12 October 2009

Issue Intro: Long Time Coming

By Jessica Hernandez

It is a pleasure to present our newest issue of BiblioTech! It has been a while since our last publication, and so I am very pleased that we have been able to 'hit the ground running' this semester. BiblioTech is a wonderful resource that we can use to share information, highlight projects and build community. It can also be a way for us as University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS) students to connect with alumni and a broader network of Library and Information Science professionals.

This current issue is focused on the theme of professional development, which is relevant to both new and continuing students alike. Many of us (myself included), are on the job market this semester, and so the article "Hard Times Job Searching Done Right" by librarians Rachel Cannady and Daniel Newton is especially timely. Their advice is practical, succinct and up-to-date given that they are both recent alums.

Conference attendance is an important aspect of professional development that is discussed by Knowledge River Scholar Olivia Baca in "2009 Medical Library Association Conference." SIRLS student Jacy Bell shares her experiences presenting at a conference in "Poster Presentation at SLA 2009: Information Accessibility and the Disability Community." These types of activities are instrumental in developing professional skills and networks, which in turn can lead to job opportunities. Many of these conferences offer scholarships for graduate students, and the U of A also has internal travel funding sources. The Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) is a good resource to learn more about conference funding.

Acquiring professional experience through paid work, graduate assistantships, internships or practicums is another way to gain an edge in today's economy. Knowledge River Scholar Monique Becerril and SIRLS student Robert Talbert share their interesting summer experiences working at two very different types of libraries. Their articles "Librarians Are Still Needed: My Graduate Assistantship at the Santa Rosa Branch Library" and "An Internship at the Fred A. Hopf Library, College of Optical Sciences," highlight their experiences and are wonderful examples of opportunities that other SIRLS students can pursue. The SIRLS Internship Coordinator Karen Bell maintains a current list of internship opportunities that is available on the SIRLS website. Professor Bell can be contacted at khbell@email.arizona.edu.

Our active student organizations also offer numerous opportunities for professional and leadership development. SIRLS student Jacy Bell shares information on how to get involved in her article "Special Libraries Association- U of A Chapter." Upcoming meeting dates and open positions are outlined, and this is one more example of how we as SIRLS students can solidify our career preparation.

In closing, thanks to our authors for their outstanding contributions, and to our readers for bearing with us through our technical delays. SIRLS alum Jason Kucsma and LSO Listerv and Web Administrator Robert Talbert were especially helpful. I would also like to extend a special welcome to our students that are new this fall! Please enjoy this edition of BiblioTech and consider contributing to our next issue.


Jessica Hernandez, BiblioTech Editor

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Special Libraries Association – UofA Chapter

By Jacy Bell

The UofA Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) is one of three SIRLS student organizations. We are officially recognized by the national Association and report to them annually. As with the other student groups, we coordinate professional development, networking, and social events, in addition to organizing tours with non-traditional library and information environments. If you’re interested in corporate, rural, or tribal libraries; special collections; archives; or museums you should consider becoming involved with our chapter.

Ways to become involved include attending club meetings and functions, becoming a member, and becoming an officer. You do not have to be in Tucson to participate! We are coordinating events outside of Tucson this fall in addition to providing podcasts and holding our meetings online through Breeze. Also, all officer positions can be held by a distant student except for Vice President/Treasurer due to money handling. It definitely looks great on your resume! There are currently two open offices: Events Coordinator and Fundraising Coordinator. Please see our constitution on our website for office descriptions and duties. If you are interested in either position, please email uastudentslagroup@gmail.com.

The goals of our Student Chapter are to:
· create a better understanding of special libraries
· encourage students to not limit themselves to traditional roles, and ensure that students know the value of the SLA in achieving and continuing their professional goals
Benefits of membership include:
· participation on our listserv, where you will receive information about scholarships, awards, and job postings
· networking opportunities with professional special librarians
· the opportunity to set yourself apart from other library students entering the profession by showing future employers that you understand the importance of organizational involvement through your membership support
Membership is $10 per year or $15 for the entire time as a SIRLS student. Unfortunately, our student chapter membership does not include membership to the national SLA.
Fall 2009 Meeting Schedule
October 23
November 6
November 20
December 4

It’s not too late to participate, so please join us for the remaining fall meetings and upcoming events.

Have a great semester!

Jacy Bell
SLA President
LSO Vice President/Treasurer

To view our constitution, join the SLA listserv, and for more information about our club, please go to our website: http://sirls.arizona.edu/SLA.

