Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Posts Tagged ‘bloggers

Computers in Libraries 2012

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cherry blossoms

On Tuesday I’m headed to Washington DC for the 2012 Computers in Libraries conference (also known as CiL, hashtag #cildc). It’s my first time but I have heard great things from past attendees. Really looking forward to my first conference since early December! I’ll definitely be hitting up @jill_hw for my SU iSchool wristband (any other SU grads out there who are attending?).


I’m presenting “Redesigning Reference Models” with two of my Millersville colleagues on Friday, March 23 from 10:30-11:15am. We’ll be talking about how our renovation project gave us the opportunity to rethink how we provide research help to the campus community, particularly without a centralized physical reference desk. Check out our teaser video and collaborative Google Doc to learn more. We’re encouraging everyone to use the hashtag #undesk for our session so we can keep track of the conversations.


I’ll be blogging, but I’m not sure exactly when due to informal TableCons, LobbyCons, FireCons and BarCons that I’ve been assured will crop up. Live-blogging sessions, nightly recaps, post-conference highlights…anything is possible. There is a list of other CiL bloggers and the conference blog is a pretty nice resource too.

If you want to eat/chat/etc, hit me up on Twitter @libscenester. There are just a few days left to apply for our open Learning Design Librarian position, so if you want to discuss the job at all, hit me up in DC. Hope to see you there!

where credit is due:
Hand-drawn Post Layout via pugly pixel | CC BY-NC 2.0 Cherry Blossom by design_energy | Denne Fuchoor Font via dafont

Written by Erin Dorney

March 19, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Interview with “I Need a Library Job”

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erindorneyCheck out my 6-question interview over on the website I Need a Library Job (INALJ) today! The site is a goldmine of ideas and resources for job seekers, new professionals, LIS students and career-minded information professionals. You can also find INALJ on Twitter, Facebook, and now my Blogs I ❤ page!

Naomi will be posting more interviews in the coming weeks with fellow Lead Pipers Emily Ford and Ellie Collier. Oh yeah… I forgot to mention that I was invited to join the team at In the Library with the Lead Pipe! So honored to be working with such a fabulous group of professionals… and if you have ideas for guest posts over there, talk to me!!

In other news, I’ve added a sidebar widget (right hand side, just above Archives) called “Erin ‘Round the Web” to gather all of my various guest postings published outside of Library Scenester.

Written by Erin Dorney

January 19, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Guest Post: Navigating your career compass by Nicole Pagowsky

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I am pleased to welcome my first guest blogger! Nicole Pagowsky is an Instructional Services Librarian at the University of Arizona. She is a 2011 ALA Emerging Leader, a volunteer/admin for Radical Reference, and Tweets @pumpedlibrarian. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please contact me.

Navigating your career compass

by Nicole Pagowsky

One night before a panel presentation, a combination of lack of sleep and nervous/excited energy prompted me to completely scrap my original outline when I was hit with a random-seeming epiphany about a thing I called a “career compass.” That panel presentation was at ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans, and it’s where I met Erin, as we were on a panel with a number of other librarians for REFORMA’s How I Landed My First Librarian Position, And What I Did ‘In Between’. Luckily for me, my explanation of this idea was coherent, and so Erin invited me to write a guest post for her blog explaining this concept and to also write about one of my projects, Librarian Wardrobe.

The panel and some background

So first, a little background on this panel — it was geared toward LIS students, early career librarians, and any information professionals looking for their first position in the field. Those of us on the panel had a variety of experiences, from being academic, school, public, or special librarians, as well as spending time on hiring committees. The main purpose though was to have us new(ish) librarians talk about what we did before and during our search in a very rough economic downturn to ensure we were attractive to employers. We all have been involved in a number of projects before and after our first positions, so we were asked to share our advice with the audience who may feel lost or unsure about what to do during the first job search (aside from applying to jobs).

