Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What I wish I knew about Librarianship: A Discussion

Gretchen Revie
Karen Dunn
Pat Wilkinson
Gene Engeldinger
Megan Fitch
Jess Bruckner

Don't take your own opinions/decisions too seriously
Be flexible
Professional activities (start early); lots to gain from attending/giving presentations as well as networking
Management skills (take management courses to formalize potential experiences)
If you get into management, manage up (know other dept. heads, etc.)


Know where you work (official history, politics, mythology)
Know that you are working for an organization = people (interpersonal relations)
Listen and ask questions of others in your organization
Work is not school (school is about you, work requires deadlines, you are not being graded)

If she had know how much fun she'd have doing her job, she would have done it much sooner
Age is never a deterrent
Change is always a consistent and you need to be able to roll with it
Human touch really matters (even though technology makes it "easy")
Interpersonal relationships are very important, all people are necessary for the library to function
Programming/social events that bring staff together

Be professionally active in a way that you feel you can make a contribution
Learn from successful people in the organization (to help yourself grow)
It's about them (student/faculty) not us
Take responsibility for your mistakes
Power of honest recognition and praise
Try not to demotivate the people you manage
Don't burn bridges no matter how bad the work situation is
If you want to move to different jobs or up the ladder, you are going to have to move

You are in charge of you (not your employer)/personal responsibility
Job searches give you an excellent opportunity to look at yourself
Write a smashing cover letter that includes information about the job you are applying for and the institution you wish to work for
Interviewing; don't forget you are interviewing the potential employer, too
Ask good questions, at the right time
Try to find work situations where you think you can learn and advance yourself (either intellectually or in your career)
Think about the minimums you will accept (money, time, location, other trade offs)
Get to know the people you work with and what they do
Really know yourself (know what irritates you, bugs you, or otherwise affects you negatively) the better you will be able to work with other people
Sacred Cows:
The institution I am working for is not responsible for my personal/professional development
Work/life balance challenges (some don't want to leave when they should go home = burnout; if you do work that much, then you may believe that the institution owes you something which it does not)


Work/life balance question where research has to be done outside of work time?
PW had a similar situation at U of Iowa. Said it's not easy, but the people who could find projects that synced with their jobs had easier times with the research than those whose project had little to do with their day-to-day jobs.
MF: Also tenure track at UNLV, if you can partner with someone you work well with to co-author and article or something else)
GE: Early on he was also faculty, you can't ask for exceptions from the process

How relevant has your Masters degree been in your work?
GE: Initially dissed the library degree, but appreciated the education more as he went along in the profession.
GR: Contrast between education & training. The education gives you something deeper to fall back on when things change
KD: The role we play in giving access to information is important
PW: Pat does planning to ensure the library will be there after he has retired. The theory and the practice learned in library school has been disrupted as technology, etc. change
MF: In addition to the education, try to get a wide range of internships, practical experiences, etc.

How do you motivate people?
PW: Find alternatives to the "yes, but" kinds of statements. Notice what people do and tell them they are doing a good job. Tell people where you are coming from (don't make up your mind ahead of time then have a pseudo conversation).

Regrets about not taking specific classes while in school?
KD: HR, management, budgeting
MF: Quantitative research methods and organization/corporate culture
From the audience: project management
PW: Budget; being open to learning on the job; take opportunities when they are presented to you
GE: Ask to see things like the budget to get your questions answered.

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