Archive for January, 2017

01.31.17

NMRT Member of the Week Spotlight: 5 Questions with Jennifer Wilhelm

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:20 am by nmrtsecretary

Jennifer Wilhelm

Bryan + College Station Public Library System, Larry J. Ringer branch, College Station, TX 

Reference Librarian

A Little Bit about Jennifer’s Job:

My focus is on adult services, and I am responsible for development and maintenance of the Non-Fiction and DVD/Blu-Ray collections. I work at the reference desk all day, every day. In between helping patrons I brainstorm ways to collaborate with my fantastic co-workers on programs, marketing materials, social media blasts, and more. I enjoy providing job search & financial literacy based programs, such as resume reviews.

What are some things you like about your job or about working in libraries in general? I love working the reference desk! My extrovert nature thrives on the activity and interaction it provides. My favorite part of working in any library is that librarians never turn themselves off. We are always showing up to programs on our days off, popping in to check out books, or bringing our kids to story times on the weekend. I know of no other profession that enjoys coming to work when they aren’t supposed to as much as librarians.

What’s a project or committee you’re working on right now that you’re excited about? I’m enjoying my time on the RUSA RSS Job and Career Reference Committee, through which I had the opportunity to participate on a panel at the 2017 ALA Midwinter Conference. In addition, our library has begun partnering with Texas A&M University Libraries on a few different fronts, which I think is a fantastic benefit to the community.

What got you interested in libraries? I was one of those starry-eyed bookworm teenagers who thought librarians read all day. At 19 I started working at one, and discovered that no, I have absolutely no time to dreamily wander the stacks. What I do have time for is helping people with an infinite number of problems, tasks, assignments, etc. It is incredibly fulfilling.

What is one of your favorite things about NMRT? The committees! For those who enjoy committee work or need service, applying to join is a no brainer. NMRT committees often don’t require conference attendance, and they provide opportunities for networking, professional development, and more.

Do you have any advice for other new librarians? Network! Reach out to any library in your area, regardless of what type it is, and find out what they do, who they focus on, etc. If you find points of intersection, propose working together on a program, practicing collaborative collection development, and so on. Best case, you form a new partnership, and worst case, you’ve made a new librarian friend.

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01.26.17

Spotlight On: NMRT Handbook Committee

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:07 pm by nmrtsecretary

The New Members Round Table Handbook Committee is the behind the scenes crew for the public face of the handbook. The handbook is the official record of the round table and contains committee charges, officer responsibilities, time tables, etc… The primary job of the Handbook Committee is to update the handbook. We do this by communicating with committee chairs and the executive board to find out if any changes to the handbook need to be made.

Within the larger context of ALA, the handbook and handbook committee provides an historical record of the ongoing activities within the NMRT. In doing so, this committee provides an excellent starting place for anyone interested in serving on a committee within ALA.

The handbook itself is composed of several pages on ALA Connect. The Archives Committee, for example, is hosted on this handbook page. For new members it will help you to get to know NMRT, its history, governance structure, constitution, and the goals of the round table. It will also give you a place to go to research the committees you might be interested in joining. For those who are interested in serving on a committee, the handbook will give you an idea of what the committee is about and what the governance structure of the committee is and what your time commitment will be should you be asked to serve.

Call for committee members and chairs will go out in spring 2017. Please keep an eye out for more information at that time.

01.16.17

Spotlight On: NMRT’s Resume Review Service Committee

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:25 pm by nmrtsecretary

By Brandy Horne

As stated in its mission, the Resume Review Service (RRS) committee “gives NMRT members an opportunity to have their resumes and/or cover letters reviewed via e-mail by experienced professionals in the field.”  Our volunteer reviewers represent many different library types, including academic, public, school, medical, and special, and their areas of expertise are even more varied.  In addition to their expertise as librarians, our reviewers have considerable experience when it comes to the hiring process.  Our reviewers are directors, managers, and department heads, or they have considerable experience serving on search committees.  They know, first-hand, what hiring managers look for in a resume, and they’re more than willing to share their insights to help people find success in their job search.

The RRS committee’s email service is available year-round and is the easiest way to have a resume and/or cover letter reviewed.  NMRT members can take advantage of this service by visiting the jobseeker’s page of our website. The RRS committee uses the requested information to match requests with reviewers whose experience and expertise most closely support the needs of the job seeker.  Once a reviewer agrees to review a resume, he/she has 7-10 days to respond to the job seeker with feedback.  Most requests are handled within two weeks.

In addition to the year-round email service, the RRS committee hosts an on-site resume review service at both ALA Annual and Midwinter.  This service, located within the ALA JobLIST Placement Center, runs from 9:00 am-5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday during the conference.  The on-site service is open to everyone, and access to the Placement Center does not require conference registration.  Scheduling an appointment prior to the conference is strongly encouraged and is the only way to guarantee a meeting with a reviewer.  However, walk-ins are welcome and scheduled as space and time allow.  The deadline to make an appointment in advance of the conference is Tuesday, January 17 at 5:00.  For more information and to access the appointment form, please visit the “Get Your Resume Reviewed” page of our Midwinter 2017 website.

