Sunday, April 29, 2007

An Iraqi Woman and Her Library - Alive From Baghdad

There are times when we need to pay attention. Librarians and library workers are joined across the world in the goal of providing services for their communities. This is a video from Alive from Baghdad.

Alive from Baghdad is a collaboration between American and Iraqi videobloggers to show the current living conditions in Iraqi independent of traditional news media and the U.S. government. My reason for posting the video is only to show this one particular aspect that affect this woman and her place of employment.

In her own words, Librarian Hameeda Al-Bassam shares her love of books, how she got the job and her current commute to work in a wheelchair. Twice a week she crosses a bridge with military checkpoints to get to her job at the library. The video is captioned.

If you need to view the video in alternate video formats click here.
You will be transfered to the Alive From Baghdad blog.

The reason I want to suggest this video for viewing is that despite the language and the distance there are commonalities of experiences that we all share. There is a resonance that moves most of us beyond the realm of commerce.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

UK County Library to Stop Using Term "Librarian"

There are some scary aspects to this news story. In the county of Hampshire (UK) they want to stop using the title "librarian".

The county wants to replace the staff with people with good customer service personnel, a knowledge of books and window dressing skills. Not only will they stop using the term they will give the boot to 40% of the staff formally known as librarians.

I hope this is one idea that stays on the other side of the pond. The article can be read at the Basingstoke Gazette

Monday, April 23, 2007

What Is Your Type? - Personality Type

To know yourself is half the battle. Knowing your personality type can give you a clue as to the type of work environments you prefer working in or how you tend to deal with people. If you are a natural recluse you probably don't want to work the Reception desk.

There are a number of free personality test online. One of the ones I tested was Typefocus. There is a list of 66 questions that you need to answer. When you are finished you will be told your most likely personality type.

You might not like the things that you learn about yourself. For example, in one of my descriptions indicated that I like starting things more than I like finishing them. That is true but I do finish 90% of what I set out to do. The 0ther 10% I get detoured by something more interesting.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

VARK - Finding Out Your Learning Preferences

Sitting in class there are days when I wonder why I'm sitting here. Nothing seems to penetrate my brain and I feel like a class A dope. There might be a reason but it not because anybody in the program is stupid.

It might be a miss match in learning styles. If you are a reader but have to listen to a lecture then you are not going to take in as much information as a natural listener. That same listener may not do as well as a hands on person in an art class. We all have different ways of taking in and processing our experiences.

Now lets take this one step further. You are in the library. A patron comes up and ask for help finding cookbooks. You tell them go up the ramp, turn left and head for the 600s.

That was a spacial direction. They might have wanted help in finding an Italian cookbook. It does get tricky but there is a way for you to identify your learning style.

VARK-Learn has a free questionnaire on determining what your learning style is and how you process information. Personally, I think this kind of testing should happen at the grade school level and then we really could have effective teaching that worked with instead of in spite of the child's learning style.

You can answer the 16 questions to find out your learning style. Very few people are absolutely one style. You may be a combination visual/kinesthetic or an auditory/reader but one might take predominance.

Once you know this about yourself you can use it to be aware of how you deliver information or to have a few alternative methods to ensure communication and understanding.

Career Planning with Simplicity

There are thousands of books and magazine articles on how to do plan out your career goals. But sometimes simple is best. So I wanted to find examples of easy to understand guides on how to get the career that you want.

Starting close to home you always have the option to speak to a career counselor in the Job and Career Center L-103. They might be able to give you a perspective or options that you hadn't considered before in your search.

Quint Careers has a short term career planning list of exercises. The list includes
  • Analyze your current lifestyle - is the job a compatible fit with the way you live your life?
  • Analyze your passions.
  • Analyze your dreams of success.
  • What does your dream job look like?
Once you've done your list the there is a list of tasks that you can perform to get the job your want.

If you are an older student about to transition into a new career there are other issues you will have to deal with. One of them is Ageism. I can speak from experience, it does exist but there are ways of dealing with it and even prospering.

Business Week Online has an article on things you can do to counteract an instant "no" when your age becomes an factor in employment.

Finally if you still want information but in bite sized chunks then you might want to visit the Career Planning page. Each section is broken down by link. You can read as much or as little as you want.

A reminder that the Interview and Job Search Clinic for Library Technology Students is on Saturday, May 12, 2007 between 12:00 noon and 3:00 PM. To make sure that you can chub on the grub, intellectually speaking, to RSVP to Jennifer Cooper

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Librarians at NY Comic Con

I'm still snooping in the Library Journal archives and came across a posting of Librarians hosting panels at the New York Comic Convention.

I learned that librarians pioneered the introduction of graphic novels into the library and that they account for 10% of the sales which comes out to $30 million. Wow.

The discussions talked about Graphic Novels, Anime (Japanese Animation) and how best to display the materials in the library. As an added bonus there are articles that you can download and review. There is a Young Adult Library Services Association list that recommends materials for 12-18 year old. There is also a great article on how to include Anime programing into library offerings.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Voice of Youth Advocates Magazine

Everybody loves a baby but when that rascal becomes a teen very few wants to be around them let alone assist in the transition from childhood to adulthood. There are exceptions. Libraries that service teen populations have a unique opportunity to assist this group in terms of entertainment, social needs and even health care concerns.

