Librarian Stereotype #3: “SSSHHHH,” no talking allowed in the library

Librarians are mean, old bats always telling you to be quiet in the library. They raise a finger to their lips, and say “SSSSSHHHHHHHH.” Not true. Well mostly not true.

All my library friends and professors are talkers. Silly, outgoing, loud, funny talkers. There is rarely silence at the reference desk at LeMoyne since patrons ask questions or I talk to someone behind the desk.

Libraries are becoming social, gathering spots for people to socialize and collaborate. The first floor of a typical academic library at a college is meant for socialization and NOISE. Upper-levels are meant for quiet and study areas, where talking is not allowed.

I have only been shushed by one person in a library, and it was a student. Some library peeps and I were working on a project in the talking section of the library. As one student left, she told us we were too loud and noisy. Apparently, this disturbed her. Little did she know she was “SHHHHHHHINGNNNGG” future librarians. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?


Internship Post #6

Holy cannoli. Lots of projects for the internship:

  1. Weeding out Astronomy and Physics collections (holy science)
  2. Creating Twitter and Facebook accounts for the library (I’m super excited to do this!)
  3. Creating a Flickr account with pictures of the library
  4. Helping create assignments for the science library classes

And I finally received a real question at the reference desk yesterday: “I need a book about soap making.” I was excited to say the least!

The pains and joys of looking for a library job after graduation

People always tell me “Good Luck” searching for jobs after graduation. They think my degree will be worthless, and it will be difficult to find a job in 2012. Libraries are like any other profession: they have had hard times during the recession. It is challenging to find jobs-that’s the reality. But I’m not that worried. I feel most people can find a job in their field if they research and understand the ins and outs of job searches. Most jobs will not be handed to us on a silver platter. We need to work hard, and do our homework so we can start paying back those student loans!

  1. Resumes/cover letters-Each resume and cover letter will be different for each job. They have to be flawless and have a great, organized format. I am always updating my resume with each new project or experience I complete. I bring it to professionals who critique it and provide helpful feedback.
  2. Use of social media/Internet-I am in the process of creating an online portfolio, with a blog, list of courses, resume and projects I have done in the past year. I’m updating my LinkedIn, and trying to be more active on Twitter and Facebook.
  3. Gain new skills-Through my projects and jobs, I have learned how to create LibGuides, learning how to enhance social networks at a library, build content on SU’s Blackboard system and know how to conduct effective searches for patrons.
  4. Narrow your interests-I love all aspects of librarianship, but gaining skills and learning about academic libraries, social media and instructional design could aid me in the long-run if I have specific specialties.
  5. Network-Through my family, friends and jobs on campus, I’m learning to network and maintain relationships with librarians and professionals in the area.
  6. Read, read, read-Read books about trends in the field, read links to articles from Twitter or blogs. Look at ALA’s webpage. Becoming aware of trends and concerns with the profession can only help in the future.
  7. Be willing to relocate-Syracuse may not have numerous library jobs for graduates. I consider Syracuse to be a “library” city because the program is at Syracuse University. I could be competing with fellow peers or professional with an MLS. I understand I might have to look for jobs outside the city, and my comfort zone.
  8. Research the position-If I’m lucky to get an interview, it’s vital to understand the position and organization. If I show I’m confident and share knowledge about the job, I hope potential employers will see my dedication and enthusiasm.

Librarian Stereotype #2: Librarians Love Pride and Prejudice

Colin Firth in a wet T-shirt. We watch BBC’s adaptation of P & P countless times, and quote every line in the movie. We want to marry Colin Firth, and have his babies.

It’s another common misconception that all librarians love Jane Austen, specifically Pride and Prejudice.

Some of my library friends love Pride and Prejudice, but a large number do not like Jane Austen. They are not fans of British literature; some prefer non-fiction, while others love Japanese graphic novels.

I admit I follow the librarian stereotype-I love Jane Austen and Colin Firth. But my favorite novel by the author is Emma, and I loved Colin Firth when I saw him in the movie Valmont.

Internship Post #5

The weeding project for LeMoyne is almost done. It feels like more than two-thirds of the collection will be gone. The library wants to make room downstairs for a learning commons, so the stacks must go.

The past few weeks I have been playing with LibGuide templates, and I’m almost done with the final draft for one. For some reason, I love the concept of these guides. They are a one-stop shop for patrons to receive information about a particular subject area.

