NMRT Annual Conference Professional Development Attendance Award – Applications Open

NMRT members are invited to submit an essay to win a ticket to attend a ticketed event of their choosing at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

The award is intended to facilitate professional development and networking opportunities for NMRT members through participation in special ticketed ALA events.

The essay contest is open to any NMRT member who is not currently serving on the Annual Conference Professional Development Attendance Award Committee or the NMRT Executive Board. To enter the contest, please write a short essay (about 250 words) telling the committee why you want to attend the selected event and how you feel you would benefit personally and professionally. The link to the form is at the bottom of this post.

Fill out the following application form completely, and use the send button at the bottom to submit it to the selection committee. Please note: only current NMRT members are eligible. All submissions will be confidential and personal data protected.

Applications due: April 26, 2019

Winners will be notified by: May 17, 2019

The committee does not consider geographic location, age, sex, religion, race, or national origin in the award selection process.

For more information or if you have questions, contact the committee chair, Kayla Kuni at kkuni@mail.usf.edu.

NMRT Annual Conference Professional Development Attendance Award Form

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2019 Shirley Olofson Memorial Award Winner Announced

2019 Shirley Olofson Memorial Award Winner Announced

The New Members Round Table’s (NMRT) Shirley Olofson Memorial Award Committee is pleased to announce that Megan Donnelly is the recipient of the 2019 Olofson Award.

Megan Donnelly is an Adjunct Research Librarian/Instructor at Millersville University’s Francine G. McNairy Library and Learning Forum in Millersville, PA. She received her MS in Library and Information Science from Drexel University and a BA in English from Millersville University. She is an active member of the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Delaware Valley Chapter where she serves on the board as Blog Editor. She is also a member of the American Library Association, ACRL, and the NMRT.

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NMRT Committee Volunteer Applications Now Open!

New Members Round Table (NMRT) is looking for volunteers for committee chairs and members for the 2019-2020 year. Committees are the lifeline of NMRT. The list of these committees reflect the work of some of these committees and their dedicated members.

New Members Round Table 2019-2020 committee volunteer applications are now open! Fill out the committee volunteer form.

While applications will be accepted through July 1, 2019, please apply by May 30, 2019, for best consideration. Please contact Nicole LaMoreaux, NMRT Vice-President with any questions about committee appointments.

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February 2019 NMRT Live Chat – Online Discussion

NMRT February Online Discussion: Presenting at Conferences

The February discussion focused on a topic that can strike either fear or excitement into any librarian: presenting at a conference. Public speaking is frequently said to be one of the biggest fears that people have and that is no exception to librarians. But conference presentations don’t have to be scary or stressful. Participants were asked to focus on their experiences presenting and providing suggestions for becoming a confident presenter. There was plenty of advice given that can be used by beginners and seasoned presenters alike.

Finding Where to Present

Before you can actually be a presenter, you’ll want to find a situation where you can actually present! But remember that presentations aren’t something you can only do at conferences – there are plenty of opportunities to get started in your own library. Whether it is doing a presentation at your staff development day or presenting on something during a staff meeting – these are great places to get started and to build foundational presentation skills.

If you are ready to branch outside of your library, the best place to start looking for opportunities is within your own local or state library association. You can also try for other user groups that exist in your area.

Listservs and other electronic mailing lists shouldn’t be overlooked either. There are plenty of opportunities that come across on these lists. Sign up for some that are of interest to you and take the time to check out all of the different calls for speakers that are put out there.

Don’t forget to tap your peers for suggestions particularly those who have presented before as they may be aware of opportunities near you that you may not have heard of.

Power of the Poster Session

Poster sessions are a much smaller scale way to get into presenting. They generally involve a poster of a specific project or topic as a visual aid and explaining to curious conference goers what your project was about. These will involve small groups of people which is a great way to get used to talking in front of others. It is also far less formal so you can choose to have an “elevator pitch” ready to go on your poster or you can make it free form and invite people to ask questions. Posters can also be presented with more than one person which can take some of the pressure off of you.

Lightning Talks

Another alternative to doing a full presentation is doing a lightning talk. These are a relatively common event that happens at conferences where a number of speakers do a very short talk on a topic. The length is roughly 5-10 minutes which means you don’t have to prepare a lot of material and it is a great way to break into doing something more “formal” than a poster, but with much less pressure than a full 45+ minute presentation. It’s a great way to test the waters.

Choosing a Topic

For any type of presentation, it should go without saying that you should pick a topic you are comfortable with and enthusiastic about. Getting ready for a presentation is much easier when you care about the topic and how you feel about your topic will be evident when you are presenting. It will also serve to alleviate some of your nerves. The better you know your topic, the more prepared you will feel.

