Happy Memorial Day

Is it just me or does the memorial day holiday signify the start of summer? I remember as child today marked the day that the pools opened, longer days of playing outside because school would have just gotten out for summer vacation. And all the self picking strawberry patches opened up.

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Year One

This past Sunday marked the one year anniversary of me matriculated from library school. I can hardly believe how fast this year has gone. I decided to look back on my capstone and compare the five year professional development I wrote and what has happened this year.

For a recap here is what I wrote a year ago:

Year One: January 2011 to December 2011

Career

  • Take on a practicum at Wake Forest University’s library: Z. Smith Reynolds Library in the Research and Instruction department to gain experience in reference services, library instruction, and general academic library experience.
  • Graduate from UNCG’s Master’s in Library and Information Studies program – May 2011.
  • Find, apply, and gain full time employment in an academic library, in a position that focuses on research, reference services, instruction, and technology.

Professional Growth/ Maintaining and Updating skills

  • Continue my membership in professional associations (American Library Association and North Carolina Library Association).
  • Attend conferences, nationally and/or statewide, to network and learn of new trends in the LIS field.
  • Provide mentoring help with the new cohort of Academic Cultural Enrichment Scholars.

Publications

  • Apply for research grants to continue research previously started, (i.e. Modern Teens and Library Usage).
  • Submit end product of Public Library Design and Technology to scholarly journal for publication with Dr. Chow.

Here’s the breakdown:

Career

The spring of 2011 I did in fact complete a practicum at Wake Forest in their Research and Instruction department. I taught a total of 3 classes as part of a Library Instruction course and complete many hours on the reference desk. You can read about my practicum here. I graduated from UNCG with an MLIS in May of 2011, a very exciting time and nerve-wracking at the same time. In September of 2011 I found, applied and gained full-time professional work at the public library in my hometown.

Professional Growth/ Maintaining and Updating skills

This year I will not be attending ALA but I did attend NCLA and PLA online. It has been a bit more challenging than I realized to continue in the professional association as well as get more involved in these associations. I do hope to do better in year two. This past year one of the second cohort ACE Scholars did their internship at my library and in my department. I actively tried to talk to her not just about the library school program but also the field as I’ve experienced so far. I’ve also had conversations with other interns here and people who by happenstance are applying to the program this upcoming term. It’s always strikes me as odd when I find myself having these conversations and actually having an opinion and things to share with people who are in the same place I was just a short time ago.

Publications

I was able to present my research with my professor at the NCLA conference this past October. And that’s as far as publication has gone. I realized that there was a lot more research and observation that needed to happen. This is still an goal of mines but I’m not sure when that will get checked off.

Looks like I’m settling in nicely into the library field…yay!

You should write a book

Every time I talk to other people about my job it’s usually very predictable. They ask me what I do; I tell them I’m a reference librarian at the main library downtown. Their eyes glaze over some and they say “Oh that’s nice.” Half of them change the subject and the other half continue on with, “So what exactly do you do? You aren’t one of those shushing librarians are you?” It is at this point I kind of list my head off to the side and go, “Well I—“ I find it hard to tell someone what I do when what I do day-to-day changes. But usually I sum it up with “I help people find information.” This is truly the bulk of my job. Often times I get the “You must like to read…” line or the “I haven’t been in a library in a long time…” line.

The last one is often followed with, “Do people even read books anymore? I didn’t think people still used the library like that.” I always try to not roll my eyes at these statements; it’s really hard to restrain myself sometimes. Instead I tell them about some crazy thing that happened at work either that day or week. I’m rarely at a lost for a crazy library story. In fact no matter what library I happened to be working at I’m rarely at a lost for a crazy library story. It just seems to me that anyone who says libraries are quiet and serious has never really worked in one. We see and hear some of the weirdest stuff.

Lately when talking to new people about my job the conversation usually ends with “Wow you should write a book!”

