Webinar: Special Library Job Opportunities

February 20, 2019 11:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this webinar:

Join us to learn why special libraries are so special! Thinking
of working in a special library? Need more details on what it means to work in
a special library? Join Meredith P. Goins, MIS from Oak Ridge Associated
Universities (ORAU) to learn more on what employers are looking for, places to
look for job openings, as well as the myriad of skills required to be a part
of a special library team.

Webinar Speaker: Meredith P. Goins

Meredith P.  Goins is the Group Manager for Research & Evaluation in the
Scientific Assessment and Workforce Development program at Oak Ridge
Associated Universities (ORAU).  ORAU is a consortium of more than 100
universities that provides innovative scientific and technical solutions for
the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agencies to advance national
priorities in science, health and education.

She manages two teams:
1. Research Services which identifies and recruits subject matter
experts (SME) to serve as reviewers for merit reviews by utilizing an internal
database and tools such as Pivot, Scopus, Web of Science and social media
2. Assessment & Evaluation which evaluates national and international
STEM focused programs, processes and services focusing specifically on
federally-funded programs and services at national laboratories and at

Register in advance for this sure to be useful webinar!

Posted in Professional Development Opportunity | Leave a comment

January 2019 NMRT Live Chat – Online Discussion

The discussion this January centered around applying and interviewing for library positions. No matter where a library employee is in their career cycle, applications and interviewing are a common theme. Whether it is a new graduate applying for their first job, an established library worker looking to move to another position, or a hiring librarian interviewing potential employees, the application and interviewing process can often be stressful. However, fellow library workers are often a great source of knowledge and encouragement.

Applying for Your First Position

Discussion members recollected their first experiences applying and interviewing for libraries, noting lessons they learned during the process. One of the most common themes was that of patience. Regardless of when or where the applicants applied, the majority noted that it is often a long, involved process that involves changing your expectations on job positions. Many also noted that rejection is part of the application process, and to keep perspective when you don’t receive the job you wanted. Persistence was the second major theme to the discussion. Many members noted that it took a long time to find a position that worked for both them and the interviewing library.

Doing your research ahead of time was also suggested. Examining both the library and its parent organization, such as a city or university, is suggested not only to get a better idea of the job, but also if it is a good fit for you. Reaching out to fellow library workers is also suggested. Mentors or library management can help a new applicant review and revise their resume, or give them suggestions for interviews. Lastly, enthusiasm and personality have been deciding factors in the hiring process. Ensuring you present a positive but accurate demeanor for your interviewers can make the difference between receiving a job and a rejection letter.

On the Other Side – Being the Interviewer

A few of the discussion members were kind enough to share their stories of being the interviewer in the application process. Interviewers commented that there can be many reasons a person was not hired, and applicants should not be discouraged if they are not chosen. The theme of researching an institution ahead of time was emphasized again, with one mentioning the library’s mission statement in particular. Having prior knowledge of the library you are interviewing at shows initiative and professionalism. It was also mentioned more than once that interviewers are often looking to see if an applicant will fit into the library culture, not just if they know the mechanics of the job. Customizing both your cover letter and resume to each individual position is also highly recommended by the discussion members. Preparing questions particular to the position and library ahead of time is also suggested.

Applying Internally

Applying internally at an institution you already work at can have its own set of benefits and complications. Discussion members noted that competing against your coworkers can often be tricky and uncomfortable if not handled correctly. Remaining professional in the face of these uncomfortable situations should be a priority, as well as maintaining good relations before and after the interview. Members also reminded applicants to hold internal applications and interviews to the same standard as outside applications and interviews. Remember to craft a personalized cover letter and resume even if the interviewers known you and your work personally, and try to find something that will set you apart from other internal applicants. As with the external interviewing process, discussion members reminded applicants to not be discouraged by rejection.

Applying and Interviewing at Different Types of Libraries

The application and interviewing process can differ widely between public, academic, and special libraries. While there were few special libraries mentioned in the discussion, discussion members analyzed the differences between the public and academic library application process. Both interview processes usually started with some form of phone or video interview before inviting applicants to interview in person. Many noted that public library interviews can vary widely, tending toward more informal than academic, and public libraries usually do not require a lengthy interview process over an entire day. If applying for a children’s librarian position, applicants may be required to do mock storytime for interviewers. In contrast, academic libraries often have a full-day interview process that may involve an entire committee of interviewers and meals. With both interview processes, it was mentioned that going to the library in question ahead of time to review the library before the interview, and gather specific questions to ask the interviewers. This is also a chance to observe staff, which can give you a sense for the culture of a library.

Emerging Trends in Library Positions

Requirements for library positions have changed significantly over the years with the emergence of new technologies and changing cultural landscapes. Discussion members mentioned several trends, including a need for technology skills, adaptability on the job, supervisory experience, a second Masters for academic librarianship, and project management skills. Also noted was an emerging trend to drop the MLS as a requirement for librarian positions, or to accept experience in other areas as an equivalent qualifier.

The Changing Landscape

While many discussion members noted the difficulties of applying and interviewing for librarian positions, the majority of them were also positive about the future of librarianship and their own personal careers. Several noted that while the application and interviewing process can be strenuous, they each eventually found the right job for them, and those who are still searching are hopeful about their prospects. Despite the changing requirements for library positions, such as technological or supervisory skills, discussion members noted that adaptability is key to landing the right position.

