Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Posts Tagged ‘advice

What I’m not bringing to ALA

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girl with suitcase

Travel is stressful by *Seth on Flickr

There are some pretty intriguing posts popping up around the web detailing what people are packing for the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans. Some of my favorites can be found at Librarian Wardrobe, but there are also packing/conference tips from Bobbi Newman at Librarian by Day and and advice from Karen Schneider at Free Range Librarian. Be sure to check them out if you’re attending!

My post is a bit different. Here are four things you won’t find me bringing to ALA 2011:

  1. Laptop. I typically drag my MacBook with me to conferences. I tend to take notes by hand (gasp!) in a small notebook that I can toss into my purse and then type them up at night or post-conference. Occasionally, I bring my laptop to sessions but only if I am fairly certain I will be able to find an outlet nearby (this beast is a power hog). But for NOLA, I will be sans personal computer for six days. I got an iPhone a few weeks back so I am hoping that will be enough connectivity to sustain me, but I already know I’ll feel naked! I am planning on using my phone to check email, keep up with Twitter, etc. and maybe the hotel business center if I miss the clickity-clack of a keyboard during my stay.
  2. Work. Oh, out-of-office-auto-responder, how I love thee. Let me count the ways… I will refrain from work email during ALA (part of the reason for saying it out loud here is to hold myself accountable). I will focus on networking, my presentations & learning from/having fun with my colleagues. The library will not implode. No one will die. I will catch up next week. I will not feel guilty about this.
  3. Workout stuffs. Yeah, I tried this at a few conferences. It wound up being a waste of expensive suitcase space for running shoes, etc. and it just never happens! I am either too damn tired at the end of a day of conference sessions or too darn drunk to run on a treadmill. Some people can make it happen, but I just don’t have enough willpower.
  4. Pleasure reading. I can always snag free books in the exhibit hall if so inclined. However,  I have found that if you have a ton of time to relax and read, you might not be getting as much out of the conference as you could be. I will get out of my room (and my comfort zone) to make the most of this trip while paying attention not to overextend myself mentally or physically.

So, what are you leaving behind when you head to ALA later this week?

Written by Erin Dorney

June 21, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Looking for a library job? Hang in there!

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Depicted below was, at one time, the root cause of much anxiety and self-doubt: job rejection letters.

From the following employers: University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Towson University, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, East Stroudsburg University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Health Sciences Library, Virginia Tech University of Delaware, Washington County, Oregon, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina Greensboro, University of Denver, NC State University, University of Washington, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, MacroSys, Swarthmore College, Moravian College, Yale University, Davidson College, Northern Arizona University, and University of Colorado.

And I didn’t even include the list of places I applied for online… Over 45 applications were submitted before I secured my position at Millersville University. Do I resent any of these companies/institutions for not hiring me? Absolutely not, it was just not the right fit at the right time. I’m posting this for all of the new librarians, recent graduates, those still in school and those considering librarianship as a career. I was doing my job search back in 2008 and the marketplace is even tougher now due to the economy. I’m sure many of you have similar piles of rejection letters (or maybe you throw them out as they come… or maybe you’re awesome and found a job on your first or second try). I am writing today to say: don’t give up hope!

I’ve seen a lot of good posts lately that might be of interest to those of you who are at various stages of the job search:

As always, feel free to ask me any questions about my job search (and search committee) experiences. I would love to help bring more passionate professionals into the field. Are you currently looking for a job? How many places have you applied to? Any surprises so far?

Written by Erin Dorney

September 20, 2010 at 8:49 AM

Implications of a School Media Degree?

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I recently received an email from a current graduate student who was wondering whether getting an MS in LIS with a School Media specialization might limit her when it comes to applying for jobs in other environments such as academic, public, or special libraries.

Because I’ve only been on one search committee since I’ve become a professional librarian, I could only really share my opinions and observations. I basically told her that I don’t think it will limit her as long as she can make a strong enough case for the skill set required. She has experience interning in an academic library and clerking in a public library, demonstrating that she is exploring multiple options. That hands-on experience already catapults her above many new grads who will have never worked in a library in their life. I think if her cover letter is strong enough, and if the job is the right fit, she should be able to justify it.

I also took to Twitter/Facebook and asked some of my colleagues what they thought about the issue.

? from LIS student: will getting a school media degree limit career choices (academic/public/special)? #librarians pls chime in

Library school student Amy Pajewski – “from what i’ve heard in face-to-face class..once you choose school lib, you do nothing else. However, the old director of the Lanc Pub Lib System was a school librarian who became director of a public library and then went back to school libraries bc it was her passion. I think it would be easier to switch school to public rather than special/law/academic.”

Recent LIS grad Kiyomi Deards states that in her opinion – “Might make it hard to get into an academic library, education liaison might work, but I don’t see it translating to corporate”

Library school student Maria Rachelle Bedia – “school media are given specific courses and electives to take geared towards becoming a school librarian… I think this is a bit stricter than the other concentrations… at least that was what I saw when I looked at the curriculum for each specialty.”

Recent LIS grad & librarian Peter Coyl – “I don’t think so. The only way they’ll know is if you put it on your resume or job app, and nothing says you have to do that”

Academic librarian & professor Ryan L. Sittler – “School media COULD be limiting. But in practice… not really. There are no limitations in regard to public librarianship. And for academic? There are few, if any. That said, depending on where you apply… there may be a perception that the degree is not as “robust.” Even though it requires more credit hours…” and later “Depends on the type of job, too. A SLM person transitioning to work as a Teen Services Librarian at a public library or an Instruction Librarian at a college/university might actually be a better hire.”

Librarian Philippe Cloutier – “Definitely not limiting. It creates more opportunities if anything.”

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments (I’ll be pointing the student here to read any additional responses).

Written by Erin Dorney

July 12, 2010 at 10:25 AM