The RRS committee has only a few members, so the on-site resume review service would not be possible without the help of volunteers.  If you would like to volunteer as a Reviewer or a Booth Greeter, please visit and explore our Midwinter 2017 website.  This is an excellent opportunity for everyone from seasoned professionals to library students to network and to get involved with ALA.

If you are an experienced library professional with hiring experience and would like to be added to our database of volunteer email reviewers, please email us at resumereviewnmrt@gmail.com

If you have any questions regarding NMRT’s Resume Review Service committee, the email service, the on-site service, or volunteering opportunities, please contact the committee chair, Brandy Horne at brandybell@gmail.com or the assistant chair, Hannah Buckland, at hannah.buckland@lltc.edu

01.10.17

Gaining a Managerial Mindset

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:16 am by nmrtsecretary

By Hannah Joy Chapman

The monthly online discussion in December focused on the process of becoming a manager. The interest in this question was not only the routes library staff took to become managers but also in the tools and resources used to maintain and improve on management skills. This question was of particular personal interest because I am a relatively new manager of student assistants who work several hours a week at the reference desk in a large academic library. I find myself constantly searching for ways to improve my management skills or revise my style. The methods used to gain managerial skills or improve upon those skillsets can vary greatly depending on the resources available to you and often times the pre-existing structure of your place of employment can play a huge role. This post will elaborate on some common tools and methods to achieve managerial growth.

Through the discussion thread I found that there is a contingent of supervisors who have experiences quite similar to my own, in which a supervisory role may come suddenly or unexpectedly through retirements and reshuffling of tasks. As one respondent pointed out, it can be helpful when you have the opportunity to move into a management role directly from a pre-existing position in the same institution. One of the benefits being that you are already somewhat familiar with the workflows and supervisory styles preferred by your newly acquired reports. As a new supervisor in a library familiar to you, your reports may informally assist in mentoring you into the role of a new supervisor.

When confronted with a question, what better to do as a librarian than research the topic? One supervisor scoured YouTube to uncover a wealth of free resources, including New Manager Training – Excellent Manager Training tips. The YouTube video is provided by www.managertrainingacademy.com, another resource providing managerial guidance. Some libraries offer Lynda.com, a subscription-based video database containing curated instructional material on a variety of topics including management. Library Juice also offers a six-course certificate series in Library Management taught asynchronously for a fee.

Voices of those with early-career supervisory ambitions were also heard in the discussion. One of the recommendations was to take courses during your MLIS on management. The formal style of learning in a classroom can be very helpful in gaining a managerial mindset. A management course was required by my MLIS curriculum, I wish I had considered the course as potentially helpful to my future career goals so that I may have taken more away from the course and felt it worth the time to enroll in an advanced management course later in my MLIS. Hindsight is always 20/20. An integral point in taking required management courses seriously is to have a clear understanding of the current landscape and the varied types of management available. Although one may not aspire to be a university librarian or library director, management skills are useful in nearly every position.

The discussion also had a recommendation for a book called Good to Great by Jim Collins. The respondent recommending this text had been introduced to the reading in a management course. Despite some age and potentially problematic content the book holds up to present a view of a managerial style that is worth a close read. I have also found value in some readings specifically focused on a niche like student management in an academic library setting. One title to recommend is Mentoring & Managing Students in the Academic Library by Michelle Reale. Reale’s title speaks very specifically to the unique circumstances of student management.

The next best thing to taking courses during an MLIS career is to seek courses elsewhere. Some communities offer courses in person at nonprofit training centers. Opportunities for growth and development may also be offered at your institution, and actively seeking those courses from your own supervisor may be the only barrier to enrollment. Mentoring can also be a great way to gain insight into managerial styles and techniques. NMRT offers a mentoring program which can allow you to interface with an experienced librarian who may offer an alternative viewpoint based on their position or setting. Some larger libraries also offer formal mentoring programs and pair a seasoned librarian with a new comer. Both types of formal mentorship arrangements can augment the experience of a new supervisor.

If you aren’t able to set up a formal mentoring arrangement, looking to listservs can offer similar support and advice. In my role as a student supervisor, I have found the listserv LIB-CIRCPLUS@princeton.edu to be extremely helpful as a sounding-board and a place to share tips and tricks. Although I don’t work in a circulation department currently, the lib-circplus listserv contains ample content on student supervision. One of the discussion respondents wrote that some friends had worked to set up a community web page and associated listserv for aspiring or new library directors. The website is: www.librarydirectors.org and the listserv signup can also be accessed from the website.