This is definitely true for a presentation that will have a question and answer section at the end or if you’ll be involved in a panel discussion. You never know what someone is going to ask and the uncertainty of that can be extremely stressful, but it helps to boost your confidence if you know and like your topic.

Working with Others and Practicing

Practicing your presentation with others is a great way to feel more prepared come presentation day. Whether you are practicing with a group of colleagues, friends, or family, having anyone available to listen to you can help you become more comfortable speaking in front of others. Those who listen can point out things you might be doing wrong or notice areas in your presentation that need more work.

You can also choose to team up with a more experienced presentation partner. Presenting with someone else or in a group can ease the burden of getting used to presenting. The amount of  information you have to present will generally be less than if you were presenting alone which means less to remember. Plus, a more experienced presentation partner can help you with your preparation and even your speaking technique to help build your confidence and prepare you for the future.

Librarianship is a field known for professionals who are willing to help each other out so there is never any harm in reaching out to others for help.

While breaking into presenting can be scary, it is definitely a worthwhile experience. Not only do you get to build your own skills as a speaker, but you get to make connections by meeting new people. And you get the chance to share your knowledge and experience with others. You never know who might be inspired by what you have to say. It’s a great way to give back to the library world.

Submitted by Elayna Turner

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Deadline Approaching! Submit your article to Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table

The NMRT Endnotes Committee seeks contributors for the Spring 2019 issue of Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table.

Endnotes is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal that publishes articles of interest to early career librarians (including LIS students, recent graduates and newer members of the Association).  

Current LIS students and recent graduates are particularly encouraged to submit manuscripts for consideration.

? Why should I publish?

Publishing with Endnotes is an accessible way for any early career librarian (including LIS students, recent graduates, and newer members of the Association) to gain experience publishing in a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal.

[W]hile seeking my MLIS… [a] professor offered to take a class paper and co-author with myself and my group partner.  This experience has not only informed my professional and publishing career as an Academic Librarian but gave me confidence to apply for jobs with scholarly research expectations. – Tina Budzise-Weaver, published in Endnotes 2016

This has been such a great experience for me. You have all been extremely helpful and encouraging. I appreciate all the time you have taken to read my work and all the feedback you have given. I am sure it will help me throughout my professional career. I will definitely recommend this to everyone I meet looking for a way to begin pursuing publication in the LIS field!  – Brady Lund, published in Endnotes 2017

[B]eing able to publish my first article while still in graduate school was an unbelievable confidence booster. To go through the process of peer review, and to feel so supported by the editorial staff, makes me want to continue to publish for the rest of my career.. – Kim Myers, published in Endnotes 2016

? Should I submit my article to Endnotes?

Articles should range from 2,000 – 4,000 words and be relevant to LIS students and new library professionals.  Endnotes welcomes research papers, technical papers, conceptual papers, case studies, and literature reviews (more information on these types is available in our complete submission guidelines).

Those interested in discussing an article idea are encouraged to contact the Editors at nmrtendnotesjournal@gmail.com to determine if the proposal fits the publication’s scope.  Topics that might be appropriate for Endnotes include, but are not limited to:

  • Training and mentoring
  • Job searching or hiring
  • Developing leadership and management skills
  • Library instruction and assessment
  • Librarian responsibilities: hiring, promotion, and tenure
  • Developing new collections or services

Current LIS students and recent graduates may find inspiration by reading “Upcycling MSLS Coursework into Publishable Content”, a 2014 Endnotes article.  The Endnote Editors are also glad to provide mentorship and support for your article development process.

? How do I submit my article to Endnotes?

You simply send your submission to the Endnote Editors at nmrtendnotesjournal@gmail.com. Submissions are accepted throughout the year, but articles received by April 5, 2019 will receive guaranteed consideration for the Spring 2018 issue.

? Is there something shorter than an article I can write?

Endnotes also publishes reviews for books or websites. Interested reviewers can submit a book or website review to the Endnote Editors at nmrtendnotesjournal@gmail.com no later than April 5, 2019.

For more information about Endnotes, including complete submission guidelines & previous issues, please visit ala.org/rt/nmrt/about-endnotes-committee.  Please feel free to contact Endnotes Editors with any questions.

Submitted by

Megan P. Smith & Kim Looby

Chairs, NMRT Endnotes Committee

nmrtendnotesjournal@gmail.com

 

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NMRT 2019-2020 Candidates: NMRT Councilor

NMRT Councilor

For more information on this position, please visit: Duties of ALA Councilors

Candidate Christina Rodriques

Question 1: Why are you interested in this position?

