After a trip to IFLA last year, a colleague at MPOW dreamed up a project to facilitate online peer-mentoring relationships between librarians from around the world and as sometimes happens with this particular colleague, got a few others (including me) involved.
The International Librarians Network invites librarians to participate in a 6 month facilitated program where the co-ordinators will match you up with someone you don’t know, based on a few details you give about your professional interests. Relationships are then supported over the 6 month period with discussion topics and suggestions about ways to communicate and professionally connect.
For the first 6 months in 2013 the program will run as a pilot and there is still time to join up – go and sign up today! The program is keen to attract librarians from as many different parts of the world as possible to give it a true international flavour and ensure a widespread sharing of ideas.
Much more information about the program can be obtained from looking at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on the program website.
I’m pleased and proud to be associated with this project and just sorry I can’t be at NLS6 in person next week to help launch the pilot.
I’ve been involved in a review of some material in our Library & Information Science collection and in the process have come across some gems from the past. I’ve already highlighted one book that devoted a (short) chapter to the role of women in libraries. Today I bring you a short quote about the future of libraries from 1964. The book is called Teach yourself librarianship and is from a series that includes titles such as The teach yourself guidebook to Western thought, Teach yourself journalism and Teach yourself to teach.
It is unlikely that the book will soon be superseded as the medium for escape, entertainment and intellectual stimulus. Television is thought to have encouraged quite as much as it has discouraged reading for pleasure. But if machines can be taught to read, summarize and, at man’s will, regurgitate technical information (and this now seems to be within the realm of practical possibility), then the information services of libraries may well be revolutionized…The profession today thinks less in terms of books in chains and documents in custody than of the active liberation and circulation of information as the intellectual life-blood of the community.
In some ways, not much has changed, has it?
I would like to share with you a few lines from a book I found in the LIS collection at MPOW. Bear in mind that we have not taught LIS here for more than 15 years – so our collection is dated to say the least. This particular gem comes from a 1961 book called ‘Librarianship’, from a series called The Sunday Times Career Books. Chapter 15 is really called ‘Specially for Maidens’. It probably won’t come as any surprise that this book was written by a man! Here we go:
Librarianship, too, is a profession with a distinct appeal to the female sex and the work is well-suited to women. It requires at many stages such personal characteristics as accuracy, persistency, neatness, orderliness, and a liking for work with the public…Many women, of course, do not enter the profession as a long-term career. Marriage is the ultimate objective (and incidentally work in a library has its advantages in this direction too) but until then at any rate they are able to earn a reasonable salary…
The work is interesting in all its aspects, but that which is particularly attractive to women is work as a Children’s Librarian…Cataloguing work, too, is well suited to the feminine temperament, for it demands great accuracy and consistency…On the other hand, many women seem to fight shy of the administrative posts, which carry more responsibility and need greater organising ability. Perhaps this is one more reason why the majority of such positions go to men!
I don’t think there’s really anything else to say.
Over the weekend I read a post from Fiona at A work in progress that has got me thinking about my career mojo.
The blogosphere has been full of posts about what it means to be a librarian, what LIS students need to know, (here and here) and whether our university courses prepare librarians adequately or appropriately. I’m sure this flurry of writing coincides with the new academic year in the US and the end of the academic year here in Australia. Add into the mix some doom and gloom about the future of the library as we know it (job cuts and library closures in the UK being the focus of Roy Tennant’s Digital Libraries post this week) and it’s no wonder that graduates like Fiona and myself feel a bit dazed and confused.
Now I’m in a horrible limbo land. I’ve finished my course. I am officially a graduand. But I’m yet to find work in a library and am feeling my tenuous grip on the pulse of librarianship slipping away by the day. It’s not that I’m not still reading blogs and articles and tweets from fabulous librarians and educators. It’s not that I’ve lost any of my passion for sharing information and helping to connect people to the information that they need. It’s just that without papers to write or a library job to go to it’s all feeling very abstract.
For a variety of reasons I didn’t work in the library industry while I was studying for my library qualifications, so I completely understand the disconnect Fiona is feeling. Now, a year after finishing my course and with almost a year of full time work in the profession under my belt I’m feeling a bit the same again.
MPOW is full of wonderful, caring and genuine folk but as an OPL in a very small educational institution I’m starting to feel the restlessness kick in. I will always be grateful to my current employer for the opportunity they gave me as a graduate to take this position and for the opportunities for professional development and advancement of my skills that they have allowed me to take while working here, but I’m eager to take my new found skills and apply them in the wider libraryland.