Seeking support from groups can be difficult if those groups don’t exist within your community. Taking the initiative to form a group such as the library directors group or an informal face to face meet up can reveal others within your community desiring the same type of support. If a group meeting seems like a heavy commitment to add to an already hectic work level, informal peer-to-peer mentoring can also fill the need. Among the most important aspects to becoming a supervisor or working in management is to feel supported in your new role and to find resources and people to look to when you need advice.

Resources & Experiences Shared:

  • Management responsibilities can be an unexpected addition to current tasks
  • Courses during MLIS on management or other management training targeted at the nonprofit sector
  • Read Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Website and listserv for new library directors: http://www.librarydirectors.org/
  • Take advantage of formal and informal mentoring opportunities
  • YouTube videos can be very helpful, a search for ‘new manager training’ is a good place to start in addition to New Manager Training – Excellent Manager Training tips

01.09.17

Alternative Voices: An Interview with April Hathcock, Scholarly Communications Librarian at New York University

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:14 am by nmrtsecretary

By: Erin Prentiss

Alternative Voices: Promotes librarians’ participation, engagement, and involvement in matters affecting the profession. Alternative Voices welcomes all librarians to take part, but we place importance on including librarians whose voices are often not heard because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and religion.

Alternative Voices: An Interview with April Hathcock, Scholarly Communications Librarian at New York University

April Hathcock is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at New York University and a former lawyer.  She is the author of the impactful article “White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS” that appeared in the journal In the Library with the Lead Pipe in October 2015. You can find her on Twitter at @AprilHathcock and at her blog At the Intersections.

  1. Librarianship is a second career for you. What drew you to it?

After only three short years in private practice with a large global law firm, I was feeling run down and burnt out with the legal work I was doing. I needed something that would allow me to continue doing the research, writing, and outreach that I loved but provided a better standard of living. I noticed that all our firm librarians were in around 8 and out the door by 5, and I thought, I should do that! I talk more about my transition in an upcoming volume from Rowman & Littlefield called Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library edited by Ray Pun and Davis Erin Anderson. It should be out mid-year.

  1. In your article “White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS” for In the Library with the Lead Pipe, you identify “playing at whiteness” as a major factor in the professional success of librarians from underrepresented populations, including your own. Can you define “playing at whiteness”?

“Playing at whiteness” is about wearing that mask that Paul Laurence Dunbar, prolific black poet, playwright, and novelist of the 19th and 20th century, refers to in his famous poem. It’s about hiding my true concerns as a black woman in order to come off as “safe” and “unassuming” to the white world I’m seeking to infiltrate. I give the answers they want to hear and promise to do the things they want done, but all the while, I’m planning and enacting my resistance against oppression and struggle for change. I had tremendous privilege growing up and still do, so it was easy for me to wear this mask when necessary. It’s a familiar costume that oppressed people have been wearing since the early days of this country, from slavery and onwards.

  1. What did “playing at whiteness” look like in your path to librarianship?

For me it was largely a matter of toning down the outward expressions of my radicalism while still keeping my thoughts and actions steered toward dismantling oppression in whatever way I could at the moment. I worked at a public library that wouldn’t allow homeless people to register for library cards with shelter addresses or PO boxes, and I’d sign them up anyway. I worked in an academic law library that devalued students of color, and as the only librarian of color, I made a point of reaching out to them and letting them know they could come to me. Now, I focus a lot of my personal research and time on building a more inclusive profession. All the while, I can sit in administrative meetings and hobnob with the highest denizens sitting above the glass ceiling without causing them to clutch their pearls in fear. They welcome me in and encourage my work, and I’m able to further the cause of chipping away at oppression a bit at a time.

  1. I’m interested in some of your writing choices here. You wrote this article in the first person and use a variety of sources, including journal articles and other traditional forms of scholarship, personal essays, informally published material like blogs and tweets, and your own experiences.  Why did you take this approach?

I had recently read Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought and bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress, and both women talk extensively about alternative ways of knowing. Personally, I’ve been going through a period of working to incorporate my traditional knowledge with my academic work, and being able to work with informal material, including my mother’s own words, was powerful for me. My work is about more than an academic exercise; it directly relates to my day-to-day life, so writing informally and personally while within the academic sphere took on extra meaning for me.

  1. Please say more about alternative ways of knowing for those who are not familiar with that phrase.

Sure. Alternative ways of knowing acknowledges that intellectualism and scholarship can take place outside of the walls of higher education. It can exist in the life philosophy of a grandparent, or the lived experiences of a community member, or the anecdotes of a friend. Thus, in addition to referring to published work from scholarly books or articles, a scholar can and should consider bringing in works from blogs or social media or conversations to help make their argument.

  1. Race remains a very sensitive topic of discussion in the United States. Did you ever worry about any possible backlash while working on this article? Why or why not?

