Category Archives: Library Jobs

Librarian I (two positions) – White Plains Public Library NY – Apply by August 13

The Library, with a staff of 42 FTE, attracts nearly 30,000 people to its programs and circulates over 730,000 items. The Library includes the Trove, a library for children, and the Edge, an innovative library for teens that includes a digital media lab. The final phase of its capital campaign will create a Learning Commons for adults as well as a café and bookstore.

Special consideration will be given to candidates with experience, training, or interest in any of the following: digital media, emerging technologies, services to teens, services to adults 55+, and local history. Experience in instruction is a plus, as is fluency in Spanish.

http://metro.org/jobs/librarian-i-two-posistions-white-plains-public-library-619/

Help Me Write a Job Description: Publisher of Community

For the past year, I have had a foggy notion for a new librarian position, but I can’t quite get my mind wrapped around it. So, I am turning to you, TTW community, to help.

Today, I am once again skimming through R. David Lankes’ amazing book The Atlas of New Librarianship. I am looking over page 67 at the idea of librarians as “Publisher of Community.” This may be the closest definition to what I have in mind. Lankes writes,

“I foresee the day in the near future when librarians spend the majority of their time working with community members and community organizations making their content accessible: where acquisitions is a matter of production, not purchasing. The future of libraries (and librarians) is in becoming publishers of the community.”

For me, this is another demonstration that the most powerful ideas are not new ideas. They are ideas you’ve already had but someone else expresses for you. In the future, I want all of the librarians at my library to be publishers of the community. We do this on a smaller scale now, but I would like to see this grow. The best way to make this happen is to devote a position to it so that there is a person taking on the responsibility and providing leadership.

But, what skills should this person develop? What responsibilities should this position carry forward? Considering our library’s organizational structure, this position would work best as an faculty librarian with public service & instructional responsibilities. On our campus, this would align the position with classroom faculty and build connections to the curriculum. Additionally, momentum is building on our campus around mobile technology, lecture capture, cloud-based solutions, and e-textbooks. The timing could be right.

With all of this in mind, I want to find someone who can:

  1. Capture content: I am thinking digitally (video, images, blog posts, etc), but I am not quite sure. This may also be more along the lines of publishing. But, I am not really thinking about an archivist. Maybe…
  2. Think like an activist: see my past TTW post
  3. Act with the sensibility of a journalist: I envision someone who can develop content following a process similar to that of a journalist developing a story. This is someone who can write (create?) information that engages the community in discussion around important issues facing our campus & region.
  4. Help instill meta-literacy skills in our information literacy program: We have built a solid information literacy program on our campus, but it is largely focused on traditional research skills. While this is still relevant, we have a need to expand our conceptualization of information literacy.
  5. Work with students and faculty within and outside of the classroom: Ideally, this person would be able to speak the language of the classroom, so she or he would understand assessment, classroom management, and the instructional design process.

I am not sure about a job title: Community Publishing Librarian, Meta-Literacy Librarian, Digital Content Librarian,???

Now, I turn to you TTW readers. I know that I have listed enough ideas here for about five positions, but in this budget environment, it may take several years of advocating before I get one (if any). So, I have to shoehorn these skills together as much as possible, get a job description together, and then start planning.

Maybe you know of job descriptions that could be helpful? Perhaps you can better define needed skills? What am I missing? What should I remove?

Focusing and defining this position will require specific knowledge of our campus and our library, so don’t stress about that. I’ll worry about that. I am looking for ideas, inspiration, and examples. I would love to hear what’s on your mind.

Thanks.

-Post by Troy Swanson, Tame the Web Contributor

Troy A. Swanson is Department Chair & Teaching & Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.
Two quick disclaimers: 1) This is an academic exercise focusing more on the evolution of librarians and is in no way part of my job responsibilities on my campus. No confidential or HR-related information has been shared in this post. 2) If you are a job seeker (and I know there are many out there), please do not send me your resume. As I mentioned above, we do not have a job opening and probably will not have a job opening in the near future.

When “Library” Is Not an Action but an Old Building – A TTW Guest Post by Dr. Troy Swanson


 I have heard reports of the demise of libraries and librarians since I first entered library school over thirteen years ago. I tend to not pay much attention to them, but in the last few months a couple articles followed by personal experiences have caused me a bit of concern. The first was Rick Anderson’s guest editorial in the Journal of Academic Librarianship (July 2011, 37:4) where he argued that we have valuable services, but students and faculty don’t really care. Second, was the blog post by Mike Shatzkin (http://www.idealog.com/blog/it-will-be-hard-to-find-a-public-library-15-years-from-now) where he argues that big picture trends are going to push libraries and librarians out of existance. I do not necessarily buy his entire argument, but after that I was shocked to read that there are one third less librarians today than there were in 1990 (An analysis using 120 years of census data by Sydney Beveridge, Susan Weber and Andrew A. Beveridge, http://blog.oup.com/2011/06/librarian-census/). I was astounded by this. But, the icing on the cake was the conversations I had with a few friends.

