Working: High School vs University Libraries

In my first year out of university, I worked in high school libraries. And for the last two years, I’ve been working in an academic library. For those who are just starting their career journey, and are interested in this type of library work, I thought I would write about what its like working in each of these environments.

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Embedding Information Research Skills with Dr Karey Harrison

At the university I have been working at, I was able to attend an inspiring peer learning seminar.

It’s focus was on embedding information research skills within courses and was presented by Dr Karey Harrison. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to think about how we can encourage students to develop their research skills, especially since I was recently a student doing this myself!

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Building a Library Homepage/Website using LibGuides

At one of my school library positions, I was solely responsible for designing, creating and maintaining a new library webpage using LibGuides.

This system is used by many school and university libraries for an array of purposes. LibGuides can be used within a university’s website to create individual subject guides. For example, the Law Library at a university may link to individual LibGuides for Criminal Law, Tax Law, Writing a Research Project, Finding Case Law etc while still sitting within the larger institution’s website (run by another vendor). I have helped with some guides like this while working at a university library, as well as other e-learning systems such as Moodle (creating quizzes for students and online tutorials etc).

However at the school library, the LibGuide constituted the entire library website, linked over from the school’s webpage. Here I will briefly discuss the functionalities of such as system and my experiences in using it to create a website from the ground up.

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‘Cultural Weeding’ Workshop

A few months back, I attended a full day workshop through the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV). It was called ‘Cultural Weeding’ and was run by Kevin Hennah, who also authored the book ‘Rethink’.

Kevin is a consultant, originally from the retail field, who works with libraries to rethink and upgrade their layout and culture for the 21st Century. His workshop “showcases forward thinking and innovative initiatives. A collection of ideas that…need to be embraced or at least considered in order to keep libraries relevant for many years to come.” While I focus mainly on the school library, these ideas are also easily applicable to public and other libraries.

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A Job Readiness Strategy for MLIS Students and Recent Graduates

The American Library Association – Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) has published this interesting article in their eNewsletter ‘Library Worklife’ (October 2015 issue), titled ‘A Job Readiness Strategy for MLIS Students and Recent Graduates’.

It is of especial interest to students and new graduates, and while written by an American organisation, is very relevant to us here in Australia as well.

I’m glad to see that the knowledge and advice I have written about in my previous blog posts for students and new grads touches on very similar strategies.

The job readiness strategy in this article focuses on two pillars: first, building experience through “temporary” positions. Temporary positions are defined in this strategy as jobs that are short term and help develop a career. These jobs should increment the knowledge and skills needed for a particular type of professional librarian position. The second pillar is to form a network. As a person works through these temporary positions a professional network begins to take shape; hence, creating new opportunities for collaboration and professional development.

Have a read of the full article and good luck with your developing career!

Michelle De Aizpurua

My Youth Programs & Ideas (Engaging Youth in Libraries Part 2)

One of my favourite things about working in a high school library is using my creativity to engage the students to come in and enjoy our collections and events. I want them to view the library as a safe haven, and a fun place to spend their time. I want them to know they can come to the library whenever they want to relax, read, play, or need help with school stuff. This post will discuss the programs I have run, and some ideas I have for the future to continue to engage youth in the library.

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International Librarians Network – Featured Article!

How exciting! I have been featured in a short article on the International Librarians Network (ILN) website. The article talks about LIS studies, and provides my two top tips for students. You can read it here.

I have been a member of the peer mentoring program through the ILN since 2014 and have been thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to learn from professionals all across the globe. My current partner is from the Philippines and we have had some fantastic discussions about Library studies and work. It fascinates me to learn about the differences, and the many similarities, we face in the field in such different parts of the world.

If you have the time to commit to an email pen-pal situation, sign up for the next intake on their website.

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Thanks for reading,

Michelle De Aizpurua

Library @ The Dock Youth Unconference – ‘Outside the Lines’ (and Part 1 on Engaging Youth in Libraries)

The ‘Outside the Lines’ Youth Unconference at the Library at the Dock (unconference – “a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants, rather than following a conventionally structured programme of events”) was an amazing experience. It was totally free and even provided morning and afternoon tea. The presenters were all young and had interesting insights. It was held in a beautiful location on a wonderful sunny day. I had a blast!

Their unconference description:“It is your chance to gain insight into what young adults are interested in, how libraries can support and collaborate with them and how we can broaden our thinking about young people into a more creative, flexible and innovative framework that will take libraries outside the lines. By participating you will have the opportunity to: Hear first-hand from young people and their experiences with the library and community organisations.”

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Professional Development, Memberships & Networking

It is really very important to keep up to date with new developments, innovations, ideas, issues and so forth in our field. You need to be a life-long learner if you are going to succeed in Libraryland 😉 Things are constantly changing; the way we utilise space, new technologies, what is expected of us, how we are viewed and how we must justify ourselves. There is a lot to learn. Not only this, it is important to network and get to know other professionals. You need to create relationships. These are especially helpful if you have a question or need some guidance, or more employment. So where to start? There are a few things you can do:

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