I was raised by two people who imbued me with an extremely (maybe overly?) healthy dose of self-respect and self-worth, so I have to say I didn’t once worry about the backlash from this article. All I thought was, “This is an important journey I’m on and I need to share it because it could help others.” Also, it didn’t hurt that I was on vacation when it came out; drinking pina coladas on the beach in Costa Rica does wonders for your lack of worry. In any event, some of the backlash did hit me pretty hard when I returned to the “real world,” especially some of the hurtful things said by fellow people of color. But I realize that not everyone is ready or willing to have these tough conversations, and while that can be frustrating at times, it’s also okay. We all take our own journeys. I’m extremely grateful to my family, reviewers, colleagues, and friends at In the Library with the Lead Pipe for having my back and keeping me pumped up with positivity.

  1. How has this article been received? Has the response been similar to or different from your expectations prior to publication?

Honestly, I was surprised so many people read it. It was eye-opening to see all the discussion it has engendered. And I love how much those discussions are continuing. I’ve been asked to speak at several conferences coming up, including the LACUNY Institute on racism in May, and I’m so honored and thrilled. The conversations that have begun far exceed my expectations. This article has allowed me to make some really wonderful connections with others who care about and are working through these issues.

  1. How would you advise social justice-oriented LIS practitioners who are considering publishing or presenting work that critically examines the field?

Do what you can, where you can, how you can. It’s okay not to feel you have the power or voice to say certain things. It’s okay to engage in self-care. Just know that when you feel ready enough, you can and should speak up. The rest of us are out here listening for you, ready to support you.

Alternative Voices: Promotes librarians’ participation, engagement, and involvement in matters affecting the profession. Alternative Voices welcomes all librarians to take part, but we place importance on including librarians whose voices are often not heard because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and religion.

Erin Prentiss is the Outreach Services Manager at Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System.

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01.03.17

The NMRT Resume Review Service Committee is Recruiting Volunteer Resume Reviewers & Booth Greeters

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:10 pm by nmrtsecretary

The NMRT Resume Review Service Committee is recruiting volunteer resume reviewers and booth greeters as well as taking resume review appointments for the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting! Visit our informational website for more details or keep reading:

Are you on the job market? Is your resume rusty? Are you attending Midwinter in Atlanta? Join us in the ALA JobList Placement & Career Development Center on Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22 to get your resume reviewed by an expert! Walk-in reviews are accommodated as time allows, and we encourage signing up for an appointment in advance. Advanced sign-up for appointments closes on Tuesday, January 17 at 5:00 PM CST.

We also seek volunteer resume reviewers and booth greeters! If you’ve been a hiring manager or served on a search committee, consider signing up to volunteer an hour or two as a Resume Reviewer at Midwinter 2017! Not ready to review but still want to be part of the action? The Resume Review Service also seeks Booth Greeters! Booth Greeters make sure the resume review service runs smoothly by checking in reviewers and reviewees. Volunteering as a Booth Greeter is a great opportunity for library school students and new professionals; it looks good on a resume and provides you with an excellent chance to network. Sign-up today and visit our informational website for more details. Sign-ups for these opportunities close Sunday, January 15 at 5:00 PM CST.
If you have any questions, please contact NMRT Resume Review Service Committee Chair Brandy Horne & Assistant Chair Hannah Buckland at resumereviewnmrt@gmail.com. Thank you!

Apply now for the ALA NMRT Student Chapter of the Year Award!

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:01 pm by nmrtsecretary

In the spirit of ALA’s New Member Round Table, the Student Chapter of the Year Award is presented in recognition of a chapter‘s outstanding contributions to the American Library Association, their school, and the profession. The purpose of the award is to increase student involvement in ALA through student chapters, and to recognize future leaders in the profession. The Student Chapter winner will receive $1,000 to help defray travel expenses to ALA Annual; the winning chapter and the runner up will each receive a certificate. Both will be recognized at the NMRT Student Reception at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL. The seven categories of Student Chapter of the Year Award criteria include:

  • Membership Engagement
  • Programs
  • Communications
  • Leadership
  • Financial Health
  • Awards and Honors
  • Student Chapter Advisor Statement

All ALA Student Chapters in good standing are eligible to receive the ALA Student Chapter of the Year Award. There is no limit on the number of times a student chapter may win the award. Any ALA Student Chapter advisor, Student Chapter officer or member, or ALA member may nominate a Student Chapter, and self-nominations are encouraged.

Please e-mail the completed form and any supporting documents in either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format to the committee chair, Kristen Mapes (kmapes86@gmail.com). Deadline for submitting completed nomination forms is March 3, 11:59pm EST. All nominations will be acknowledged upon receipt.

More information, including the nomination form, may be found here:http://www.ala.org/nmrt/oversightgroups/comm/awscotya/scotya