Voice of Youth Advocates magazine is filled with articles and columns that help youth librarians provide services such as setting up an information network to provide assistance to teens, bringing librarians up to speed on gaming and one that I really liked the idea of "Daughters Day".

This was a luncheon where young ladies are affirmed and provided information that specifically addresses their needs. The library pulled together speakers, mentors and information packets create an infusion of self-esteem. The other bonus is that it reaffirms the library as a touch point of information.

If you plan to work in a public library or work with teens I strongly urge you to check out the writing in this magazine.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Library Journal Paraprofessional of the Year

I often feel bad that I don't have more articles on library paraprofessionals. The truth is that librarians get more publicity.

Unless and until library workers start to define themselves and their work experiences the profession will remain invisible to outsiders.

However, that doesn't mean that there is no recognition. In the March 2007 edition of Library Journal there is an article on Jackie Cornette who is the manager of the Western Branch of the Watauga County Library.

Just reading what she does makes me feel like a slacker.

Salary Survey for Non MLS Library Employees

This was posted in the COLT discussion group. It is a sample extract of a report on the salary range of library employees. You can take a look at the full sample on the ALA-APA site at

Here is a peek:
  • Library Technical Assistants in ten functional areas (average salary for Reference was $30,818 public and $29,843 academic)

  • Clerks in 11 functional areas (average salary for Acquisitions Clerk was $31,018 public and $28,790 academic)

  • Information Technology Managers (average salary was $56,822 public and $51,214 academic)

As usual I have questions. Is this the national average or a true representation of what is being paid across the country? California living expenses being what they are this is a little less than what we need.

On the other hand, these rates may or may not include benefits or other job perks that could sweeten the offer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Senior Library Clerk - City of Monterey Park

This is a good one folks - The city of Monterey Park is looking for a Senior Library Clerk. Some of the duties are:
  • Supervises staff and volunteers
  • Assist patrons with reference questions in person, by fax, e-mail, Internet
  • Writes and prepares procedures, reports, flyers, program displays and other materials
  • Make presentations including Story Time and class visits and much more.
The salary range is $34,656 - $44,328 annually, plus excellent benefits including $50/mo. bilingual pay for a qualified second language.

The deadline to apply: April 20, 2007 (Completion of the City application and typing certificate) Ask the city if your transcript of BIT 25 or CIS 1 or 10 would qualify.

The written test: May 9, 2007 (weighted 40%) and the Oral Interview: May 23, 2007 (weighted 60%) To read about the position click this link to download the job bulletin

Inquire at: City of Monterey Park, Human Resources Department, 320 West Newmark Avenue, Monterey Park, CA 91754 (626) 307-1334

Interview & Job Search Clinic - May 12, 2007

In case you missed this in your in-box PCC Library is holding an "Interview and Job Search Clinic for Library Technology Students" on Saturday, May 12, 2007 between 12:00 noon and 3:00 PM. Come to the Terrace Room on the third floor in the Library for lunch and then you can participate the program. All current and former students are welcome.

I attended last year and not only was there good eats but great job information. It is really important to take advantage of any career building opportunity that you have access to and this one is specifically designed for us.

Don't assume that you know how to ace an interview or look for a job. Now is the time to bring your questions, concerns and resume to folks that have the answers. There will be opportunities for mock interviews, resume critiques and how to answer "The Questions."

I especially want to encourage the Library 101 and 102 students to attend. If you think you might be interested please e-mail your RSVP to Jennifer Cooper

Homeless Populations and Libraries

There is an interesting article and discussion at AlterNet entitled "America Gone Wrong: A Slashed Safety Net Turns Libraries into Homeless Shelters" at

It does a good jobs of talking about the realities of serving a homeless population and maintaining order in the library. This isn't anything different from what I have seen when I go into the Glendale or Pasadena libraries but I guess I'm paying more attention to it.

What is a little more interesting is the discussions that follow the article. There are the usual troll comments but one of the posts talked about how Quebec libraries have bouncers at the door to prevent the homeless from entering in the first place.

Don't know if that is true. There was another post by a public library employee who said that the solution was to force them back into mental health hospitals.

There was a lot of misinformation in the comments about who the homeless population is and what should be done about their use of a system that they aren't necessarily contributing direct tax dollars.

There are no easy answers to this problem.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Employment and Internship Opportunities from Mrs. Kim

Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Library has an unpaid internship project that they would like to staff with a person who has cataloging experience or has completed the cataloging class.

According to Mrs. Kim, the selected intern would gain experience in OCLC Connexion Client cataloging system and in using BLAIS, a major university library automation system.

The selected intern will be under the supervision of the Acting Director, Patricia Lindberg and will assist with a reclassification project. If you are interested you can e-mail Patty Lindberg

Also our Circulation department is in need of a few good student workers. For more information you can step up to the Circulation desk for an application. You can also view the details by visiting

The application deadline is April 25, 2007.