I would like to serve as a NMRT Councilor because I believe the newest generation of librarians will empower ALA to grow and succeed. As a NMRT Councilor I will bring the voices of NMRT members and young library professionals like myself to the table. I have served NMRT for more than four years as a member, Committee Chair and Executive Board member. I understand the goals of our round table and am committed to representing our interests. As current Chair of the ALA Membership Committee, I’m focused on attracting and engaging members and bringing about changes that ALA members want and need from our association. As Outreach Manager at OCLC I have developed strong communication and diplomacy skills and have experience working with a diverse governing body. I believe these skills, along with my interests in membership, library advocacy and pathways for LIS students and young professionals will make me an excellent NMRT Councilor.

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

In my current role as Outreach Manager for Member Relations at OCLC, I work with a diverse group of members from all library types and regions around the globe. These members make up the OCLC Global and Regional Councils who help govern the cooperative. I also work with emerging leaders from developing countries through the IFLA/OCLC Fellowship program and my team works closely with LIS schools across the country to increase awareness of OCLC and larger library trends. I understand how to effectively communicate our interests while still being respectful of other’s viewpoints. I believe the key to accomplishing our goals is by working together. This understanding and skill set will allow me to serve NMRT and be successful in this role.

Question 3: What do you hope to learn if elected?

If elected as NMRT Councilor I hope to learn how to most effectively bring the voices of NMRT members to the table while also learning from more experienced council members. If elected, I will work to ensure ALA sees NMRT as a driving force for opportunity, change and innovation for its members.

Question 4: If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?

NMRT is very much aligned with my passion for helping people and providing opportunities for early career librarians and LIS students to get involved and grow in their careers. That passion will ensure that my NMRT council work is a top priority. As a highly organized and action-oriented individual, I work hard to achieve my goals. I also know that no one can accomplish anything alone. By collaborating with my fellow councilmembers and drawing upon each person’s strengths, we’ll accomplish our goals and make a real impact for NMRT.

Candidate Arieh Ress

Question 1: Why are you interested in this position?

I have been fortunate to attend the ALAAC every year since graduating (though one year I attended mid-winter instead of annual) and I have benefited greatly by doing so. The conferences taught me a lot about library life and work, and I am in my current position because I had an on-the-spot interview in the job area of ALAAC2015. The networking has been invaluable, the panels, lectures and discussions have opened my horizons to new ideas, and it is always interesting to see what is going on at the ALA Membership Meeting which I’ve attended every year.

All this is to say that I have enjoyed participating in the conference and have benefited from ALA for years, and I would like to give back. While I have participated in the Membership Meetings, I would like to take my participation to the next level. Additionally, I know that such a massive conference can be daunting to newcomers, and I appreciate what NMRT does to welcome them and get them acclimated. I have both a good amount of experience with ALA, and a lot yet to learn, and it would make me proud to represent an organization that works to ensure new members stay members and get involved in the organization and its conferences!

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

I have an eclectic work history, which is heavy on customer service. My undergraduate degree in philosophy was really a study in problem solving and critical thinking. I have grown up spending time in New York City, but also in rural areas across the country with and without electricity. My mother is an actress, a teacher and a storyteller and I have given presentations ranging from Model UN in high-school to past ALAAC’s and other conferences, as well as two different universities in China.

What I bring to the table is a history of interacting with wildly different types of people, in a wide range of settings, a thirst for discussion and debate, problem solving training and a history of public speaking and authorship. Bringing these skills to the table, I will do my best to be a voice for NMRT and its members while seeking equitable solutions to what issues may arise.

Question 3: What do you hope to learn if elected?

I am always looking to learn and grow, which is part of what keeps bringing me back to ALAACs. I would like to learn more about the processes that allow the organization to stay current, useful and fluid in a field that is undergoing exceptional levels of change at the moment. I am always seeking new ways to improve upon my own library – and my librarianship – which means staying on top of what the top organizations in the field are up to. How better to do that than to represent one of the largest round tables at the American Library Association?

Question 4: If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?

I would add a repeating check in notification at least once a week to remind me to make sure I am keeping on top of my duties, and schedule blocks in my calendar for when there are things I need to take care of. I am largely nocturnal so there are several hours a night in which I can work, distraction free, and with the Google Suite and Dropbox I can work virtually from almost anywhere.

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Alternative Voices: Jamia Williams

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.

Jamia Williams

Jamia Williams

Name – Jamia Williams

Contact Information – Ph: 315-464-7196

City & State – Syracuse, NY

Position Title – Librarian and Diversity Fellow

Length of time in the library field – 7 months

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?

I was born and raised in Rochester, New York. Therefore, I was a product of the Urban Suburban program so this urban girl started attending school in one of Rochester’s suburbs Wheatland-Chili from 5th grade to the 12th grade. This experience was interesting and unique. One day I have to put this experience in my autobiography. I am a graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport. During my time at SUNY Brockport, I majored in history where I received a Bachelor of Science degree. I graduated with a Master of Library Science from North Carolina Central University; my concentration was in academic librarianship.  Getting my degree from NCCU improved my presentation skills and sharpened my leadership abilities so that I can be a better colleague. Currently, I am employed at Upstate Medical University’s Health Sciences Library. I am the librarian and diversity fellow.

