NMRT Resume Review Service at ALA Annual

The NMRT Resume Review Service Committee is recruiting volunteer resume reviewers and booth greeters as well as taking resume review appointments for the 2019 ALA Annual Conference!

Reviewers should have at least five years of experience working in libraries (participating in search committees is a plus). This is a free in-person service that will be located in the ALA Job Placement Center on Saturday, June 22nd & Sunday, June 23rd from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM both days.

Visit our informational website for more details, to access volunteer forms, or to sign up for an appointment: https://sites.google.com/view/2019-ala-annual-nmrtresumerev/home

 

If you have any questions, please contact NMRT Resume Review Service Committee Chair Jillian Hayes at jillian.k.hayes@gmail.com or Assistant Chair Rachael Clukey at rclukey@delawarelibrary.org.  Thank you!

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April 2019 NMRT Online Discussion

April 2019 NMRT Online Discussion: Navigating Bureaucracies In Your Institutions

The topic for our April discussion centered on navigating bureaucracies in our institutions. At some point in our personal and professional lives, we have all encountered some type of bureaucratic process. Whether it is the Department of Motor Vehicles or dealing with a school administration. Bureaucracies help to develop and enforce rules and guidelines. They allow us to perform our jobs effectively and to function as a society. Unfortunately, the bureaucratic process tends to have a negative connotation because of its perceived rigidity and ineffectiveness to get things done quickly. Fortunately, not all bureaucracies are bad and the process can be effective. During our discussion, members shared their experiences with the bureaucratic process at their institutions.

Flexibility

The majority of the members spoke positive about the amount of flexibility and autonomy they have within their institutions to make decisions. This was true for members working in both public and academic libraries. Members believe that having flexibility makes their job easier as they are able to adapt to each individual situation rather than prescribe one single solution to all situations. Having this autonomy to makes changes while still working within the framework of the institution allows for the best outcome in service to the patron while removing barriers to access. Some of the flexibility discussed by members was due to new changes in management at their institutions; others were due to the fact that some of the members worked in small rural libraries or branch libraries. In fact, it seems that the majority of the members who discussed having autonomy worked in branch libraries outside of the main library administration.

Clarity

In order to successfully navigate through the bureaucracy, members discussed the need to have clarity on their role within the institution. Knowing the chain of command makes it easy to direct questions to the proper staff member. You would not expect to have a library technician know the fine details of the library budget or have the Library Director be responsible for processing daily fines. Look at your own institution. Would you know where to direct a question? If the answer is no, then it is time to have a discussion within your institution and develop a clear chain of command. Additionally, having a clear understanding of Human Resources policies and guidelines is very important. This will allow you to hire new staff, properly coach and counsel existing staff, and ensure that no policies are being violated.

Obstacles

Not having a clear chain of command or having clear policies and procedures are large obstacles to successfully navigating the bureaucracy at your institution. How can you be trusted to effectively fulfill your duties if you do not know what to do? Furthermore, inconsistency and vagueness is frustrating for both the library staff and to our patrons. During our discussion, many members found that most of the rigidity and bureaucratic obstacles came from the larger bureaucratic institution responsible for the library. Specifically, most members pointed to local governments in charge of public library funding.

Ultimately, this discussion only scratched the surface. Going forward, it is very important that we learn how to navigate the bureaucracies in our institutions in order to maximize our effectiveness.  

Submitted by Alfonso Huerta

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2019 Student Chapter of the Year Award Winner Announced

The University of South Carolina has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Student Chapter of the Year Award! The SCOTYA Committee was impressed by the LISSA Chapter of University of South Carolina’s member engagement. The chapter gained 20 new, active members including new members in the local Columbia, South Carolina area as members entering the SLIS program from a distance. The chapter is very active with programs, projects, and activities. LISSA held monthly meetings to plan out events for the semester. The chapter used a variety of communication services such as Web 2.0 technologies, listservs, publications and flyers. Through the hard work of its members, this chapter has made significant contributions to the school and ALA.

Congratulations as well to Kent State University, this year’s runner up! The runner-up this year is Kent State University. The SCOTYA Committee noted the chapter’s connection to online learners, growth in membership, and diversity of programs and activities.