But I guess the purpose of this blog is supposed to take the place of writing a book. I think there are some really great books out there written from the librarian point of view and some great ones to come. Maybe one day I’ll actually write a book about being a librarian. I feel there’s so much I have yet to experience in my career. I never really felt like I’ve found my voice with these posts. I try to be professional and give the facts with little spurts of fun things. I don’t think it would hurt to relay some of the crazy library stories on here.

*The random photo at the beginning of this post was taken by me looking out the window in my office on a foggy morning.

Six Months Later

Sunday marked the end of the six months since I earned my MLIS degree, and you know what I feel just like I thought it would. I’m exhausted…and jubilant.

Two years ago I honestly had no idea what I was getting into, and truthfully I’m still learning what it means to be a librarian. And here’s a clue; it doesn’t involve shushing people. Not that I thought it did but I hear that often when someone asks about my profession.  If ever there was a misunderstood profession I would nominate the world of Librarianship. It’s almost like we are a mysterious cult but if you ever just take the time to ask a librarian about their library or their job I guarantee you they could talk for hours on one-tenth of what they do and what their library has to offer.

I guess I could sum of the last six months in a timeline sort of fashion but that would be boring. And librarians aren’t boring despite what literature would have you believe. The last six months really can be boiled down to one thing: Job Searching.

I started early (right before winter break I sent out my first resume), but not nearly as early as some people. I suggest you do the same, start looking for possible leads early on. Get on a variety of list-serves, a good friend and colleague of mines, Amanda Goodman, did an awesome write-up of some of the places she looked at and subscribed to for job leads. I cleaned up and invested some time into my social media outlets. I’ve had a LinkedIn profile since 2007 that I never got around to actually filling out. While I had the time I flushed it out and kept up with it.

These last six months were emotionally tough, as anyone who’s done any job searching since 2007 can surely tell you. But in the end I would say it was worth it. I can’t wait to see what the next six months hold for me.

I hate it when…

I’m laying awake at night and I need to sleep but instead I’m coming up with great material to post. And instead of getting up to write these ideas I close my eyes and pretend to sleep, hoping it will fool my brain. Then the next morning I can’t remember any of the topics I wanted to talk about. Le sigh.

Maybe I need to find the little journal I was keeping on my nightstand for a while.

And because I’m in a info-graph kick lately enjoy this info-graph, “Sleep is Awesome!”

I would have to get sick

Just my luck that I would get sick, well at least it’s after graduation. I’ve officially completed my MLIS degree. Now the CVs I send out will not have that little word: canidate next to MLIS. Feels good admist the coughing fits.

At any rate I have some posts I need to get out so as soon as I can think straight and can sit at my desk for more than a minute or two ( I’m writing this from bed using my ipod touch), I’ll do that .

Right now I’m going to take a nap.

The End.

As of the end of last Thursday I saw the end of my MLIS journey, well sort of. Thursday was the last day of my practicum. I had already turned in all the papers and projects due which meant when I told my supervisor goodbye I was officially done. In all honesty I’m not quite sure how I feel about it being done. I’m a bit ambivalent about it. On the one hand I’m so relieved to know it’s all done, but on the other hand I’m stressed about what the future brings.

For the past two years I’ve had a steady goal of working towards May 6th and now it’s with in a mere few days away. It’s crazy.

What’s Next?

Well I wished I could be writing about the awesome position I have lined up but atlas no such luck. I have been asked to continue with my internship at Wake Forest so at least I will be able to stay in a professional environment while I search for a position. I’m steadily applying for jobs, I’ve set a goal a day that I work towards. Maybe I’ll post about my job search strategy another day.

I will be working with my professor to continue the research we started in the independent study. There was some complications with my partner but in the end the research was fun and I learned a lot. So I hope to either present it at NCLA or submit to a journal. Stay tuned.

In the last two years I’ve grown and learned so much and I know I’m capable of a lot I think these next few months are going to be interesting. And I hope that I can soon be writing about interviews and job accepting topics. But I’m willing to wait on the right job. So wish me luck!