I love the analogy that I heard about diversity and inclusion. Diversity is asking someone to attend a party but inclusion is asking that person to dance at the party.  Therefore, I would say that equity is assessing whether or not the person can get to the party and not just assuming that a person has a way to get to the party. Then whatever actions need to take place to get the person to the party needs to happen. Lastly, an assessment of their dancing experience needs to occur so they can truly be a part of the dance.

What drew you to a career as a librarian and what is your current role?

My current role is librarian and diversity fellow. My journey started in 2005 when I was in the senior year of my undergraduate program. The first career idea that came to my mind that I wanted to pursue once I was done with school was librarianship. So I began looking for job opportunities then I realized to my surprise that librarians needed their Master’s degree. Unfortunately, I was fearful of taking the GRE and I knew that I needed to take this exam to get into a graduate program. As a result of this fear, it robbed me of many years of pursuing my dream career. The other career option that I wanted to pursue was social work or case management so I began working in the human services field then after gaining years of experience I became a case manager.  Even though I loved working in this field, I kept having this nagging feeling that I could and should be a librarian. I am proud to say that I gathered the money and the courage to take the GRE and I applied to two graduate programs. The first program that I applied to did not accept me which fed into my fear of failure.  But I did not lose all hope and I waited for my response from NCCU and I was glad to receive my acceptance email from the institution. I am being vulnerable in telling my story so that others can be encouraged. Furthermore, I want my colleagues to understand that my path to librarianship is not a traditional route.

This is my dream come true and I am glad to finally be apart of a profession that has so many dynamic people in it.  My draw to this profession was the ability to help others on various levels. I get to assist my colleagues, students, and faculty on a daily basis. The feeling that I get from being apart of someone’s success is pure joy.

Before you became a librarian, what were you thinking about doing professionally or academically?

Before, I became a librarian I was torn between being a social worker or being a lawyer.  Both of these professions I felt were advocacy roles. I love advocating for underserved and marginalized people in our society.  So, I am happy to know that even in librarianship there is a social justice piece involved. I love that I am gaining momentum on advocacy and social justice work in librarianship. One day I do want to obtain a law degree.

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

Currently, I am involved statewide and nationwide in the profession. I am a member of the New York Library Association; I serve on the board as one of the directors on the Academic and Special Libraries Section of NYLA.  Being a part of this section is a wonderful opportunity because I get to be involved with librarians from different types of libraries statewide.  Also, I am a member of the programs and proposals team of the Association of College and Research Libraries Residency Interest Group (RIG). Being a part of RIG is a great connection because I get to meet residents and fellows throughout the country that are working in similar career positions like myself.

Lastly, I am trying to build my network of medical librarians since I would like to work at a health sciences library once I finish my fellowship. I watch at least one webinar weekly that sharpens my skills and educates me on a topic that I am not knowledgeable about. Additionally, I attend local workshops and conferences. I attended my first national conference, which was ALA Mid-Winter 2019. Being a part of Twitter was a wise decision on my part, #librarytwitter is informative and motivating. Moreover, various types of librarians throughout the USA and Canada inspire me.

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

Try to join as many interest groups as possible, your voice is needed. You deserve a seat at the table. Furthermore, there are so many librarians in our profession that enjoy sharing their stories and information on how to survive in this field. Finally, listen and ask questions as much as possible.

When you were growing up, did you feel that the libraries accurately reflected the community you lived in?

I think the libraries in my community growing up did reflect my community well. The programming catered to our needs. Plus, I noticed that the hours of some of our public libraries began to change once it was realized how many of us did not have computers at home. This awareness was key to me and other children school survival.

How do you think the field will change most dramatically in the next several years?

I think the field will change most dramatically in the next several years due to the speed of changing technology.  It is as if once we master a concept something else comes along so we have to be open and accepting of change.  Also, the individuals that I met at the 2018 University of Greensboro’s Diversity Institute are world changers who do not mind collaborating to get things done in our profession.  So watch out library world, we are here!

What’s been your most valuable experience at your employer so far, and why?

The most valuable experience at my employer has been meeting Twanna Hodge. She inspires me daily and is a great force of nature. The connections that I have made due to Twanna nudging me along has been priceless. I am wiser about our profession because of her being in my life.

Do you have a blog/website?

Yes, I have a blog. My website address is https://diversityfellow.wordpress.com/.  Please read my blog entries and tell me what you think.

 

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Webinar: Special Library Job Opportunities

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

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://ala-events.zoom.us/webinar/register/a40089e5bad9b124dc2040ba88984b7b

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
universities.

Register in advance for this sure to be useful webinar!

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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

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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.

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