What has been your experience when applying and interviewing in libraries? What do you see in the future of librarianship?

Submitted by Katie Wheeler

Posted in NMRT Discussion | Leave a comment

Get to know ALA:

Jayne Blodgett
James A. Michener Library
Assistant Dean (University of Northern Colorado)
Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
CLS Communication and Membership Committee Chair

Jayne Blodgett

Describe how long you have been on the committee and what initially interested you in joining.

I have been on the committee for a little over a year. I was interested in CLS because although I work at a doctoral granting university, we have a strong commitment to undergraduate success, which corresponds well to CLS. I also believe it is important to participate in committee work at the national level to develop a more complete understanding of the profession and the work being done by ALA. Chairing a subcommittee also seemed like work that I could do after having served on a state ACRL board.

What is the most engaging part of the work you do as part of your committee?

I enjoy the communication between committee members. Most members are assigned some sort of task (maintaining the blog, updating social media, etc.), so we all work independently. However, there are often times where someone will need assistance with something, so we’ll have an interesting email exchange or phone call. It’s a been a great way to get to know folks from a variety of institutions in diverse fields of librarianship.

What recommendations would you have for a new ALA member who is unsure about how to get involved?

One of the best pieces of advice I was given as a new librarian was to “just say yes,” so in this case, I think the best way to get involved is to volunteer to serve on a committee that interests you. In my experience there is always work to be done!

How do you balance committee work with your current library position?

Luckily for me, the other members of the committee are really dedicated and have taken on much of the day-to-day work like posting to social media, so my work load hasn’t been affected too much. There are certain times, like when the newsletter is due, that are busier than other times, but overall, I find it relatively easy to balance the workload.

Posted in Get to Know ALA | Leave a comment

NMRT 2019-2020 Candidates : Leadership Development Director

NMRT Candidate Q & A – Annice Sevett

Question 1: Why are you interested in this position?

NMRT presents a wonderful opportunity for new ALA members and those new to the profession to get involved in the organization. One of the many beneficial aspects of NMRT that I found invaluable when I was entering the profession was the opportunities for professional leadership, especially through committee work. As the Leadership Development Director, I will work to make sure these opportunities are available and communicated to members. I want to help members understand the value of professional leadership and encourage them to take on positions and opportunities for professional development and leadership. After being on many NMRT and PLA committees and enjoying the work I have done, I would like to continue my involvement with NMRT by serving our members on the board.

Question 2: What skills and experiences do you bring to the position?

I have served on numerous NMRT committees since 2013, including the Annual Conference Professional Development Award Committee and the Online Discussion Forum Committee, two committees that the Leadership Development Director oversees. Currently, I am a co-chair of the Student and Student Chapter Outreach Committee and serve on a PLA committee. The variety of committees I have served on and chaired has given me experience working within NMRT and other divisions within ALA. The experience of serving on a variety of committees will be very beneficial for serving on the NMRT board as I understand the duties, benefits, and challenges of serving on and chairing committees. The skills I have gained throughout my time on committees translate well into being successful in a board position.

I am currently the Assistant Library Director for a small public library, focusing on overall operations and adult services. Previously, I worked at two different public libraries as a reference librarian. The experience working within three different library systems has provided me insight into professional development and skills in working with all types of professionals. As a supervisor in libraries, I have always encouraged my employees to seek professional leadership opportunities and have given them the time to do so. Through my professional work, I have learned time management and communication skills that will benefit NMRT.

Question 3: As Leadership Development Director (more information), you will oversee the activities of committees that support & encourage professional leadership in NMRT members. What do you believe are three biggest challenges that new librarians face when taking on a leadership role, and why? How will you work to develop leadership skills of NMRT members?

I believe that the three biggest challenges that new librarians face when taking on a leadership role are communication, lack of experience (perceived and/or actual), and organizational structure.

  1. Communication – Communication starts with the knowledge of opportunities. This is something I believe NMRT can be better at, and something I hope to highlight as the Leadership Development Director. Many members are unaware of the opportunities that NMRT presents. Once in a leadership role, communication with the board can be intimidating. When I first began chairing committees, I was afraid to ask questions and highlight the work we were doing. As the Leadership Development Director, I will work with my committee chairs and other leaders to encourage communication from all members and value the openness and feedback that is being given.
  2. Lack of Experience – Lack of experience is something that holds back many individuals from applying for leadership positions and, once in a position, can limit one’s confidence to speak out for fear of not being heard. I hope to address this by creating a culture of openness and encouraging everyone to get involved and start their professional leadership journey, wherever they see themselves fitting in. I will encourage participation in NMRT discussions, NMRT committee work, and other avenues NMRT provides to give a voice to all our members.
  3. Organizational Structure – New leaders are often confused about the organizational structure and where they fit in NMRT. This often holds individuals back from really excelling in their positions and can be an intimidating factor in applying for positions. As Leadership Development Director, I will work to make the NMRT structure more transparent and available to all members, so that if and when they choose to get more involved, they are familiar with the way the organization works. Since NMRT works very similar to ALA and other ALA divisions, this knowledge will serve members as they move on from NMRT.

I hope to use my experience and skills in this position to address these three issues, as well as others that may come up during my term.

Question 4: What do you hope to learn if elected?

I hope to learn from the NMRT members I will interact with as the Leadership Development Director. Members provide important information about the roundtable and help shape the priorities of the board. I also hope to learn more about the workings of NMRT and how I can best serve our members in this role.