At the time, I was a community college librarian in Dallas, TX, but have since moved on to be an Instructional Services Librarian at the University of Arizona. So now I have two job search experiences under my belt, and both in tough times (2009 and 2011). This career compass I thought of that night imparts a 360 view to your job search and your personal brand.

Your career compass

So, essentially, backwards on your career compass is your experience. This is your baseline need for applying to jobs. If you don’t have certain required experience, you won’t even be considered for the position. This experience is a given and makes up the foundation of your profile. Don’t miss out on this during library school or a period of unemployment.

The next step on the compass — side-to-side — would be networking and your career connections. Once you have the experience necessary to be considered, your connections will help reinforce your personal brand, either through having the chance to work on projects or scholarship with others, or opening up other opportunities in general. Networking doesn’t have to be a dirty word: I wrote a bit about it on my blog.

And finally, looking forward on your compass, you have the projects you’re excited about, and your plans for what you are doing beyond the job and your basic experience. This makes you stand out from the other hundreds of candidates competing for the same position who have the same amount of experience as you. What makes you stand out? Why should they pick you? And, looking back at networking, having more interests gives you more stuff to talk about so it’s even easier to build those professional connections.

Wrapping it up

Consider the whole picture when you are assessing your effectiveness as a candidate. Look beyond your experience and requirements for the job. To tie in Librarian Wardrobe (LW), since I have an interest in early career issues, I thought it would be useful to others to create a resource on what librarians wear to work (and job interviews, and conferences, and presentations, etc.). I myself was a little unsure about what was appropriate to wear when I was first starting out, and I can see many others are as well from the LW web stats by how many searches are done for “what does a librarian wear to work?” and various iterations. From metadata collected by each post, you can search by tag to see, for example, what academic librarians wear, or what an instruction librarian wears, or what kinds of scarves librarians are wearing, and so on. Being on Tumblr, the content (aside from interviews) is user-submitted, so we get a wide variety of positions, locations, types of libraries, and also styles. I recently participated in a virtual panel for the SLIS Library 2.011 Conference: Riding the Long Tail: Leveraging a Niche to Build a Network (the recording is now available through that link). We had some great discussions about library communities and homegrown networks.

Thanks to Erin for inviting me to write a guest post! The REFORMA panel will be offered again as a webinar in the future, and hope to see you at #alamw12!

Written by Erin Dorney

December 7, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Tell me again how the stories will differ… (for Artspace New Haven)

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“Library Science” at Artspace New Haven

Artspace New Haven is a nonprofit that showcases local and national visual art, providing access, excellence, and education for the benefit of the public and the greater arts community. Its current exhibition is titled “Library Science”, conceived by New York-based curator Rachel Gugelberger. The exhibition contemplates our personal, intellectual, and physical relationships with the library, focusing on how these relations are changing as libraries adapt to the digital world. From its socio-cultural meaning to its architectural space and classification tools, the library informs the methodology and practice of the artists in “Library Science.”

Presented are the works of 17 artists in a variety of media, including drawing, photography, sculpture, installation, painting, and web-based projects. In conjunction with the exhibition at Artspace, Connecticut artists were invited to submit proposals for research residencies towards creating site- and situation-specific projects at local libraries. “Library Science” seeks to encourage librarians to forge relationships with artists and support the creation and presentation of new artwork by providing assistance with research and access to information.

In a further exploration of personal libraries, Artspace has been contacting librarians (especially those who blog) to invite them to submit written contributions, photographs of their personal libraries, top-ten shelves (ten favorite books), etc. Below is my submission, focusing on my relationship to my personal home library and books as a source of companionship and learning. I encourage other bloggers to write on these topics and send links to their posts to sinclaire(at)artspacenh(dot)org so that she can link to them from the “Library Science” exhibit page.


