity to destroy it as if they were Godzilla. We usually do three rounds of building and destroying our city.”
There was a very lively discussion about bringing animals into the library as well. SUNY Delhi hosts “animal hour” every Wednesday afternoon because of “the success we had with our finals week animal visits,” writes Carrie Fishner. Peggy Langgle at UT Dallas wrote of the library’s success with “Paws for Finals” every semester, saying that the “registration list is always full,” and noted that they also provide a waiver for this activity. Like other participants, Brian Gray at Case Western Reserve University noted the success of their therapy dogs program, which happens 3 times a semester during orientation, Midterm week, and finals week. Brian wrote, “We use dogs from our university hospital as the dogs are trained and insured. The dogs have their own training card too!”
Students in Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve enjoy “doggy therapy,” from Kelvin Smith Library’s Facebook Page.
Patricia Delara told about a similar event with dogs, where students are paired with animals and read to them. “Paw Stars” is an event at her current library allows “children [to] practice their reading skills,” with the added bonus that “it’s also just adorable looking at the kids and the dogs getting along.”
Most of the discussion revolved around the fun and stress relief that active programs can provide, but challenges of these programs must also be considered, such as building or campus policies, liability, compliance issues, and in some cases, dealing with insurance. Other passive (but still “disruptive”!) activities can include coloring pages that are posted throughout the building and containers with pencils, markers, crayons, etc. Ray Pun suggested that libraries “have people color and have them “hang up” their work in a small bulletin board display.” These activities aren’t relegated to academic libraries during exam time. DeForest Library in North Carolina, for example, hosts “Coloring for Adults” as a way to invite people to unwind in the library.
Associated Press’ news story on DeForest Library’s Coloring for Adults
By Annice Sevett
Many libraries subscribe to excellent paid databases, however unfortunately some libraries cannot afford these databases or help patrons who may not have access to these resources. Thankfully, there are a number of free reference resources that work just as well, and sometimes better, than the paid databases for many questions you may face while answering reference questions. This article will mention a number of those resources you may want to bookmark so you are prepared the next time someone asks you a question.
Before we get into topic specific resources, there are some great general websites that will help with a variety of questions. The government of the United States puts out arguably the most information of any organization in this country and they have a number of websites that are helpful when looking for reliable information. The main site is known as USA.gov and has a search engine that locates information from all government agencies and related organizations. They maintain topic pages on a number of hot issues with links to places to go for further information. While most government agencies have their own websites, usa.gov is a wonderful place to start a search. The U.S. Census Bureau is one agency that has an excellent website that provides government statistical data. This is useful when looking for statistics on people and households or business and industry facts. The last government agency website I’ll mention specifically is the Central Intelligence Agency. The most useful part of their website is a link to the World Factbook, helpful for ready reference and more in-depth questions you might face.
Many librarians admit to using Wikipedia for basic information. We all know the information may not be accurate and should proceed with caution when using this site, however for ready reference questions it is a great place to start. When questions about the weather arise, either current or historical, turn to Weather Underground. The data for this site comes from personal weather stations and uses innovation models to provide highly localized weather. Oftentimes, questions about translation come up in reference work. A favorite resource is Google Translate, allowing for the quick translation of words in many languages. The final resource mentioned in the general category is ResearchBuzz, a website that provides news and resources on social media, search engines, databases, archives and more. Although not as useful for reference work, it is a wonderful site to read every day to get information relating to libraries and, because the topics are newsworthy, patrons may come in with questions about the stories featured.
The most common questions may come in the form of what we will call entertainment questions, including those relating to books. For basic questions about books, authors, what to read next, and for user posted book reviews, GoodReads is an excellent place to look. Another resource for information on books and authors is Fantastic Fiction. Questions about what book is next in a series are common, and we’re in luck because the Kent District Library has a great database called What’s Next that allows you to search by author, series title and even an individual book title. Movies, another form of entertainment that most libraries lend out, have their own set of unique properties and reference questions that come with it. IMBD is a resource you may be familiar with and is great to use when answering questions about movies and tv shows. Another useful site is RerunCentury, which has free public domain videos of 20th century TV shows along with historical information of network channel lineups.
Medical questions can be tricky due to legal implications, however the National Library of Medicine has a number of resources that you can get basic information from and point patrons to for reliable, accurate information. MedlinePlus is the general consumer health resource of the National Library of Medicine, providing trusted health information on diseases, drugs, procedures and more in terms that consumers will understand. For drug related questions, turn to DailyMed or PillBox. DailyMed contains drug listing information while PillBox is a drug search engine that helps identify medication by properties. Lastly, LactMed is a resource to point expecting and breastfeeding mothers to when questions arise about drugs and chemicals that may be harmful.