My supervisor teaches a “scientific literature” class. Basically, it’s a class that teaches science majors how to conduct research and where to go for information. I’m helping revise the syllabus and creating content and assignments. It got me thinking every incoming student should have a class, or orientation, like this?!?!!

Librarian Stereotype #1: Librarians love reading books, and own hundreds of books.

When people discover I am a library and information science student, the first reaction I receive is this: “You don’t look like a librarian.”

What does a librarian look like? There are hilarious stereotypes and negative media images about an old lady who wears cardigans and buns. She has cats at home, and she loves Jane Austen.  

I plan to dedicate a portion of this blog to explain and demystify librarian stereotypes. Enjoy!

Librarian Stereotype #1: Librarians love reading books, and own hundreds of books.

Though I have a small “library” at my apartment, and love reading, dozens of my peers and LIS professors are not big readers.  Instead of books, they read blog posts, Tweets and articles from newspapers or magazines.

In one of my introduction classes, our professor asked the class who constantly reads, and who does not read often. More than half the class raised hands as not huge readers. This surprised me.

As I’ve networked with professors, librarians in the Syracuse area and other students, I’ve inquired as to whether or not these individuals like to read or not. I’ve received mixed replies, but more than half have been not huge fans of reading books.

Internship Post #4

Weeding Oversized Book Collections

This past Friday morning, I helped weed out science books from the oversized book collection. Books that have not been circulated for more than 10 years are eliminated from LeMoyne’s collection. Dozens of books were weeded; this was more than I thought. Science research is continually changing, and updated resources and tools are needed for patrons. After placing pieces of paper into the oversized books, my supervisor allowed me to look at the collection and place markers in books that did not seem beneficial to the collection. Criteria for this project included relevance of the topic, and age of the book.

How do you know what books to weed out of a collection? Is it books that never or rarely circulate? Books which are outdated and old? Books that now have available electronic formats?

Social Media in Libraries

I completed my literature review of benefits, risks and challenges for establishing a social-media presence in libraries. I was surprised to discover libraries fully support social media, or not at all. A summary of findings includes:

Benefits: Free, easy to use, provide one-stop shop for information about library services and tools, innovative way to connect and communicate with students

Challenges: Deciding what staff member will be in charge of updating social media, how to market, staff support, deciding what to post

Risks: Privacy, security

Book Review: The Witch’s Trinity

The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman turned out to be a good read. After picking this book up at Books & Memories on James Street, I immediately delved into it.

The setting is in the 16th century at a remote German village where hysteria, blame and accusations occur because of starvation and bitter winter nights. Due to a lack of food, townspeople are starving. They look to blame anyone for their problems.

Gude, an elderly woman, is the character lead of this novel. She suffers from memory loss and hallucinations, and these ingredients make her ideal individual to accuse as a witch.

The flow of this book is fast-paced, and the language is written simply. The author digs into Gude’s mind, allowing readers to catch a glimpse of fear and nerves she feels when she has her hallucinations and is in prison awaiting her trial.

I knew witch-burnings and trials were common hundreds of years ago, but I had no idea they were most popular in Germany. I was surprised to discover they happen today in Saudi Arabia and remote places in Africa and India. I would have thought people would be more rational in the 21st century, but I guess not.


Internship Post #3

Yesterday was my first day without training at LeMoyne. Projects and activities happened right when I walked into the door. And I was glad that was the case.

My first project encompasses researching literature about implementing social-media strategies in libraries. LeMoyne Library is on Twitter and Facebook, but my boss wants to enhance the library’s presence on campus. The library’s social networks are not frequently updated or used.  

Surprisingly, there are not helpful articles from journals and databases. I found information from an article in the American Libraries magazine, Facebook for Librarians, and information in a social-media marketing book I’m reading. There is still much to do, but I have a good start to my research and lit review.

I’m helping my supervisor develop LibGuide templates for fall science courses. I thought these guides were called pathfinders (that’s what I learned in my reference class), but this term is out-of-date and not used in libraries. They are called LibGuides or subject guides instead. I looked at a number of examples from universities and colleges at LibGuides, a website LeMoyne subscribes to for ideas and templates.

The most nerve-wracking part of the day was sitting at the reference desk for the afternoon. It was my first time by myself, and I’m happy to say I wasn’t too nervous. Most of the questions were directional, but one patron wanted to locate a book. As each week goes by, I expect to become more comfortable “manning” the reference desk.