Like Fiona, I’m back in a bit of limbo-land. It’s completely the wrong time of year here to be looking for a new job, not only am I competing with the fresh, new crop of graduates but the long holiday shuts a lot of things down now until the end of January. In a way, I’ve also shut down. I love reading about the fabulous things that others in my PLN are achieving in their workplaces but it’s mixed with wishing that I had the opportunity to do/implement/experience some of those things too, which just induces more restlessness.
I have leave over Christmas and into the New Year. I can only hope that when I return from leave, some of my career mojo is back.
I was doing some updating of my ALIA PD points today and it startled me to see that I have pretty much already accumulated the points I need for the 2011 year (it’s a financial year thing). I only joined the scheme in April 2010, realising that all the reading and learning I had been doing for my new job since starting here in February could also be counted as PD points. It then occurred to me that it’s probably time to update my CV with some of this learning and achievement and professional progress.
So this is a relective and slightly self indulgent post, a pause to look at what I’ve learned and managed to achieve since starting at MPOW (my first professional position and first full time job in 18 years) back in February 2010. I’m pretty pleased with this list. I have:
- joined the ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee (NGAC)
- learned how to participate in teleconferences
- developed a web site using Google sites and written and uploaded all the content myself
- developed and written library and academic skills modules for the college moodle
- implemented a monthly student newsletter (college wide, not just library news) that I now co-ordinate & edit
- learned how to conduct information literacy workshops (and learned that it’s different each and every time)
- learned how to use prezi (thanks @misssophiemac)
- learned how to use flickr (thanks @restructuregirl)
- learned how to use twitter (thanks tweeps!)
- established a Facebook presence for both the library and MPOW generally
- learned about Orkut as a social networking site
- participated in a blogging project (#blogeverydayinjune)
- written my first collaborative document as part of an NGAC task
- been to UTS to hear Heidi Julien talk about information literacy
- been to the ALIA Biennial conference in Brisbane and met lots of new people
- learned how to use the Libraries Australia database
- written my first article for InCite (as yet unpublished)
- discovered what a ‘personal learning network‘ is and how to develop and contribute to one
- participated in discussions about my experiences as a student as part of research into LIS education
- started planning for the library to move to another building and co-locate (finally!) with the computer lab
Some of this has been ‘just part of the job’ and some has been personal professional development that may or may not cross over into ‘the job’ but I believe (and fortunately, so does my employer) that it is all part of being an active participant in a learning profession and that ultimately that has benefits and payoffs for the employer beyond the ‘things that get done on the job’.
Probably the most valuable part of all of this to me has been the professional networking through twitter, NGAC and the conference. I had an example of this just today in a focus group discussion for the LIS research project – I was delighted to find another participant was someone I had met at the conference. Connecting and reconnecting is what helps build the profession. I’m not sure where all that will take me in the longer term career sense but I’m sure it’s going to be positive.
image: Ecliptic Star Trails by makelessnoise via flickr
Barely 8 months after saying “that’s it, I can’t possibly EVER study again” I find myself on the brink of a 6 week course on evidence based practice. FOLIOz is a program of online learning developed specifically for librarians at Sheffield University in the UK. Here in Australia, ALIA links with this UK partner to deliver short, email and wiki based online learning for LIS professionals as part of the PD program for ALIA members.
So far so good. I’ve had my first email from the course facilitator and have set up my email inbox to forward those emails to a separate folder so I don’t lose them in the avalanche of email that comes into my personal account every 24 hours. The course outline comes with a schedule of tasks and emails we can expect to get and there will be roughly one a (working) day for the next weeks so that’s quite a bit more traffic in my inbox!
I’m keen on attending the EBLIP6 conference in Manchester, UK in June next year and thought this course might be a good introduction and a way of working out whether I really do want to spend that money and go all that way (of course, I do want the UK holiday that would be tacked on as part of it…).
Watch this space….
image: Back when I studied Chinese by alexandralee via flickr
The first ALJ for the year arrived in my PO Box this week. I have always enjoyed getting and reading it, even when I had a student membership of ALIA I always added ALJ onto my subscription.
I skimmed the articles and put them aside for later, deeper reading and dived straight into the book reviews as I find these helpful and informative. I was struck (again – this is nothing new and was a constant source of irritation while I was studying) by the dearth of Australian publishing in our field. There were some 27 reviews in this issue, 1 Australian publication, 3 British, 1 Canadian and the rest from the USA.
Do we really have nothing to say about library practice, evidence, education or experience in Australia? I know it’s a far cry from #blogeverydayinjune to producing a book or even a research paper, but if this experience has taught me nothing else, it has taught me that the Australian library community has plenty to say on all of these issues. So, do we just not have a wide enough audience to justify the effort and cost of publication?