Question 5: If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?

I plan to use a few different time management skills to ensure that my NMRT duties will be a priority. I will set deadlines for important work, and ensure that these deadlines are met. I am known to be a maker of lists, and I will use lists for my NMRT work. This will help me keep up with my responsibilities and ensure they remain a priority. I will also maintain communication with the committees I oversee and the other NMRT board members to make myself available and able to help if needed.This communication will make me aware of any questions or concerns and I will be able to address them in a timely manner. I will set aside specific time in my schedule to work on NMRT responsibilities when needed, understanding that I may need to rearrange a few priorities to ensure the duties are complete.

Posted in ALA NMRT Elections | Leave a comment

NMRT 2019-2020 Candidates : Vice-President/President-Elect

ALA elections are here and this year NMRT is electing a Vice-President/President-Elect, Secretary, and Leadership Development Director. Below, our candidate for VP/President-Elect answers a few questions about their plans for the position. More information on these positions can be found here.

NMRT Candidate Q & A – Jennifer Wilhelm

Question 1: Why are you interested in this position?

I became an ‘official librarian’ in the fall of 2015, and immediately signed up to volunteer with ALA. I’m one of those odd ducks who enjoys committee work and I have a sincere desire to help new librarians become involved and active in ALA. Although I am a very collaborative person, I also enjoy leadership, and the opportunity to help lead and guide the NMRT is exciting! Despite being the sole nominee for this position, I sincerely want your vote and hope to prove I will be a good representative of NMRT to the larger ALA organization and members.

Question 2: What skills and experiences do you bring to the position?

My primary experience with ALA service has been through the NMRT. One of my first committee assignments was the Communications Committee, which is charged with soliciting and producing content for the NMRT Blog. The next year, I was appointed Chair of that committee, and enjoyed collaborating with other NMRT Committee Chairs to create new content. I was asked to run for Secretary last year, and agreed since it seemed a natural fit and progression from the Communications Committee. I went from helping solicit the content to being in charge of the social media posts of NMRT. I take this duty seriously, and do my best to show NMRT in a positive, welcoming light. This position also places me on the NMRT Executive Board. Attending these meetings, working with the VP/President/Past-President and others, and learning how NMRT is run has been immensely helpful and informative. All of this taken together has prepared me to help lead NMRT and continue to help new members in ALA feel welcome!

Question 3:

  • As Vice-President/President-Elect (more information) one of your responsibilities will be preparing for your Presidential term the following year. How will you work with the current President to advance her/his initiatives while planning for your own presidency?

Thankfully, I have had the opportunity to get to know both Nicole Spoor and Nicole LeMoreaux through our committee work in NMRT. They are both wonderful leaders and have been excellent mentors during my time in NMRT. I know I can work well with them, and believe Nicole L. will be an excellent President. We have already established a good working relationship, and I expect that to continue when I am Vice President. As Vice President, I would like to work with Nicole L. to determine her top initiatives, and then work within these initiatives to best serve the NMRT and achieve as much as possible during my term.

Question 4: What do you hope to learn if elected?

I’d like to learn more about ALA as a whole: how the round tables fit in to the ALA structure, do the round tables work together, etc. On top of that, new knowledge about how to run a round table or similarly large organization, how to stay connected with the rest of the Executive Board and how to stay on top of the initiatives. I know a surface-level amount about each committee in NMRT, and would like to know more about how their charges and how we can create collaborations to effect greater change. Essentially, I believe I will learn a lot about time management, networking, and leadership.

Question 5: If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?

I am currently NMRT Secretary, and I do my very best to make sure that the social media and blog posts go up in a timely fashion. In order to not get overwhelmed, I schedule posts ahead of time in bulk, and put aside one morning a week dedicated entirely to Secretary work. When it comes to last-minute or emergency items, just like with any other part of my job, I find it important to take a step back and see what must be taken care of, what can wait until I have more time to dedicate to it, and what can be delegated to someone to handle. Although I imagine Vice-President duties are more intensive, I would continue my habit of scheduling purposeful blocks of time to handle what comes my way. I have always considered service a priority in my work life, and have dedicated time accordingly.

Posted in ALA NMRT Elections | Leave a comment

NMRT 2019-2020 Candidates : Secretary

ALA elections are here and this year NMRT is electing a Vice-President/President-Elect, Secretary, and Leadership Development Director. Below, our candidates for Secretary answer a few questions about their plans for the position. More information on these positions can be found here.

NMRT Candidate Q & A – Abigail Phillips 

Question 1: Why are you interested in this position?

I have been a member of New Members Round Table since I joined ALA. This round table provided me with one of my first opportunities for committee work as a new ALA member. My previous work on NMRT committees had encouraged me to take a larger leadership role within the round table by running for the Secretary position. In part I am interested in this position, because I would like to give back to NMRT what it has provided me in professional and collegial support. Serving in this position would allow me to delve more into the work of NMRT and the larger work of round tables within ALA.

Question 2: What skills and experiences do you bring to the position?

I currently serve as Secretary/Treasurer for Library Research Round Table (LRRT). In this position I have learned a great deal about the roles and responsibilities of being a Secretary, particularly by becoming more of a voice on the executive committee. Before being elected to this position, I served as LRRT’S Member-at-Large. This early role introduced me to how an executive committee for a round table functions and the work involved to complete the important tasks and duties of different committee. From 2015-2016, I served as the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Board Fellow which allowed me a year’s worth of opportunities to understand board work and all its intricacies and challenges. Currently, I am the YALSA’s Division Councilor, a role in which I both represent YALSA on ALA Council and participate as a YALSA board member.

