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.
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!
Infographics are a really eye-catching and simple way to present your library data and information visually. Maybe you have run a student survey or perhaps you’re making an annual report for your superiors. Whatever the data, you can make it interesting, and quickly viewable, (and show off your IT skills!) by creating an Infographic.
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.
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.
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.
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:
I’m going to try to make this post a bit shorter than the last few.
When I graduated, I had no idea what to do. I applied for lots of work, but most things required experience I did not have. Lots of the jobs advertised either didn’t require my qualifications at all, or were very high level. I rarely see any job advertised in between, even now.
I had to get work experience somehow. So I kept applying, for everything. Eventually, I was lucky enough for a high school to give me chance. I don’t know what it was, but they were willing to give me a go. Bless them. Finally a break. And what a good one, a great school and wonderful team. But, this was a Library Technician position, not really what I had been hoping for, but I was thrilled none the less. I was there for 6months covering someone on leave. Then I got offered the same job at an even better school, one of the best in the State (a select entry school), for a year. Then I got offered casual work as a Library Tech at another amazing school, and then more casual work finally as a Librarian at a university. Slowly, slowly, I have climbed.
Here are some lessons I have learnt from the last year (from working in only one particular area of libraries mind you!):
I just recently started at a new job. Due to short contracts and part-time work being a large factor in getting employment as a graduate, this is the 3rd ‘first day’ in the last year! (I’m now working two part-time jobs, one of which is causal and the other a one year contract)
In any case, I’m really excited about the opportunities this new workplace will provide. I’ll be expanding from high school libraries to a specialist university (law) library. Learning new programs, taking research classes with university students, developing their e-learning modules, there’s a lot to learn and do!
So I thought I would share my experience (there was a really amazing art exhibit involved!), and provide some tips for that sometimes stressful ‘first day’.Read More »
There are a few things I wish I had known back when I was studying. Or things that people mentioned that I didn’t heed enough! People would give advice, and sometimes I’d think – “but I don’t have time for that”. Well I would have if I’d prioritised better. So, some of my tips for students (in no particular order):Read More »