My Personal Library

Tell Me Again How the Stories Will Differ
When Read on the Screen Instead of on Paper

I’m fairly certain that when the first e-reader was announced, my family released a collective sigh of relief. Surely not because this technology marked the beginning of an era wherein economics and privacy governed the access of information, but because they assumed they would not have to lug another single box of my books to a new residence. In 27 years I have lived in six apartments and a closet (part Harry Potter reference, part truth), each move accompanied by box upon box of skillfully-penned, woefully-bound trade paperbacks. Is it blasphemous for a librarian to prefer the flimsy, mass-produced edition over the handsome hardcover volume? Although my personal library may be organized by color, it does not exist simply as an element of design. No, my books are here to be used, abused, written on, bent up, dropped in tubs, covered in sand, read, re-read, shared, lost, given away. Plainly put, my books make my home.

The three shelves pictured here used to sit in my grandmother’s hallway in Buffalo, NY, stuffed to the brim with the books of May Sarton, Graham Greene, Anaïs Nin, and Colette with assorted wildflower identification manuals and travel guides thrown in for good measure. A personal library is a funny thing. For some, home book collections contain reading material laced with lowbrow embarrassment. For me, being able to look at my shelves and instantly recall when I first read A Girl of the Limberlost (freshman year of high school), who got me hooked on The Clan of the Cave Bear (my older brother), and where I randomly picked up The Handmaid’s Tale (a garage sale), makes me feel like I’ve finally reached land at the end of a long and terrible sea voyage. I distinctly remember a bloody paper cut smearing the pages of The Life of Pi, my tears rippling the pages of Cathy Ostlere’s Lost and the phantom pain in my jaw after we read Autobiography of a Face in my college class on memoir. I have books left behind by past boyfriends, remember stealing my mom’s copy of Summer Sisters (there are dirty bits in there, people!), and my dad has not once, but twice, gifted me copies of The Dharma Bums. My books bring me comfort and have taught me as many lessons as life itself.

Given my overt love of reading, it often comes as a surprise to many friends and family members that I rarely work with print books in my career as a librarian. Instead, I spend the majority of my days solving problems, helping students and faculty members do research, and equipping people will the skills to lead empowered lives. The intersection of knowledge and information is expanding beyond the traditional boundaries of books, covers, and pages. We see content being created communally, locally, and socially, outside the dual constructs of author/publisher. Daily, I witness a new generation of students struggling to reconcile their everyday world of transparent, web-based existence with the conventional assumption of Library = warehouse for books. How best to help the student whose professor has required he make a copy of a print journal article when the library has transitioned to purely electronic journal access. How best to explain to that same student that once he graduates in two years, he will no longer have unfettered access to that body of knowledge due to a strictly enforced pay wall.

In all of this, technology is neither the problem, nor the solution. Print or digital, formats have always come laden with both burden and opportunity. Because print books have served me so well and taught me so much, I am more willing to experiment with my iPad and iPhone as alternative platforms for reading. Last year I experienced a panic attack while riding alone on a New York City subway car. I was able to immediately open The Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay on my phone and skim through stanzas as my fingers left faint marks of sweat on the screen. I smiled as my heart continued beating quickly, but this time, for a different reason.

While I am drawn to the idea of having my library in my pocket, with me at all times, I certainly can’t risk bringing my iPad into a hot bath. For now, I will continue to strategically pack and ask my brothers for help transporting my boxes of paperbacks. Plus, I’ve already worked out the best elbow crook for reading in bed and the perfect angle to block the sun while reading at the beach.


Thanks to Amy Pajewski for the fabulous photo work and to Curatorial Assistant Sinclaire Marber for inviting me to participate. And, anyone who has ever recommended, lent, or gifted me a book. If you can make it up to New Haven to see the exhibit (running now through January 28), I am confident it would be worth your trip!

Written by Erin Dorney

November 19, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Guest Post @ In the Library with the Lead Pipe

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I have a co-authored guest post up at In the Library with the Lead Pipe on renovations as a catalyst for change.