Aside from ALA, service-wise, I am involved in the Youth Services Special Interest Group (SIG) in the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), the Treasurer for the Information Policy and Ethics SIG of the American Society of Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), and, more recently, on the MLIS Program and Curriculum Committee in the School of Information Studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. All of these experiences have helped me grow as an individual, a critical thinker, and as a leader. I’ve become skilled at approaching a problem, situation, and discussion with a thoughtful and forward-thinking approach.

Question 3: As Secretary (more information) your responsibilities include coordinating NMRT social networking presence on the appropriate tools. What do you feel is the best method to get information to the NMRT membership, and why? What is your plan for coordinating NMRT’s social networking presence?

I teach (and have taught) a Social Media Management course for Library Juice Academy over the past three years. This course is geared towards information professionals seeking to improve the social media presence of their library, museum, archive, etc. Additionally, I have taught as an adjunct instructor at Florida State University for a similar but lengthier course on social media management that dug deeply into different approaches to social media engagement and content development. When I worked as a public librarian, I managed the Twitter and Facebook accounts for our library system. I have experience with social media management both as a professional librarian and as an LIS instructor.

When thinking about a social media plan for NMRT, I would suggest boosting the current Twitter presence by going a bit beyond what is already being offered. Member highlights and blog posts are wonderful but a consistent and highly targeted style would help increase engagement and connect strongly with members. I’ve always used (as public librarian and academic) and encourage the use of a social media calendar. With posts planned and already created, it helps create that cohesive message that will greatly benefit NMRT by building membership, sharing goals, and news. However, there is always flexibility with a social media calendar depending on current events, unexpected announcements, etc. Social media requires a close eye which I am confident that NMRT and I can maintain.

Question 4: What do you hope to learn if elected?

I hope to continue to grow as a leader, finding new and innovative approaches to helping and mentoring young MLIS students, librarians, library workers, and my colleagues. My previous work on committees and boards have been a wonderful way for me to become more confident in sharing my thoughts, opinions, and concerns. By being elected to the Secretary position, I will learn even more.

Question 5: If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?

Graduate school and my current professional position taught me quite a bit about time management. As part of my job as faculty, service within the profession is one component. I have found balancing research, teaching, and service challenging, but I have developed a system where I can divide my time to each of these duties. I have become adept at seeking out new ways to ensure that I can maintain my commitments and the service that I enjoy.

NMRT Secretary Candidate Q & A – Rachael Clukey

Question 1: Why are you interested in this position?

I love being involved in ALA and especially with NMRT. I think I am now ready to step up to a leadership position in the roundtable and have more responsibility. Being secretary actually sounds fun to me!

Question 2: What skills and experiences do you bring to the position?

I was my Student Government Secretary at my college several years ago. Also, I have been on various committees through ALA and Ohio Library Council and am a Librarian member of the Exhibits Roundtable board.

Question 3: As Secretary (more information) your responsibilities include coordinating NMRT social networking presence on the appropriate tools. What do you feel is the best method to get information to the NMRT membership, and why? What is your plan for coordinating NMRT’s social networking presence?

As far as getting information to the NMRT membership, I think that e-mail, blog posts and Facebook are all excellent. The listserv through e-mail is my top choice, however, since so many ALA NMRT members check their e-mail many times throughout the day. Less people probably read the blog and Facebook posts but I still think that they are both important. I would definitely prioritize the NMRT member of the week posts for the blog and Facebook. Also, I would plan to increase our presence on Twitter and possibly Instagram, as well.

Question 4: What do you hope to learn if elected?

If elected, I hope to learn a lot actually. I hope and plan to learn more about the ALA organization as a whole and more about NMRT. I also hope to learn more about all of the committees on NMRT.

Question 5: If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?

I am very self motivated, focused and prioritize my tasks. I also have great decision making skills. I use a paper/printed planner and also Google calendars.


Posted in ALA NMRT Elections | Leave a comment

Alternative Voices: kYmberly Keeton

The Alternative Voices Feature is brought to you by the NMRT’s Membership, Diversity, Promotion, and Recruitment committee. It is meant to give a platform to the voices of librarians from underrepresented communities in the library field. The format of the feature is a journalistic question and answer format. It provides information that the librarian wants people to know about them, plus their thoughts on the current state of the field of librarianship.

kYmberly Keeton

Name – kYmberly Keeton, M.L.S.

Contact Information – kymberly.keeton@austinhistory.gov | (512) 974-7390

City & State – Austin, Texas

Position Title – African American Community Archivist & Librarian

Length of time in the library field – 4 years

Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you attend college? What degrees do you have? What programs (undergraduate or graduate) prepared you for your current position? Tell us about your position and what you do? What is your definition of diversity, or equity or inclusion?

