Our new NMRT president Megan Hodge has set this year’s theme for the organization as “Being Influential at All Stages of Your Career,” a perfect theme for an organization that encourages leadership, professional development, and connecting with others in the field. Whether you’re new to NMRT or a long-time member, I think it can be helpful to be reminded just how much being a member of NMRT can help you influence the library science field positively and move toward your goals. Here are my top ten NMRT resources for new librarians—explore and become inspired!
1) Opportunities for leadership through committees
One of the best ways to both contribute to NMRT and gain valuable leadership skills is to join one of its committees, or even chair one. Committee appointments are closed now, but click here for a huge list of committees to consider getting involved in next year! Contact our vice president Kirby McCurtis if you’re interested and she can save your name for committee appointment time.
2) NMRT Mentoring Program
As a new librarian, if you’ve ever felt awash in new responsibilities and ideas and don’t know who to ask about them, the NMRT Mentoring Program might be perfect for you. You’re matched up with a more experienced librarian and given the opportunity to ask for advice from a wiser member of the library world. I’ve used the program and it really helped me write my first peer-reviewed article—I would highly recommend it!
3) ALA Annual and Midwinter Programs and Social Events
If you plan on heading to ALA Annual or Midwinter, don’t forget to check the NMRT website for a list of programs relevant to NMRT members, programs presented by NMRT, and a guide to the host city. NMRT also puts together a pre-conference president’s program at ALA Annual and a reception for members at the Midwinter conference, which is a great way to meet other new librarians and enjoy some delicious appetizers.
4) Resume Review Service
Regardless of the type of library you work in (or want to work in), the resume review service allows you to get valuable feedback on your resume from an experience librarian. This service is even available between ALA conferences—all you have to do is sign up via email and your reviewer will communicate with you virtually. And (as if that weren’t helpful enough), the Resume Review site also lists a whole host of helpful resources for job-hunters.
5) Footnotes & Endnotes
Looking to get published? NMRT has two publications, Footnotes and Endnotes, and both are great starting places for new librarians. Footnotes is the official newsletter of NMRT and is a great place to try out publishing a non-peer-reviewed article, book review, or recap of a conference. Check out previous issues here. Endnotes is a peer-reviewed journal that provides an excellent opportunity for new members who don’t have a lot of publishing experience to get an academic article polished and published.
6) NMRT List-serv and Online Discussions
One of my personal favorite NMRT resources is the list-serv for members. Those signed up for the list-serv get great advice, access to resources, and job postings from other members, as well as updates about all of the resources listed here. Also, every month NMRT puts together a discussion about a topic of interest to new librarians and the resulting comments are a fantastic resource for everyone involved.
In addition to providing the NMRT list-serv, NMRT also attempts to reach out to other organizations through list-serv liaisons. These liaisons share content with the NMRT list-serv from other organizations that might be pertinent to NMRT members and vice versa. That way, NMRT list-serv members can really stay up-to-date on topics of interest even if they originally came from elsewhere.
7) Lots of online resources
The NMRT website offers lots of great resources for members, including a keyword searchable archive of all of the NMRT policies, meeting minutes, and other records. If you ever have questions about why NMRT operates the way it does, this is the place to go!
8) Professional development grants and scholarships
We can all agree that attending ALA annual is an awesome way to develop professionally and connect with lots of other librarians; however, for many librarians the cost is really preventative. To encourage professional development opportunities for its members, NMRT offers a few grants and scholarships for attending ALA conferences. The big one is the Mango Languages/NMRT Professional Development Grant, which helps defray the costs of attending ALA Annual and gives the recipient lots of opportunities to network and contribute to NMRT through conference involvement. Another grant to watch for is the Shirley Olofson Memorial Award, which helps the recipient cover the cost of attending ALA Annual.
In addition to grants and scholarships, NMRT presents several annual awards to members who show extra potential for leadership in the profession. The Student Chapter of the Year Award recognizes a student ALA chapter that has gone above and beyond in its leadership and membership engagement, and the Annual Conference Professional Development Attendance Award gives the recipient the opportunity to attend a ticketed event at ALA Annual for no cost—pretty cool!
10) Chances to connect with other new librarians through social media
This is where I come in! As your NMRT secretary, it’s my job to share with you information about all of these fabulous resources via our social media outlets. I don’t want our social media pages to just be a place to push out information though—they should be places of discussion and participation! To help accomplish this goal, in the near future you’ll see some cool new things on NMRT social media like weekly member spotlights, blog posts from your lovely executive board members and committee chairs, and more discussion in our brand new Facebook group. Take advantage of these resources too by participating in discussions and sharing the interesting, relevant things you find online with your fellow NMRT members. No time like the present—go ahead and start contributing by sharing what your favorite ALA resources are on our Facebook group!