Academic libraries and large library systems subscribe to databases for scholarly journal articles and other documents to help with research. These databases are wonderful but sometimes students from smaller colleges or those in high school from rural areas need access to scholarly articles that may be unavailable to them. A good place to start is Google Scholar, the Google search engine from scholarly articles that links to full-text versions when available. A second website for scholarly articles is the Digital Commons Network, a database that brings together free, full-text scholarly articles from colleges and universities around the world. In addition to a regular search engine, they have a unique interface that allows individuals to narrow their search by topic until they find the section they are interested in. You can point patrons to Community Commons when they are in the beginning stages of research about topic. This site compiles information about specific community issues together and includes data, tools and stories. For law related questions, Cornell University Law School hosts the Legal Information Institute, a resource for finding laws, materials that help people understand the law and law related facts and information. Patrons needing information on American history can turn to the American Memory Project, a project from the Library of Congress that offers free and open access to text, sound recordings, images, prints, maps and music that document the American experience.
Finally, if you are looking for a one stop shop for free reference resources, the Florida Atlantic University Libraries has an excellent LibGuide that contains links to free resources in a variety of categories. This LibGuide is, as of the writing of this article, updated and reviewed on a regular basis.
Keep these free reference resources in mind when you are on the reference desk. They are sure to help your patrons and yourself find the information they need.
Online Discussion Forum Recap
By Aisha Conner-Gaten
Is there truly anything more stressful than working a full time job while trying to apply to another full time job? It all starts with an endless parade of cover letters, resumes, and curricula vitae only to be followed by high anxiety phone, Skype, and in person interviews. These processes can take a long time. During that period, it can be difficult to stay positive about our future and feel accomplished while we wait to hear back. All of this, the mental, emotional, and physical states while you wait, can be folded into what we call self-care. According to the University of Kentucky site, self-care is any intentional action that you take to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Very often this includes things that you would never consider part of healing. In our March live chat, we divided many of these actions into two categories: things that you can do to sustain or improve your mind and those actions that can improve or sustain your body. Of course, many actions, like yoga, technically affect both. Also, an important thing to note is that self-care is completely unique to an individual. Do not think that you must do anything based on what others find helpful. You can mix and match any of these actions and build your own plan. These are just ideas to consider as you wait to finally exhale, get that job, and get paid!
Exercise, sleep, and eating are key parts of self-care. Very often, being unemployed can depress you or reset your eating habits (more time to munch or more stress to avoid meals). It is important to eat regularly and not substitute snacks for meals. If you find yourself unable to eat due to depression or just feeling overwhelmed, set a schedule. Use Google calendar or a tasker app to remind you to eat. You need the energy!
The CDC suggests exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, which can affect mood and overall health long term. Exercising can include any number of activities: a simple walk, running on a treadmill, or even dancing to some YouTube videos. Once you have done a bit of working out, sleep might be a good idea. A full night’s rest helps you de-stress, decouple, and think about something other than spell check. Even if you aren’t working, you should go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Once you get that job, your body (and mind!) will thank you for keeping a regular sleep schedule.
Now that you’ve got your body in check, it’s time to consider the thing that controls it all: your mind. Engage in activities that take your mind off of the waiting and disappointment. Visit an animal shelter or cat café to snuggle someone furry to make you feel better. Try meditation or yoga to relax your mind and soothe your body. For those strapped for cash, meetups (meetup.com, your local library or community center) are usually free and offer low anxiety situations for fun. These opportunities are also a great way to get out of the house for a while and stretch your legs. You might even expand your network or make a new friend!
Other Helpful Hints
- Use Evernote, a spreadsheet, or Google Cal to keep track of documents and application timelines
- Stay up to date on library topics and emerging trends via MOOCS (Coursera, Edx, and OpenCourseWeb) and webinars (Siera Learn, Web Junction)
- Make sure your references can be counted on. Don’t list anyone you don’t trust to share stories of the best you
- Tell your current boss you are seeking new employment. Unless you already have a poor relationship, they will appreciate the heads up. When you speak to them, emphasize the benefits of the new job but don’t say how you hate your current job
- Perk up your search by checking out http://opencoverletters.com/
- Don’t take rejection personally. Some positions desire certain skills, personalities, or end the search completely based on budgets. Most of the time, you aren’t told the reasons why
- Check out year round NMRT’s Resume Service if you need help: http://www.ala.org/nmrt/oversightgroups/comm/resreview/resumereview
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