My name is kYmberly Keeton and I am a native of Fort Worth, Texas. I remember when I was an undergraduate my college professor told me that it was okay to have many facets to my professional repertoire including being an African American writer, artist, librarian, archivist, curator, and cultural activist. I graduated from the University of Houston in 2005 with a BA degree in English-Creative Writing with a minor in African American Studies. I also received a Baccalaureate degree in my major and an African Americans Studies Graduate Certificate from my alma mater. I began my professional career quickly as the graduate student coordinator for the UNT-Masters of Library and Information Science, Houston, Texas-Cohort. In 2014, I received my Masters of Library Science degree and Digital Content Management Graduate Certificate. A few months later, I began my journey as an academic librarian at a Historically Black College University in the Midwest. Currently, I am the African American Community Archivist & Librarian at the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, in Texas.

I am unapologetically a Black woman who understands I work in a profession that does not look like me. In November 2018, I gave my first professional speech as the New York Library Association’s Annual Conference Luncheon Speaker. I expressed to those in attendance that my ancestors already paid for my Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ticket during the Middle Passage, Slavery, Reconstruction, and during the Civil Rights Movement. I take pride in the fact that there are close to 300,000 librarians in this country and I am one 6,000 that represents the African American population in these United States. I believe that my experiences in life as a whole prepared me for such a time as this in my professional career. I will always be a Black woman and I will not pacify anyone’s ignorance or behavior when it comes to my identity. I have come to understand the human condition and my role in ensuring others that my abilities will always help rather and not hinder.

What is your current role?

I am the newly appointed African American Community Archivist & Librarian at the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, in Austin, Texas (the state capital). I have the opportunity to document and curate the African American narrative through acquiring and processing archival collections, be a cultural fixture in the city through outreach, create programming and form collaborative partnerships, and design and coordinate exhibitions.

I provide public liaison activities including lectures, media appearances and interviews related to African American history. I work in the reading room as a reference archivist/librarian once a week. By the way, one of the cool aspects about my job is that I get to collect oral histories and manage volunteers that are all native Austinites!

How are you becoming or staying in involved with the wider profession?

I believe that for me writing scholarly articles, taking part in professional development, seeking out my mentor, and staying involved as an advocate provides continued growth for my professional journey.

What groups or roundtables are you involved in with ALA?

Currently, I have been nominated to serve as an ALA Councilor-At-Large and would like your vote! In like manner, I am the 2018-2019 ACRL African American Studies Librarians Interest Group Convener. I serve on numerous committees in ALA and ACRL. I take pride in collaborating with my colleagues and helping push the profession to a higher level through committee work.

What knowledge would you like to impart on your colleagues?

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lorde

What advice would you give to new librarians from underrepresented groups?

Be diligent about professional development and attending conferences. Start volunteering on committees early and above all else have two or more mentors.

Is there anything more that you would like to see NMRT or ALA as a whole do as a method to ensure the promotion of diversity and alternative voices?

A digital working-toolkit about the promotion of diversity and alternative voices based on the NMRT roundtable/section would be nice! Remember to give me credit whenever this happens. 🙂

Do you feel that you experience microaggressions or microinvalidations in the workplace (whether from colleagues or patrons) and how do you respond to them?

Keeton, k. (2018). Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Librarianship & Archives: Creating Professional Narratives through Autobiography, Documentation, and Image. The New York Library Association 2018 Annual Conference. Keynote Luncheon Address. Rochester, New York. https://tinyurl.com/kKeetonspeech

What suggestions do you have to help other librarians make sure that their library is open and accessible to everyone?

Outreach is a major part of what we should be doing as librarians in the community. It has helped a lot in my current appointment and a part of my job description. Building relationships with community leaders, cultural leaders, and residents are the first approach to having a successful library, program, or department.

As it pertains to archives, I believe that you have a plethora of digital tools to get the word out about your collections and all mediums should be used in this case and partnering with other like-minded institutions to host interactive events, talks, and workshops are key.

What trends are most impacting the field right now?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Digital Libraries | Archives | Libraries as Spaces | Information Literacy in the Digital Age

If you had to attribute your success to one skill or trait, what would it be?

I am a confident woman that knows who she is and what she wants.

Do you have a blog/website?

My Digital Platform:

Professional Website: www.kreativeyoungmillionaire.met

Digital African American Art Library: www.artlibrarydeco.space

Online Hip Hop Lib Guide: www.hiphoplibguide.xyz

My Bibliography

  • Keeton, k. (2019). Creating African American G.L.A.M. Space with Collaborative Support from the Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion. Libraries and Nonprofits: Collaboration for the Public Good, (pp. 1-4). Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press/Litwin Books, LLC.
  • Keeton, k. (2018). Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Librarianship & Archives: Creating Professional Narratives through Autobiography, Documentation, and Image. The New York Library Association 2018 Annual Conference. Rochester, New York. Keynote Luncheon Address. https://tinyurl.com/kKeetonspeech
  • Keeton, k. (2018). African American Glam in Missouri: Creating a Successful Art Programming – Incubator Space at a Historically Black College Academic Library. The Relevant Library Essays on Adapting to Changing Needs, (pp. 119 -125). Jefferson: McFarland.
  • Keeton, k. (2018). Biographical Sketch of Josephine Beall Willson Bruce, 1853-1923, forthcoming online in Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, at http://wass.alexanderstreet.com.
  • Keeton, k. (2018). Biographical Sketch of Fannie Hagen Emanuel, 1871-1934, forthcoming online in Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, at http://wass.alexanderstreet.com.
  • Keeton, k. (2017). The Electric Life of Prince Rogers Nelson. Journal of African American Studies, 21(3), pp.528-532. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-017-9378-0
  • Keeton, k. (2017). The remix: Hip Hop Information Literacy Pedagogy in the 21st Century. Librarians with spines: information agitators in an age of stagnation, (pp. 111-119). Los Angeles, CA: HINCHAS Press.
  • Keeton, k. (2016). Hip Hop Librarianship: Leaders of the New School, A Comprehensive Bibliography. https://hiphoplibrarianship.wordpress.com/


Posted in Alternative Voices | Leave a comment

Authority File: Susan Jennings

This month, the NMRT Communications Committee is featuring the second installment of a new blog series—Authority File: Interviews with ALA Committee Chairs. This new series presents interviews of Chairs of different ALA committees, sharing their experiences as committee volunteers, their advice to new ALA members, and background about their committees. You may just discover your “next” ALA committee!

