UBC iSchool Career Talk Series: Journey from LibTech to Tech

The UBC iSchool reached out to me recently asking me to talk about my path from getting my library degree to ending up working in a tech company. Below is the script for my portion of the talk, along with a transcription of the questions I answered. Continue reading “UBC iSchool Career Talk Series: Journey from LibTech to Tech”

Learning to be a Systems Administrator for Horizon ILS

This is one of those presentations that never was, but I thought it would be interesting to write up anyway as a reflective piece. Interestingly, I didn’t find out that I would be the library’s ILS administrator until after I started the job. It didn’t really make any difference, and if anything, I was glad to be doing some of the operational work on the systems side. I have never actually been a systems librarian so I had a lot to learn and I have been grateful for the opportunity. Continue reading “Learning to be a Systems Administrator for Horizon ILS”

Worklife Balance and Taking the Time Off

This is a personal reflection piece that I wrote while on vacation, where my brain compelled me to write this piece whether I posted it publicly or not. It certainly helped me to get this down, and maybe it’ll help other people reflect on their own worklife balance. Continue reading “Worklife Balance and Taking the Time Off”

Yet Another Tips Post on Job Applications

There is so much literature out there already on how to write job applications (namely cover letters and resumes) that I wasn’t sure I was going to write this post, but based on the job applications that I was looking over, I’m almost amazed at how many glaring errors people still make. Continue reading “Yet Another Tips Post on Job Applications”

Open Everything in Libraries

I started writing this blog post quite a while ago as you can tell from the intro, but I had forgotten about it and decided to recently finish it.


Listening to the talks at Code4LibBC last week, I began to think about open data and collections, but then starting to also think about the role of libraries and the idea that it’s a public space.
Continue reading “Open Everything in Libraries”

SLA 2014: ‘I Am Not a Brand!’: Building Your Personal and Professional Profile

by Mary Ellen Bates

You’re a Brand

  • it’s how you show up
  • it’s not what you intended to do, it’s what people see what they interact with them
  • it’s what you’re known for
  • it’s what Google shows about you, you need to show up, because they expect you to be there

Your Message

  • an empty result is a message too
  • email signature file
  • cover memo
  • internal website bio
  • pictures and descriptions
  • recent projects, successes
  • even attendance of conferences
  • where you volunteer, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you and how they perceive you
  • social media

Why Get Social

  • it’s like looking in a phone book, people expect you to show up where they expect you to
  • need to be as findable as possible
  • 40-80% companies used social media to research job candidates

What Matters?

  • 57% professional image
  • 50% good personality
  • 50% wide range of interests
  • 49% background & qualifications
  • 46% creativity – if also have the ability to do the future job

Be Smart

  • keep updates public, but remember that it’s public
  • no political rants (or pick your battles) – be willing to live with consequences if you post
  • easy on the family & vacation photos – okay, but be moderate
  • “about me” updated with professional photo
  • post regularly
  • be authentic
  • create and lead a group if you really want to establish yourself as an expert
  • link with all clients and colleagues
  • give recommendations – shows support, care about the profession
  • post comments, retweet – forward what other people are saying

Ideas on What to Say

  • insights from a conference
  • read others’ blogs, tweets
  • learn (take a class, volunteer)
  • ask questions, conduct a survey
  • share everything – gets more out there even if it’s copied

What to Say

  • what are you passions? what gets you excited?
  • what do you want your next employer to know about you?

For Organizations

  • people tune out fast
  • need to talk about why, not what and in readable ways e.g. “We search premium databases”, no!, change it to “We expand your horizons beyond Google” / “We have a wide range of databases” to “We provide global insights with unfiltered results unlike Google” / “I’m a librarian” to “I enable the discovery of new knowledge”
  • talk about results
  • figure out your value proposition
  • see how others do it (especially vendors who have invested in it, make use of it)
  • it’s not all about you – benefits to users, not features; results, not activity

Reflection: Questioning What We’re Saying

The last week or so, I don’t think any one involved in libraries and connected to social media (especially Twitter) will have missed what happened at CLA and the subsequent blow out from that. I mostly declined to comment on the incident (and I’ll explain why below), but it got me thinking. Continue reading “Reflection: Questioning What We’re Saying”

We Can Shape “The Great Age of Librarians”

Thanks to @fsayre, I was recently reading Breaking the barriers of time and space: the dawning of the great age of librarians by T. Scott Plutchak. It’s an interesting look back on the past, how the printed book changed libraries, and how we can be entering “the great age of librarians” with the shift to digital. I thought I would reflect on this a little more. I’m not sure I will come to any better conclusion, but perhaps how this might apply to myself and others. It’s a smattering of thoughts, so I may have to rewrite this later, but I hope this will get some people thinking and discussing. Continue reading “We Can Shape “The Great Age of Librarians””

Thank You: On Awards and Being Recognized in Library Land

Just yesterday, Valerie (@vforrestal) posted an article on the culture in library land of achievements and recognition. To summarize, my takeaway from it is that our focus as librarians should not be winning awards and getting into the “in” crowd, but to do our work well and that we should strive for recognition from colleagues recognizing our everyday contributions as our achievements. Being a fairly new librarian, reading the article was a great reminder that getting awards and proposals accepted is not as important as we might make it out to be. Continue reading “Thank You: On Awards and Being Recognized in Library Land”

Looking Beyond the Library

Stuck in a Bubble?

So often working in a library, I feel like we’re stuck in the bubble that is the “library world”. While there are many aspects that are “special” to libraries or information/collection based organizations, so many aspects of librarianship are not: customer service, teaching, marketing/communications, space usage/design, web and IT services, etc. Yet for whatever reason, I find so many that are reluctant or never think to look outside the little bubble that we live in. Working in academic libraries, at least many people will think to expand into the higher ed world sometimes, but then stop there. Continue reading “Looking Beyond the Library”