Monday, September 24, 2007


To wiki or not to wiki

As part of reorganizing and redesigning, I'll be adding more info on the LIS career process as a whole, including choosing a library school. I'd like to add some kind of scholarship database, because the information on LIS scholarships is currently so fragmented and hard to find. Logistically, though, I'm not sure how well this would work as a database (tracking down this info and keeping it current), so am thinking that perhaps a wiki where people could add and update scholarship info might be in order, and would also serve well for other content.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions for the semi-wikilliterate?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


WSJ article up

Thanks to everyone who contacted me about their job hunt for the Wall Street Journal. The article on "niche web postings" is up today -- of course, with no mention of or any of you, but so it goes. (Available for free online for seven days.)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Found a Job Lately? Get in the Wall Street Journal

I was just contacted by a reporter from the Wall Street Journal (who's done an article every few years on "niche" job hunting sites, librarianship as a career, etc.). Anyway, she's working on a new article in which she needs to profile "a job hunter who found a new job via an ad on an industry- or geographic-specific site such as yours. But here's the caveat. This person also must have only searched such niche Web sites for jobs and not the biggies like Monster or CareerBuilder."

So, if you found a job through recently, didn't bother searching the general sites, and would love to talk to a WSJ reporter about your experiences, send me your contact info ( and I'll forward on to her.

Edited 7:45 PM Thursday: don't send me any more responses, she says she has enough, thanks!

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Thursday, April 05, 2007


I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want

After listening to a little news story this morning about President Bush pushing controversial appointments through when Congress isn't in session, I've been thinking about entitlement, and the way it goes hand-in-hand with being proactive and taking responsibility. (My personal political biases aside, this atmosphere of "if you're not on board with everything we do, you're anti-American" and "if I can't do it one way, I'll circumvent the process" can't help but be harmful.)

Moving on, though, I see a similar sense of entitlement and attempt to blame others festering among some members of our profession. Yes, the impending shortage of librarians has been overstated. Yes, it's frustrating that desirable locations and areas around library schools are glutted with new graduates. Yes, entry-level salaries in many institutions are embarrassingly low. Yes, these are very real frustrations. Yes, institutions and professional associations should be proactive in offering internships and mentoring programs and broadening their searches and welcoming new blood and....

None of this is unique to librarianship. You'll see the same same "need experience to get experience" trap in lots of fields. You'll see the same rush to live in the same cities, driving costs up and making the job market tighter. You'll see English departments graduating BAs trying to get jobs in New York in publishing; you'll see humanities departments graduating Ph.D.s trying to get jobs, well, anywhere, or even going back for their MLIS, of all things. Complaining about being misled, or that the profession somehow fails new librarians, simply dumps all of the responsibility off of the individual and onto someone else, whether that be the ALA, or a given library school, or the media. While this may make a job seeker feel better -- "it's not my fault it's hard to find a job" -- it doesn't help anyone.

On newlib-l recently, someone posted an interesting job ad from Google. One response boiled down to "I don't have those skills, so this is irrelevant." Well, I don't know SQL either, but the ways in which opportunities for librarians are expanding is darn interesting, and I'll guarantee you SOMEONE on that list has the desired background. Instead of "this job ad isn't for me, so it isn't for anyone," it's more productive to look at multiple job ads over time. What are employers looking for? What skills can be learned through self-study, online workshops, coursework, just playing around with technology? What local libraries might be open to interns or volunteers? What skills, knowledge, or experience are applicable to the skills and qualities employers desire? What projects might help build name recognition? How to get involved professionally? Who might critique a resume and/or cover letter? Jobs don't fall in anyone's lap; no one is entitled.

In what appears to be an attempt at a pointed April Fool's joke, "unemployed librarians" posted this fake job ad to multiple lists a few days ago, and also attempted more than once to post it to While creative, this is less proactive than reactive; adding junk jobs to a database intended to help people find employment is less than helpful, and including a real person's e-mail address and phone number simply mean-spirited. Beyond the immediate implications -- we should all know by now that our online interactions affect our employment and professional prospects -- think of the time and mental energy expended in things like this. Think about what could be accomplished if that same time and energy were channeled in a different direction.

Finding a job is just the first step, and being proactive now the first step in being proactive throughout a career. If we're going to continue to remain relevant as a profession, we need first to take personal responsibility -- for remaining informed, for building something that goes beyond ourselves, for moving forward in our careers. Our institutions are nothing without their people; our profession is built from our multiple and ongoing contributions to the field. It's difficult to be proactive in moving ourselves or the profession forward if a sense of entitlement and a belief that we are subject to forces beyond our control permeates our careers.

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Monday, March 05, 2007


Word by Word

So I just finished reading February's American Libraries (I'm a little behind) and noticed that in their job ads section they talked up the newish ALA JobLIST site, but only as an add-on option for institutions placing print ads. I thought that sounded odd, so headed over to JobLIST to check out their rates. While they do have online-only pricing, check this out:

Member rate*: $65 plus $0.65 per word

Nonmember rate: $75 plus $0.75 per word

Logo surcharge: $30 to upload a GIF or JPG of an institution's logo that will appear in the online ad

I'm kind of baffled by the whole concept of per-word charges in an online environment, where one of the advantages is the ability to break out of the little per-word or per-line boxes of print advertising. Are they afraid of taking up an extra few K of server space for the additional text? Nah, that's probably not it...

If you want to post your library-related job ad online, do feel free to hop over to Job Postings on the Internet, where posting is currently free. Enough said...

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Snowday Redesign

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel.
So, yeah, we're having a blizzard here in Chicago today and I'm home with a bouncing-off-the-walls preschooler. Hooray for Sesame Street!

In honor of snowday, I'm working on finally redesigning (Yes, I am aware it's stuck back in 1999...) I'm starting with some badly-needed basics like getting rid of the table layout, slimming down the verbiage, re-organizing some of the content, and making the menus easier to use/sub-pages easier to find. I'm also planning on displaying the most recent job ads (from the site) and professional development opportunities (from the Beyond the Job blog) on the homepage using something like feed2js.

Beyond these obvious changes, what else would YOU like to see in a redesigned LISjobs? Comment here or drop me an e-mail.

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