“Find your place and serve others and your profession to the fullest!”
–Susan Jennings, Chair, ALA Awards Committee

Susan Jennings, Chair of the ALA Awards Committee, has been a part of ALA for 13 years. She credits the NMRT for helping her gain her footing when she was a new ALA member and providing the springboard to serving on other committees. The following interview with Susan was conducted through email.

How long have you been an ALA member?

Since 2005 (13 years).

How long have you been Chair of the Awards Committee?
This is my first year.

Why did you decide to serve on this particular committee?
I was asked to serve by our incoming President. I was glad I was asked to serve since I love recognizing outstanding service and talent within librarianship.

Tell us about the Awards Committee—what are its goals or objectives, what are some of its current initiatives/projects?

The Awards Committee shepherds nineteen awards that are given across ALA to recognize outstanding service to libraries and our profession. The awards are sponsored across divisions and by a variety of individuals and vendors. These awards all recognize excellence across all libraries.

How is this committee structured?

The Awards Committee, guided by the chair and the ALA Staff Liaison, Cheryl Malden, oversees the work of the nineteen awards juries. It reviews proposals for the establishment of new awards and facilitates the awarding of the following awards at Annual Conference due to the work of the awards juries for each award.  (See the end of this post for complete list!)

What have been your favorite projects while serving on this committee?

I’m actually looking forward to my favorite project! I can’t wait to give the awards to well deserving libraries and individuals at ALA Annual Conference.

What do you enjoy most about serving on this committee?

As I said earlier, I love recognizing outstanding service and talent within librarianship.

What would you say is the typical time commitment for serving on this committee?
The work of the ALA Awards committee is done year round although it seems that the bulk of the work will be done September – March.

What would you say is important for someone joining this committee to know?
Two things:  It is very rewarding. And, volunteer for it while the volunteer window is open.

What advice would you give to someone considering serving on this committee in the future?
DO! It’s very rewarding!

Do you have any advice for new members of ALA in general?
Find your niche and get involved! NMRT provided me a wonderful way to cut my teeth on ALA Service. I was honored to serve as your NMRT Councilor and met and worked with wonderful people! From there, I had the confidence to explore other opportunities within ALA.

Is there anything I haven’t asked about that you would like to share?
Find your place and serve others and your profession to the fullest! You’ll be glad you did!


Under the Awards Committee, there are nineteen ALA Awards Juries:

Beta Phi Mu Award is presented to a faculty member of a library school or an individual for distinguished service to education in librarianship.  The award includes $1,000 and a gold-framed citation. Donor: Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honorary Society.

Y. Boyd Literary Awardis given to an author of a military novel that honors the service of American veterans during a time of war.   The award includes $5,000 and a gold-framed citation, Donor: William Young Boyd II.

Melvil Dewey Medal honors an individual or group for a recent creative professional achievement in library management, training, cataloging and classification or the tools and techniques of librarianship. The award includes $2,000, Dewey Medal and a gold-framed citation.  Donor: OCLC/Forest Press, Inc.

Ernest A. DiMattia Jr. Award for Innovation and Services to Community and Profession honors a public librarian who demonstrates leadership in anticipating emerging trends in services, products and technologies that will enhance the library’s position in its community.  The award includes $5,000, and a gold-framed citation.  Donor: The Family of Ernest A. DiMattia

EBSCO Midwinter – ALA Conference Sponsorship provides 5 – $1,500 awards to help librarians attend ALA’s Midwinter Meeting. To apply for this award, applicants must submit an essay of no more than 250 words addressing a specific topic.  Donor: EBSCO Information Services.

EBSCO Annual – ALA Conference Sponsorship provides 7- $1,000 awards to help librarians attend ALA’s Annual Conference. To apply for this award, applicants must submit an essay of no more than 250 words addressing, “How will attending this ALA Conference contribute to your professional development?”  Donor:  EBSCO Information Services.

Equality Award honors an individual or group for an outstanding contribution that promotes equality in the library profession.  The award includes $1,000 and a gold-framed citation.  Donor: Scarecrow Press, Inc., a member of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group

Excellence in Library Programming Award recognizes a library that demonstrates excellence in library programming by creating a cultural/thematic program type or program series, presented during the preceding year (September 1 – August 31), that engages the community in planning, sponsorship and/or active participation, addresses an identified community need, and has a measurable impact. The award includes $5,000 and a gold-framed citation. Donor: ALA Cultural Communities Fund.

Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award recognizes and honors a librarian for investing time and talent to make a positive change in the profession of librarianship.  The award includes $1,000 and a gold-framed citation. Donor: Elizabeth Futas Memorial Fund. The biannual award application deadline is Feb. 1, 2020.