Lead Pipe posts full-length, peer-reviewed articles relating to libraries and is edited by a phenomenal team of leaders. I’ve added them to my Blogs I ❤ page and you should subscribe to their RSS feed ASAP!

Many thanks to my co-author Eric Frierson for inviting me to collaborate on the post and to Melissa Gold, Hilary Davis, Leigh Anne Vrabel, Ellie Collier, and Emily Ford for their review and edits.

Sidenote: This week continues to get better and better – I won a $50 gift certificate to use at the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Fine Craft Fair this weekend and I found out that the Computers in Libraries proposal that my colleagues and I submitted was accepted for the conference! Helllloooo cherry blossoms in March! Any tips for a CiL newbie?

Written by Erin Dorney

November 10, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Future of the Academic Library Symposium

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I am super jazzed to be a part of Library Journal’s second Future of the Academic Library Symposium, coming up on November 11th at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Co-sponsored by Temple University Libraries, this event is FREE & open to librarians and library staff from academic institutions. At this point I haven’t heard anything about the event being recorded or streamed, but I will try to find out. It would be nice if this could be shared with academic librarians who can’t be in Philly in November.

Anywho, the morning program will be focused on “Bridging the Culture Gap” with two segments – Innovation: Freedom vs Control and People: Strengthening the Culture (I’m a panelist!). Then there will be a midday panel about Discovery Services (the symposium is partially sponsored by EBSCO, after all) and the afternoon program will focus on “Bridging the User Gap” with panels of non-librarians (faculty & students) speaking about their experiences. I am pretty blown away to be sharing this event with some of my library land blogging idols, including Jenica Rogers, Courtney Young, Andy Burkhardt, Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches-Johnson. Fangirl much?!

Here’s the blurb from the segment I am speaking on:

“Why can’t my colleagues tolerate change?” Don’t these new librarians realize how we do things here?” “How come the deadwood always rejects my great ideas?” “Technology? That’s the new librarian’s job.” Our academic libraries can become fraught with misunderstanding and stereotypes about our colleagues, and when the gaps grow wide they lead to organizational dysfunction. To build better libraries we must confront these gaps. Doing so requires that we engage in authentic conversation focused on creating a better understanding of each other. Once we learn to appreciate our differences, and how our organizations thrive from the mix of skills we bring to it, we can begin to bridge the culture gap.”

Any readers out there who have thoughts on bridging the culture gap? Certain questions you’d like to see addressed or great answers to the ones posed above? If so, please leave a comment.

You can register and learn more about the event on the Library Journal website. Hope to see you there!

Written by Erin Dorney

October 9, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Some blog updates.

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I’m not quite sure if anyone reads this outside of RSS feed readers, so I wanted to point out a few slight changes to my blog. Within the navigation bar I have combined my About and Contact Me sections. I figured that information could pretty much all fall under About. I also got rid of my Coursework section because I felt like it wasn’t really adding anything to my digital presence here. I will continue to discuss my courses at West Chester on an as-needed basis, but I don’t feel the need to list them all out.

The larger change is that I got rid of all of my links from the sidebar. For some reason, I have never been pleased with that setup. Instead, I created a new page called Blogs I ❤ located along the top navigation bar. I am going to post my favorite blogs there with brief commentary (I am hesitant to call it a “review” because I know my comments will be subjective). I think this is ultimately a better way to share the blogs I enjoy reading and let people know why. Maybe it will encourage readers to check out these new blogs and add them to their RSS feed – at least more-so than a simple link to the site.

What else… oh, a small thing – I added some additional pieces of library-related design work to my Flickr account, so you can preview those in my sidebar widget as well. Just some random things from the past year or so.

So, what do you think? Are there any other changes you would like to see? I just realized that I have never done any “usability” testing on this site… so if you are encountering any problems, let me know. I can work on tweaking it.

Written by Erin Dorney

August 14, 2010 at 12:30 PM