The first conversation was with my former roommate’s father-in-law. We were in Oak Park (Illinois) celebrating the third birthday of my roommate’s son. It was a warm July day, and the father-in-law and I were hiding in the shade with cold drinks. He is a researcher at a medical school at a major research university in the Chicago-area. Even though he and I are in very different parts of higher education, we always enjoy talking shop—budgets, grants, students, publications, research—always interesting conversation.

Naturally, our conversation turned to libraries, and I have to say I was a bit surprised when he asked, “So, will there even be a need for libraries in the future?” He asked it in a way that assumed there would not be. My shock must have shown, because he fumbled a bit and tried to say something reassuring.

I asked him if he used his library, and he said to me that he couldn’t remember the last time he had actually been in a library on campus. I asked him if he had used the library’s website. He said, “Oh, yeah. All the time. I search it constantly. Probably once a week at least.” For him, it seemed that the building was something different than the website, which were both something different from librarians.

To answer his question, I assured him that libraries were stronger than ever, virtually and physically. I told him that the articles he accesses in his office did not just magically appear out of the ether, but that there were people who had to make tough decisions about what to purchase. I also promised him that there were absolutely librarians on his campus who were dying to give him more help than he could possibly imagine. One phone call, one email, one visit and he would find the best research partners imaginable. I told him that he just needed to take the Pepsi challenge and give his librarians a call. He chuckled at this, and I am sure that he has not contacted anyone from his campus libraries.

I have thought much about this conversation over the last month. I have played it back in my head.  I am struck by the apparent disconnect in his mind between physical space, website, and library services. To me, these things are all critically intertwined into an essential service at the heart of the academic machine. To him, these are loosely connected entities, most of which he did not need since he had the convenience of the PC in his office. He did admit to me that he preferred to research in his office as opposed to home because “things just seemed to run smoother on the campus network.”

A few weeks later, my family went camping with some friends. Two of whom are researchers. One is an economist fighting his way through the tenure process at a major research university in the St. Louis-area, and the other is an atmospheric chemist who is an independent contractor that works closely with several university researchers. I asked them about their library use. They both agreed that the information they access regularly is not available for free on the web and that libraries were absolutely vital to their work. In fact, the chemist sheepishly admitted to me that he gets campus log in information from friends so that he can still get to expensive databases for free. However, they both agreed that they hadn’t spoken with a librarian (besides me) since they first entered graduate school. They assumed that librarians were on campus to work with undergraduates. I told then that was only part of our work.

Now, I am sure that libraries are not going to close up shop anytime soon, but I do think that there is cause for concern by those of us who hope to work in this profession for the coming decades. This concern was captured by Rick Anderson in his editorial when he said, “Eventually the term ‘library’ becomes an honorific attached to a building, rather than a meaningful designation for what happens inside it” (p. 290) For us, we offer services that we believe complement each other and provide a range of support for researchers. But, our patrons do not necessarily see it this way. As Anderson also said, “Value that is not valued is not valuable” (p. 289). Obviously, it is on our shoulders to continue to advocate and reinvent libraries to better serve our users. But, frankly, that’s what I feel like I’ve been doing for the last decade.

————
(By the way, you can read Gary Price’s response to Mike Shtzkin here, http://infodocket.com/2011/04/07/the-globe-and-mail-mike-shatzkin-in-montreal-libraries-dont-make-sense-anymore/.)

 

Troy A. Swanson is Teaching &Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. You can follow him on Twitter at @t_swanson.

Office Hours Extra: Digital Media & Learning Job at MacArthur

How cool is this recent ad for  the position of Program Officer, Digital Media & Learning at the MacArthur Foundation?: (bolding is mine)

Knowledge, Skills, and Experience:

The Program Officer role requires graduate training and experience as a researcher or designer, with a strong grasp of research and theoretical literature relating to learning, adolescent development and new media, and practical, “on-the-ground” experience with youth, in libraries and museums or schools. He or she must be familiar with significant thought leaders and national organizations in relevant fields, and to be a respectful, collaborative colleague who can build bridges and actively engage diverse staff members, designers, entrepreneurs, youth practitioners, policymakers, and researchers in productive, vigorous debate. The Program Officer must have strong interpersonal skills and be able to function as part of an interdisciplinary team, and to work across disciplines and sectors in a rigorous environment of thoughtful intellectual exchange. 