Gale a Cengage Company Financial Development Award is given to a library organization that exhibited meritorious achievement in carrying out a library financial development project to secure new funding resources for a public or academic library.  The award includes $2,500 and a gold-framed citation. Donor: Gale a Cengage Company, Inc.

Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship honors an individual for contributing significantly to the public recognition and appreciation of librarianship through professional performance, teaching and/or writing.  The award includes $1,000 and a gold-framed citation.  Donor: Dr. Ken Haycock

Paul Howard Award for Courage honors a librarian, library board, library group or individual for exhibiting unusual courage benefiting library programs or services.  The award, given every two years, includes $1,000 and a gold-framed citation.  Donor: Paul Howard Memorial Fund.  The biannual award application deadline is Feb. 1, 2019.

ALA Information Today Library of the Future Award honors a library, library consortium, group of librarians or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting. The award includes $1,500 and a gold-framed citation.  Donor: Information Today, Inc.

Joseph W. Lippincott Award is given to a librarian for distinguished service to the profession.  To qualify, the librarian must display outstanding participation in professional library activities, notable published professional writing or other significant activities on behalf of the profession.  The award includes $1,500 and a gold-framed citation. Donor: Joseph W. Lippincott, III.

Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that encourages artistic expression of the disability experience for young children, middle school and teens.  One award will be given in each category.  The book must portray some aspect of living with a disability or that of a friend or family member, whether the disability is physical, mental or emotional. Three recipients will each receive $5,000 and a plaque.  Donor: Dr. Katherine Schneider.

Scholastic Library Publishing Award honors a librarian whose “unusual contribution” to the stimulation and guidance of children and young adult reading exemplifies outstanding achievement in the profession.  The award includes $1,000 and a gold-framed citation. Donor: Scholastic Library Publishing.

Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity honors a librarian who has faced adversity with dignity and integrity intact.  The award includes $10,000 and an odd symbolic object from Lemony Snicket’s private stash.  Donor: Daniel Handler a.k.a. Lemony Snicket.

Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children honors an individual who has shown exceptional understanding and support of library service to children while having general management/supervisory/ administrative responsibility that has included public library service to children in its scope.  The recipient will receive a plaque and recognition artifact.  Donor: Peggy Sullivan.

H.W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant is awarded to a library organization for a program to further its staff development goals and objectives.  The ward includes $3,500 and a gold-framed citation.  Donor: EBSCO Publishers.

For general information about these and other ALA awards, visit http://www.ala.org/awardsgrants/

Submitted by: Alexandra Loewen

Posted in Authority Files | Leave a comment

Get to Know ALA: Mimi Lee

Mimi Lee

Mimi Lee
New Jersey State Library
Diversity & Literacy Consultant

Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT)
Immediate Past Chair (2018-2019)

Describe how long you have been on the committee and what initially interested you in joining.

My first encounter with ALA was back in 2001 when I attended my first ALA Annual Conference as I was nearing graduation from library school. It was an overwhelming but exhilarating experience to meet so many like-minded people sharing and working for common goals and aspirations. I didn’t become active with ALA until much later but have remained intrigued by the work of ALA and people who serve the association ever since.  

I cut my librarian teeth at one of the nation’s busiest multi-branch urban public library systems providing life skills programs uniquely designed for local immigrants. Through this position, I found and fell in love with the endlessly fascinating world of library programming and outreach services to users from ethnic and multicultural backgrounds. While my career took me to different library settings over the years, my professional concerns have been centered around helping immigrants and new American patrons feel welcome and valued in the library.  

Joining EMIERT and the Office of Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) Advisory Committee was a natural choice for me for these reasons. Originally began as a subcommittee of Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT), EMIERT has been an active force in ALA since 1982 in promoting and sharing information on library materials and resources for ethnolinguistic and multicultural communities. It is also the administrative home of Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards Committee. I served the Vice-Chair/Chair/Immediate Past-Chair role for EMIERT and OLOS Advisory Committee. I also served the Office of Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) and International Relations Committee (IRC) in various capacities and belong to the Association of Specialized, Government, Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA) and Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA).

What has been your favorite project to work on during your time with OLOS and ODLOS?

As Chair of the OLOS Advisory Committee, I assisted in the effort to reconstruct the current ODLOS Advisory Committee following the merger of the Office for Diversity and the Office of Literacy and Outreach Services. I worked with a group of superbly talented colleagues during this process and learned a great deal about the inner workings of ALA and how such administrative changes were made in an organization as complex as ALA. Since that merger, the ODLOS Advisory Committee, together with the amazing ODLOS staff at ALA Headquarters, have been effectively building diversity, literacy and outreach education, and communication across the organization and within the profession. It has been a joy and pride to watch this group continue to excel and evolve. Knowing that I was part of and contributed to the successful transition is a great reward.

What recommendations would you have for a new ALA member who is unsure about how to get involved?

One of the great things about ALA is that you can find a committee or round table in pretty much any subject matters you care about and that most people are welcoming, encouraging and willing to offer guidance. Follow your personal and professional interests and aspirations. Find the group(s) whose missions are in line with what’s really important to you and your purpose, not just based on what the current situation pulls you toward. The decision should also be made based on personal circumstances — finances, career goals, academic preparations, institutional support, the level of commitments you can realistically make, etc.   

Once you find your (almost) perfect fit within ALA, it might still take time to get to certain levels. It took me several years of active learning to comprehend ALA as an organization. In trying to get involved in ALA, each individual’s context, goals, personality etc. are very different. I think what matters most is the sincere desire to learn, grow and contribute.

