Saturday, December 17, 2011

At the Close of the Semester

As of today I’ve turned in my last final and my time in the PCC Library Tech Certificate program has come to a close. I could say that it has been a long, strange trip, but closer to the truth is the fact that it has been a self-fulfilling and enriching experience. I have learned finer details about librarianship that I was unaware of before starting the program. From LIB1 to LIB 105A I have had amazing teachers who were passionate about their work and wanted to impress upon their students the importance of everything from the steps of reference service to the need for customer service skills in helping patrons.

While my teachers were amazing, I also have to credit my fellow students who I have taken this journey with throughout this past year. Though we attended class tired after a long day of work and just wished to sit and absorb information a few us became friends, and shared our own unique views on the program. Part of my success in gaining the certificate was the support, outlooks, and life experience that we as students were willing to share with each other. We became more than casual classmates and were invested in the achievement and success of the strangers sitting next to us.

Each homework assignment, each quiz, each rigorous test, and each group project we spurred each other on to do our best and truly understand what our courses were trying to impart. High marks were incredibly important, but so were our opinions and views of why and how practice and procedures should be applied. That little push helped the lessons take root and become something to be acted upon, rather than just another sentence in a long book or lecture.

As the semester draws to a close please look back upon your achievements with pride. For those of you just starting the program, and for those of you who have finished, you have taken an important step in gaining knowledge in the library career field. I wish you well in the career steps you will or have begun to take. I hope you all have had a sane finals week, please enjoy your winter break.

Friday, December 16, 2011

CLA-CSLA's UCLA Career Forum Part 1

When I went to the CLA-CSLA conference, I had the chance to attend UCLA's Career Forum. Even though this was geared for future librarians, much of the information can be used for library paraprofessionals as well. There was a series of four workshop sessions which were: The Juggling Librarian: Getting the Most Out of Part-time Jobs (something that many of us are familiar), Getting the First Public Library Job, Using Research to Prepare for the Current Market Research, and The Independent Librarian (focus on school libraries). I will be sharing what I learned in a series of posts in relation to job application tips, interviewing tips, and in the event of obtaining/not obtaining the desired position.

Job Application Tips

In looking for where jobs are posted, the Public Library session offered these tips:

-Professional websites
-City webpages
-Listservs such as PubLib, Calix
-Facebook, LinkedIn
-Craigslist (especially good for private school libraries)
-Networking, word of mouth

Make sure your resume is up-to-date. It is advisable to have a master resume and then pull from that resume to create a resume to match up with the job position you are seeking.

-Read the job announcement
-Use job description wording
-List relevant work experience
-Don't lie about your experience
-Type, don't handwrite
-Apply early and online if possible

The reason it was suggested to apply online if possible is you can apply anytime of the day, usage of spell-check and you'll have more space as needed. Granted, when responding to possible supplemental questions, one should construct well-edited, concise responses. Remember your application is not the only one Human Resources is reading. Being able to express your thoughts in a paragraph or two is best. Think of it as a mini-interview where you would also keep your answers relatively brief and concise as well.


Supervisory references need to have been your supervisor. In addition, it was noted that last and present jobs usually do not allow supervisors to give professional references.

Making the Cut

Remember that the Library and Human Resources are two separate departments. Primarily, you will be dealing with Human Resources at this stage. Due to the current job market and economy, libraries are getting an influx of applications. So unfortunately, this is forcing libraries to have to upgrade posted minimum qualifications to the ideal qualifications as a means for narrowing the list of potential candidates for possible testing and then the interview process. If you do have a question about your eligibility after receiving notice that you did not qualify for the position, contact Human Resources and not the Library. You do not want to burn your bridges for possible future opportunities.

The Next Round-The Interview

Part II will cover tips for preparing and getting through the interview. Good luck as you go through what can seem the tedious application process! Here's a quote to keep you going:

"Every time you win, it diminishes the fear a little bit. You never really cancel the fear of losing; you keep challenging it." Arthur Ashe, tennis player