Excellent analytical and communications skills, including writing, presentations and public speaking, are required. Other essential skills include: effective interpersonal relations and an ability to organize and convey problems and issues clearly and succinctly; an ease with and openness to people who hold diverse views; and a good sense of organization and talent for managing multiple tasks with significant initiative. The Program Officer should be self-confident, collegial, and diplomatic, and have an appreciation of the role of a grantmaking institution. Computer literacy is a prerequisite for consideration, including a high level of comfort with “do-it-yourself media.”

https://www.cytiva.com/cejobs/DetailMac.asp?mac90

It seems to me an LIS grad who specialized in the areas of learning, emerging technologies and research might be well-suited for the position. The emphasis on learning would have to go way beyond “User Instruction” style classes to a broader view though. Is this possible to do within the curriculum of our current LIS programs? How much customization can be expected.

This ad would make for an interesting discussion in curriculum planning sessions.

Displaced at ALA Annual

Hello from ALA 2009, Chicago.  I’ve just come from the Placement Center, located in the far-off land of McCormick Place South.  Although this was the first time I’d ever ventured there, I have to admit that I walked away a bit disappointed.  Twelve booths lined the ballroom—only two of which were academic libraries…only one of which was in the United States.

I spotted a former colleague who was waiting for an interview with one of the public libraries.  He has been in the field for a number of years and explained to me, a newbie, that only a few years ago this room would be filled.  “This is where most recruiters found their prospects,” he said.  “The Internet has changed all that, making the hiring process entirely different.”  Not that the Internet had made things bad by any means, but it certainly has changed the way we seek jobs—and has made the Placement Center incredibly unexciting.  Everything happens behind the scenes now.  I went there to meet possible employers and gain enthusiasm by talking about what they do face to face—something that the Internet doesn’t allow when I blindly submit an application through HR.  Although I am incredibly aware that fewer and fewer jobs are available, it was so disheartening to see that THE national library conference only twelve organizations had come—and some of these were only there to show presence and had no openings.

Perhaps this only further proves that networking is key out there, and being at ALA Annual 2009 is a great place to meet new people in a less formal way than the Placement Center.  For anyone else that is out there looking, I wish you all the best.

+TTW Contributor Katharine Johnson

Library Job Searching in a Tough Economy

When I read recently that I had been one of 200 potential candidates for an academic library position I came to the sad realization that, yes, this economy was going to affect my job search tremendously.  As a recent graduate from Dominican University’s LIS program, I’ve been on the hunt for a few months and my techniques for searching have changed quite dramatically.  I used to sample a few sites a couple times a week and browse through the listings in ACRL publications, but recently I’ve refined my attack to be much more effective.  I’d like to share what I’ve learned.

You may ask, “why unveil your modus operandi to potential job-seeking competitors?”  Well, we’re all hurting when it comes to job searching.  My father was recently unemployed for nearly a year.  I watched him stress out over personal, financial, and professional concerns as he looked and looked for something new.  Luckily, he was hired by a non-profit company, and, I hope, has let some of those concerns wash away.  I hope that some of these techniques may help you avoid the stress that has affected my father and many like him and help you find that position you so dearly seek like I do.

Please add your techniques or sites in the comments.

Twitter

You may have dismissed Twitter as another social networking fad or annoyance or haven’t looked at Twitter as a job searching tool, but I ask you to reconsider.  There are a few solid Twitterers out there that list new library jobs as tweets:

Facebook

I’m not all that active on Facebook but I did notice that ALA’s JobList was active on this social networking site.  Please leave a comment if you know of any other library job sources on Facebook

Forums

Rachel Singer Gordon has brought us another wonderful library-related project with her LISjobs.com forum.  You can find postings, discussion, and even a good share of encouragement if needed.  Again, if you know of any other library-related job forums please share them in the comments.  And thanks again, Rachel, for your services.

RSS

Using Google Reader combined with an application called EventBox, I’ve been following RSS feeds quite closely.  Of all the “new” tools out there to help find new jobs, RSS is probably the most useful.  Major sites like Educause, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many others provide feeds for certain types of positions, categories, or even search phrases.  I’ve found that some human resources pages of organizations include RSS feeds, but not nearly enough as I’d like.

Tabbed Browsing and Favorites

When all the new tools of the web fail you, go ahead and rest on the tried and true techniques like adding sites as favorites.  For those sites that don’t offer RSS feeds or organizations that I want to make sure I know when jobs have opened up, I favorite their human resources page.  I then put all those favorites in a folder and a couple times a week open those favorites in tabs in Safari (or your browser of choice) and skim the postings.


TTW Contributor: Kyle Jones
http://thecorkboard.org
@thecorkboard