What are some ways that committee involvement can be beneficial?

The opportunities I’ve had through working with ALA have been a powerful force in my leadership and professional development. I believe ALA provides the magnetic place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together at best. I also find my work in my home state and in ALA mutually beneficial.

As a public library consultant, one of my primary responsibilities is to coordinate statewide planning and implementation of continuing education and training programs. Similarly, through EMIERT and other ALA groups, I participate in developing CE/PD offerings as well as a variety of awards and grant programs.  

Serving in this capacity requires much care and skills on assessing library needs and concerns, working with a wide array of people both inside and outside of the library field, working with grants and exploring different modalities for content delivery, just to name a few. Additionally, you become masterful in all aspects of leading teams and projects — setting goals and agendas, facilitating meetings, involving members who don’t report to you, producing results within timelines and budgets. ALA provides excellent outlets for these skills, talents and experiences to be gained, refined and applied to.

What advice would you give to new librarians from underrepresented groups on becoming involved with committees?

A few years ago I joined 20 million foreign-born individuals who became naturalized U.S. citizens that year. From my journey to US Citizenship as one both providing and receiving libraries’ immigrant services, I have come to a deeper understanding about immigrant integration and community building — a dynamic, two-way process in which newcomers and the receiving society work together to build secure, vibrant and cohesive communities. When immigrants can express themselves and are comfortable doing that, when they can work in groups around issues and ideas for which they have a great passion, it leads to a kind of civic engagement that goes beyond voting on Election Day. A sense of belonging to the community has to happen first in order for engagement to occur.

I reflect often on these lessons in relation to building strong and inclusive communities within ALA, our libraries as workplaces, and all other organized groups that we belong to. It may sound too philosophical, but the fundamental condition to achieve long-term success, longevity, fulfillment and joy as new members come  to ALA to serve and engage with is finding something to drive purpose within ALA and within the broader library profession – personal and professional goals that are in line with who they are, what they value, and what they believe to be their purpose or mission. As ALA continues to play a vital role in providing educational support for library workers at all levels, each member’s finding meaning and connection will help build the kind of ALA community we all want to belong to — a space for reflection and self-exploration and where every person is inspired to grow creatively.       

Posted in Get to Know ALA | Leave a comment

December 2018 NMRT Live Chat – Online Discussion

Our December discussion focused on a topic that impacts almost everyone’s daily life: stress. Oregon State University describes stress as “the state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”  (Oregon State University, 2019).  Whether a librarian deals mostly with patrons, written materials, or tech services, stress can be a common part of the job.  December alone can be a stressful time since it is a major holiday season.

The group was asked to focus on

  • Areas of stress
  • Ways to destress and wind down at home
  • Ways to destress at work
  • Ways to help stressed patrons

According to discussion members, some situations that cause stress at work are being at a new job, feeling of inadequacy answering patrons, and the stress of meeting deadlines.  These are actually common stressors. However, it is important to recognize the stressors in order to address them.

Letting Go of Stress

Just as there are many different things that bring stress to our lives, there are many different ways to destress and “let go”.  Many of the discussion members recommended exercise after work, and one even runs cross country. It is very important not to “vegetate”.  Exercise allows you to blow off steam and will allow you to sleep better. Neglecting sleep is one way to compound stress, as many people will “mull” and dwell on the day’s events. Night time rituals that prepare for a restful sleep are important.

Another way to destress is to take things one step at a time and not to be afraid to ask questions. This is especially true for people who are working on deadlines or starting a new job. For those starting a new job, it’s important to take it slow and not try to tackle everything at once. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The same is true with those who have stressful deadlines.  It is important to set priorities and to take your time. By doing so you can manage your reactions to things and not wear yourself thin by trying to do everything at once.

During the workday itself, there are some ways to destress while at work. One is to make your break an actual break. Be sure to take breaks and lunch and move away from your desk or work area. If you do not eat lunch, use the time to take a short walk. Again, this allows for an actual break from work and gives your mind some relief.

Lastly, it is important to talk about what is causing your stress. If a certain project or deadline is causing you excess stress at work, talk to your boss. They may be able to come up with a plan or strategy to relieve some of the stress. If you do not feel comfortable talking to a boss or coworker, talk to someone at home. It is important to let that stress and anxiety out, and bottling it up can only make the situation worse.

Stressed Patrons

If you work with patrons long enough, you will run across one that seems extremely stressed and curt. People can be stressed and angry about any number of things and then have it “spill out” on library staff and personnel. When dealing with stressed out patrons it is good to be calm and listen to them before trying to find a solution. If they are snippy, keep in mind that it may not be you, but something else in their day that has caused this. However, do not hesitate to call over help if the situation escalates. Keeping calm and listening to them should help stressed patrons find their materials and help them on their way.

Continuing the Discussion

In the end, stress is something that everyone deals with in their life and everyone must find a way to cope with it. As people who work with the public, librarians may have to, not only deal with their stress, but also deal with the stress coming from members of the public as well. By taking things slowly and calmly it is possible to let go of not only your stress but help patrons as well.

Submitted by Joy DuBose


Oregon State University (2019) What does stress mean to you? Retrieved from https://success.oregonstate.edu/learning/what-does-stress-mean-you

Posted in NMRT Discussion | Leave a comment