The Student Chapter of the Year Award is presented in recognition of a chapter’s outstanding contributions to the American Library Association, their school, and the profession. The purpose of the award is to increase student involvement in ALA through student chapters, and to recognize future leaders in the profession.

The Student Chapter winner will receive $1,000 to help defray travel expenses to ALA Annual; the winning chapter and the runner up will each receive a certificate. Both will be recognized at the NMRT Student Reception at the 2019 ALA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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Alternative Voices: Gemmicka Piper

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.

Gemmicka Piper

Name – Gemmicka Piper

Contact Information – piperg@iu.edu

City & State – Indianapolis, IN

Position Title – Humanities Librarian

Length of time in the library field – 2.5 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?

As the Humanities Librarian, I serve as the departmental liaison for both English and World Languages and Cultures. I graduated with a B.A. in English/minor in East Asian Studies from Truman State University. From there, I attended graduate school at the University of Iowa where I earned an MA/PhD in English, as well as an MLIS with a certificate in Public Digital Humanities.

Earning my doctoral degree was perhaps the most selfish thing I could have ever done for myself, and definitely helped prepare me for what I do now. I worked as a graduate instructor in English and Rhetoric for five years before transitioning into the library field. Teaching forced me to focus more on my visual and oral presentation skills, which continues to assist me in my current work. I am constantly drawing on subject expertise when making decisions about what new items to purchase, evaluating the types of service projects I want to get involved in, and as I am enabling students to better think through the research process.

Having a choice in the work I do as a librarian and as a humanities researcher, in addition to the administrative and financial support to explore those areas are part of what I consider true inclusion. It’s putting your money where your mouth is and supporting professionalization that allows for the growth of the whole person, rather than settling for representative quotas.

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

This may sound corny, but I never really settled on one professional identity. Before majoring in English, I studied Biology. Very easily, I could have majored in History. I’ve always been interested in understanding people and legacies. I decided on English because I loved writing, reading, and critical analysis. In graduate school, I quickly realized that my personality quirks and lack of grace in confronting office politics were not a good mesh with the academic culture. I had no idea about what else would be a good fit. I ended up taking this young adult literature class with this phenomenal middle-school librarian. From there everything sort of just clicked.

How was the initial job search process for you?

It was very difficult. I graduated in May, I had interviews throughout spring but nothing stuck. I ended up heading back home to Kansas City, MO before landing a Residency/Visiting Assistant Position out in Ohio. Landing my first position in the library took about six months.

Do you have any advice for new graduates applying to jobs?

Make sure that your CV is up to date and is in some sort of order that is conducive to highlighting your skills rather than a chronological listing of what you have done. The CV is what opens the door for the interviews, it’s worth investing the time into cleaning it up and making sure it accurately reflects your skill set. Take advantage of any career readiness workshops offered by your LIS school or on your campus. If you don’t have access to that, attend any resume or CV reviewing workshops being offered at your public library. Additionally, once you get the first interview, keep in mind that some places use this as an opportunity to meet state-mandated objectives around applicant pools; the interview is your time to find out what the institution is really about and how you might fit/grow there.

What do you know now that you wished you’d known when you were just beginning your job hunt?

Honestly, I think people need to discuss more about Residencies. When I looked for information on Residencies, I found a plethora of individuals discussing what they liked about their experience. Their experiences were definitely not anywhere close to the experience I had with mine. It took a while to land the right position for me. Likewise, I think LIS schools should address more frankly issues in workplace cultures and offer advice on coping with toxic/dysfunctional work environments. As a new professional this would have been really helpful just starting out.

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?

Getting involved with ALA and ACRL has been really difficult. Part of this may be because when new opportunities for service are open, they come across specific listservs, which you may not be part of. In the year that I was an NMRT member, I never received any information about service opportunities that I could participate in; the same is true for ALA. I think that there still needs to be one port for service specific opportunities that early career professional can get involved with.

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

Growing up, I lived in predominately African American and racially mixed neighborhoods. The local public libraries reflected this very well. Our public library had multiple branches throughout the metropolitan Kansas City area. We had black, white, and Latino librarians/staff members located in areas where the patrons made up a significant portion of this demographic.

