December 8, 2010

Beg, Borrow or Steal This Issue

Posted in Inspiration, Job Success, Reference, Resources at 3:10 pm by melissaautumn

Okay, don’t steal it, because stealing is wrong (and you can read the issue online). But, you definitely want to read the fall 2010 issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ).

RUSQ is already one of my favorite journals – it is full of well written articles on a range of reference topics. But, this fall’s issue is spectacularly jam packed with awesomeness:

  • An annotated bibliography of books, articles and resources for reader’s advisory. This is now the go-to source if you want to learn more about reader’s advisory or beef up your collection of resources.
  • A biography of notable librarian Helen Haines.
  • The previously mentioned “Best Free Reference Websites: 12th Annual List.”
  • The annual “Best Historical Materials” list.
  • Four substantial, practical articles:
    • Using wikis to create a ready reference tool for information sharing at the reference desk.
    • Factors that influence people to pursue librarianship. Fellow professionals take note – there’s a lot we can do to encourage promising young (and not so young) people to enter librarianship!
    • Reaching college students through residence halls. This one not only discusses reasons to do outreach in the halls, it gives tons of practical ideas for doing so.
    • Developing guidelines for the use of social software.
  • Updated RUSA “Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services.”

All that and the usual book reviews, too!

December 2, 2010

Undergraduate Library Rap

Posted in Inspiration at 3:34 pm by melissaautumn

This is a bit of a departure for my blog, but three of my former students worked on this awesome video, so I had to share it.

Great work Dave, Dominick, and Jim (and Susan)!

February 23, 2010

How Many Baskets Are Your Eggs In?

Posted in Inspiration, Professional Success at 2:37 pm by melissaautumn

Kerry Ann Rockquemore at Inside Higher Ed has a great article this week on professional success. “Hedge Your Bets,” part of her series “Winning Tenure without Losing Your Soul,” reminds us that the biggest mistake junior faculty can make is to spend all of their time working for their current employers. Although Rockquemore is writing for academics, her sage advice can apply to all of us, whether we work in academic libraries, public libraries, school libraries or any other kind of library.

Rockquemore argues that we need to make connections with colleagues at other institutions and maintain our professional visibility in order to avoid putting all our metaphorical eggs in one basket (she talks specifically about scholarly productivity, but let’s broaden her argument to encompass librarian-appropriate activities like attending conferences and serving in professional organizations). Both networking and professional activity give us connections to the wider world of our profession, fostering a more realistic perspective on our current employer and strengthening our qualifications should we need or want to go on the job market. In addition, I’d argue that they can bring balance and professional satisfaction to our lives, something we should all be striving for.

Now, lest you think I’m the profession’s top writer/networker/conference-goer, let me be very clear – I’m not. I have good intentions to write, but don’t follow through (witness this blog), I’m shy and resist networking, and I rarely attend big conferences for family reasons. But, here’s the important part – I’m trying to be better and you can to.

What I tell myself:

  1. Don’t beat yourself up for what you haven’t done. You can’t change the past, but you can choose to move forward in a new way.
  2. Take small, reasonable steps. I’m trying to be a more consistent blogger. Instead of wishing I could attend ALA, I make an effort to attend local, one day conferences that  fit my schedule and are affordable. I recently started writing with a friend who has more experience in this area and is a great mentor.
  3. Be brave! Are you shy? Do you dread “networking”? I understand; I really do. But, go to a conference or a local meeting anyway. Remind yourself that librarians are nice people – if you try to talk to them, in all likelihood, they will talk back. Alternately, remind yourself that having to talk to strangers will help you maintain empathy for patrons, who we expect to enter the potentially unfamiliar environment of our libraries and ask a complete stranger for help.

I hope you will join me in my quest for professional balance and invite you to share any tips you have for the rest of us.

January 25, 2010

Library Day in the Life

Posted in Inspiration at 9:34 pm by melissaautumn

LIS students – wondering what librarians *really* do all day long? Check out the blog posts, twitter feeds and flickr photo streams at Library Day in the Life.

Bonus! At least one author that we read in reference and in instruction is represented here – can you find her?

And, hey, alumni readers – consider contributing to this communal effort!

May 10, 2009

Mother’s Day and Amazing Moms

Posted in Inspiration at 3:33 pm by melissaautumn

My mom would have turned 65 yesterday, had she not passed away in 1998 from inflammatory breast cancer. At a certain point in her illness, my mother had to stop working. What I remember from that time are her musings on how she was going to change careers, get away from the teaching she had been doing for thirty years to try something new and exciting. I’m still inspired by her example that we are never too old to consider reinventing ourselves, never too old to pursue something new.

In a similar way, I’m inspired by the many women in my classes who are “returning” students. These women are starting graduate school after years of being out of the classroom, often sprinting to catch up with the new technology required to be a successful distance education student and librarian. On top of that, many of these women continue to raise families, hold down jobs and remain active members of their church and community. Like my mother, they inspire me with evidence that we are never too old (or too busy) to learn, grow, change and pursue our dreams.

So, on Mother’s Day, let’s hear it for moms near and far, here and gone (but never forgotten), librarians or not – thanks for inspiring me to be more tomorrow than I am today.