How well do you think that the library (or system) you currently work in reflects the needs of its community?

I am one of four public facing librarians that are unquestionably nonwhite. I serve at an urban institution where there are many racial and economic variances and is primarily still a commuter campus, though that is changing. Behind the scenes, our librarians collaborate on making sure that we embed diversity within our collection areas. Outside of that, my library actively tries to engage with the local community through supporting the preservation and digitization of local history, archives, and programs that align with our mission statement on social justice. On my own time, I try to get involved with campus retention initiatives that seek out individuals to work directly with marginalized student groups. Also, I work on the creation of various instructional media that aims to tear down barriers that still surround the accessing of information for certain segments of our academic student population.

What trends are most impacting the field right now?

Depending on the type of librarian you are, as well as your expertise, this question has many answers. If you had asked me when I initially graduated, I would have said that digital humanities and digital scholarship. However, now that I have been in the field, it is very clear to me that alternative publication models and open access are two major trends shaping the information literacy field. For my subject area, I am seeing more of a need for research and instructional support in online/distance learning environments.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?

I am a sucker for a well-put together narrative and developed characters, no matter its genre. I am currently reading Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf (2019).

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Alternative Voices: Maegen Rose

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.

Maegen Rose

Name – Maegen Rose

Contact Informationmaegenj.rose@gmail.com

City & State – Brooklyn, NY

Position Title – Middle School Librarian

Length of time in the library field – 5 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?

I started my career in education as a project manager for a charter school network on Chicago’s south side after earning an MA in Social Work from the University of Chicago and BA’s in Black Studies and Gender and Feminist Studies from Pitzer College. I enjoyed working in schools but wanted to deepen my work with children. Becoming a librarian seemed like the natural next step. I was always an avid user of both my school and public libraries.  I enrolled in Dominican University’s graduate program in Information Studies and earned my MLIS. For the past five years, I have worked as a school librarian with students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Currently, I am the Middle School Librarian at Rye Country Day School in New York’s Westchester County. My days are filled with teaching 5th and 6th-grade library classes, supporting 7th and 8th-grade research units, providing readers’ advisory and reference services for the larger 5-12 community, and all the day-to-day responsibilities of growing and maintaining an inclusive and culturally competent middle school library collection.

As a black woman whose library career has solely been in predominantly white independent schools, my definitions of diversity, inclusion, and equity have shifted significantly. Right now, my work with students is about meeting them where they are, yet challenging traditional notions of information literacy and library programming. My approach to collection development centers the voices and experiences of marginalized communities in the library collection.

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

I stay involved in the profession in many ways. I am a member of the American Library Association and the Hudson Valley Library Association. I maintain an active social media presence, following and engaging with many library professionals, publishers, and advocates. I have subscriptions to and read a variety of library magazines and journals such as School Library Journal, American Libraries, The Horn Book, Knowledge Quest, and Children and Libraries: The Journal of ALSC.  As well as conference attendance.

What groups or roundtables are you involved in with ALA?

I am a member of the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC), American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Independent Schools Section (ISS), Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT), Coretta Scott King Book Awards Community, and Black Caucus of the American Librarian Association (BCALA). Currently, I am serving a two-year appointment on the ALSC Budget Committee and  the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury.

Do you have any advice for new graduates applying to jobs?

I recommend being open to a wide range of positions, especially if you are uncertain of which type of library you’d like to work. Also, I recommend not worrying about the job title. Focus on applying for positions that will give you the greatest amount of library experience.

What can prospective librarians be doing right now to prepare themselves for a career in this field?

Prospective librarians should be reading everything from literature to library magazines and journals. They should be actively involved with professional associations and interacting with other professionals in the field.   

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

Absolutely. I grew up in predominantly black communities. My public library not only reflected my community but was a lifeline to resources and services beyond checking out books. As an adolescent, my public library was a safe space after school to do homework and hang out with friends.

What trends are most impacting the field right now?

Currently, we are having national conversations about race and representation in children’s literature. Many librarians are pushing back against the continued use and promotion of racist literature. This work must continue and we must amplify the voices of those advocating for children’s literature that offers all children opportunities to see themselves.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned on the job?

As a school librarian, I’ve learned to listen to my students from the oldest to the youngest among them. They are a source of unusual and fun knowledge. I learn from them every day and continue to grow as a librarian because of them.

What book do you find yourself pushing onto patrons the most?

This past year, there were four books that I recommended most to my students, especially my 5th and 6th graders. Those books were The Parker Inheritance by

Varian Johnson, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, Ghost by Jason Reynolds, and Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol.

Do you have a blog/website?

I am on Twitter and Instagram at @librarianMaegs

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March 2019 NMRT Live Chat – Online Discussion

No matter the diversity of materials, libraries are all very similar. Whatever the type – special, public, or academic, libraries all have certain common elements. It is these commonalities that allow us to rely on each other. Students and professors of academic libraries may use the resources of public libraries, and the resources of special libraries may be accessed by other types of libraries.  Two main ways we share resources is through ILL and being part of a consortia. While ILL is well known and has been used for years, consortia may still be a bit unfamiliar.

The group was asked to focus on:

  • If they were a member of a consortia, and which one
  • What kind of libraries made up their consortium
  • What are some of the benefits to being a member of a consortium
  • What are some of the problems to being a member of a consortium
  • How would you describe consortia life to a library that is not part of one

According to the group members, a number of consortia were represented. In fact, separate discussion questions were asked of non-consortia members, and there were no responses.

Consortia represented

Some of the consortia that were mentioned in the discussion were the Suburban Library Cooperative (SLC). The SLC is made up of public libraries from southeast Michigan.  Another was the University System of Maryland & Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) Library Consortium. This consortium is based out of Maryland and is made up of private and public academic institutions. The LOGIN consortium was also mentioned. This consortium is based out of New Jersey and is made up of public and academic libraries.  Other consortia where also mentioned, and like these, they covered a variety of libraries from public to academic to medical.

Benefits to the Consortia

           Although the discussion group members shared differences in location, library size and type of facility, they were all happy to share the benefits of consortia. One of the common benefits was the sharing of materials. Some libraries are online schools and rely on their consortium to supply patrons with print materials. Sharing materials also allows libraries with smaller collections or specialized libraries to have access to more materials for their patrons.

Besides the sharing of material, another benefit is the sharing of costs. Many operating systems that librarians use daily, such as Sirsi Dynix, can cost a library a substantial amount. However, through a consortium, libraries can share this cost and many times be offered a better deal than they would have gotten alone.

Another benefit is the ability to share a catalog. By sharing a common catalog system, libraries can see materials that other members of their consortium own. This allows for easier sharing of materials. It also allows for cataloging mistakes to be found and corrected by cataloging staff, whereas they might otherwise be missed. However, with the benefits that consortia offer, there are still some problems.

Problems

The discussion group also mentioned a variety of problems that their consortia face. One problem was the lack of consistency in policies, which has caused some difficulty. Different libraries all have different policies for loans, fines, and grace periods. This can be hard to keep track of, both for staff and patrons who must follow those policies to receive loaned materials. The member did mention that through meetings and committees they are trying to make the policies more consistent.

Another problem mentioned was in terms of cataloging. While sharing a catalog can be a benefit, it can also cause some problems. With different libraries, there will be different levels of cataloging. Many libraries may use very brief, almost incomplete, records which will then have to be updated. Some libraries may use brief records for orders, while others may not. Another problem is the number of duplicates that may occur. No matter how careful catalogers are, with so many people across the system, duplicates will occur.

Continuing the Discussion

            In the end, the benefits that consortia offer far outweigh the problems that may occur. Sharing materials for patrons and sharing costs all help library systems provide better experiences through consortia membership which otherwise may not have been possible. Consortia memberships continue to provide excellent benefits, even if there are a few bumps along the way.

Submitted by Joy DuBose

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Online Programs Committee – Webinar April 4th

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Prison: An Introduction to Correctional Librarianship
April 4th, 2019 2PM CST/3PM EST/12PM PST
The final program for the 2018/2019 year is on April 4th. Joins us as we discuss correctional librarianship!
 
Register in advance for this webinar:
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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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