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Poster Presentation at SLA 2009: Information Accessibility and the Disability Community

By Jacy Bell

This past spring I completed an internship at the Sonoran University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) as an Interdisciplinary Trainee. I worked on various projects exploring information accessibility and library services for individuals with disabilities. Summarizing my efforts, I created a poster entitled, Information Accessibility & the Disability Community, which highlights the barriers to accessing information in both virtual and physical environments for the purpose of informing librarians of their role and responsibility in alleviating such barriers.

On June 14th, 2009, I presented my poster at the Special Libraries Association 2009 Annual Conference in Washington, DC during the Social Science; Museum, Arts, & Humanities; and Education Divisions’ poster session and open house: Inspiration and Diversity – SLA Around the Globe. Attendees voted on their choice for the best poster with the winning poster’s author receiving a one-year SLA membership. Unfortunately, I didn’t win but was first runner up — exciting considering this was my first poster! I had a great time at the conference and would like to thank the Sonoran UCEDD for supporting my participation.

To view my poster, please visit http://sucedd.fcm.arizona.edu/sites/sucedd.fcm.arizona.edu/files/Information

For more information on the Sonoran UCEDD and their Interdisciplinary Training Program, please visit their website: http://sonoranucedd.fcm.arizona.edu/.

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Hard Times: Job Searching Done Right

By Rachel Cannady & Daniel Newton

I did it, we did it, and many more of us are going to do it soon: graduating. The big difference is that today we are faced with one of the toughest economic climates since the Great Depression: layoffs are taking place, budgets are being cut, and some open positions are no longer being filled. This means that there will be more competition in an already tough job market and job seekers will be facing a unique set of challenges. It is now more important than ever to make you and your application stand out, but the question of how to do this remains.

Applying for librarian positions is a multi-step process. You are probably familiar with the basics: searching for jobs, applying for positions, and interviewing. The academic librarian application process is more strenuous than completing an average job application. Below are a series of tips which we learned on the road to our current positions. Some of these lessons were learned as we took our own lumps along the way. Some of the insights were passed on to us. And, some of the insights came as we each reflected on the paths we took to get where we are. We have recently experienced a combined total of 8 face-to-face interviews and 22 phone interviews. Our hope is that our combined experience will help others start the process a little wiser than we were.

Application Phase

· SIRLS has a good page of places to look for jobs: http://sirls.arizona.edu/resources/job.
· Do not apply to too many jobs. By too many, we mean the positions you are not qualified for, or the positions that do not have your full interest.
· After an extended period of time searching for a professional position, desperation often rears its ugly head, but do not become distressed. If you succumb to this anxiety, you will be tempted to send applications across the continental United States for jobs in which you are neither qualified nor interested. This is a mistake and will take time and energy away from the applications for positions you truly desire and match your qualifications.
· Avoid negativity. Discouragement and negativity will often impact the quality of your letters of interest and any modification you may be making to your résumé (or CV). The best way to do this is through the understanding that negativity wastes both time and energy. Confidence and positivity are two characteristics to embrace because they will lead to better individual applications.
· Make sure that you have your CV/ résumé critiqued by several people. The NMRT has an excellent résumé review service (http://ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/nmrt/oversightgroups/comm/resreview/resumereview.cfm). LSO and SLA often sponsor workshops that allow you to have people review your résumé as well. The more input you have, the better your finished product will be.

· Have a professional-looking email address. You can use your email.arizona.edu email address or an email address that uses your name or initials or some combination. An email address that says something like purplekitties@aol.com will make you look ridiculous.
· The job search and hiring process takes time. The hiring process moves at a tortoise-like pace; this is especially true for the first time job seeker. In the academic library world, it is not uncommon for six or more months to elapse from the date of application to the day a job offer is made.
· You may receive an email or letter stating that "You do not meet the minimum requirements…" when applying for jobs before you have finished your degree. When this occurs, you might find that since you checked the "I-do-not-have-a-MLS" box, you were thrown out of consideration. It is possible to still not be considered even after telling them that you are about to graduate. This process is annoying, and somewhat illogical, but you should still start applying during your last semester.
· Patience is key while searching for a job, and if you are not a patient person, the best time to learn is during a job search.

Phone Interviews

Phone interviews, initially, might seem like a handicap because you are unable to read anyone's nonverbal cues. Sometimes this lack of physical interaction can work to your advantage, as they will not see you fish through your brain for the answer that they would most want to hear (this is a good thing, really).

· Lock the dog and cat up in another room so that you will not be distracted.
· Put a note on your apartment door (or bedroom door), so that maintenance and post office workers will not be tempted to knock and disturb you.
· Try not to be intimidated. A phone interview is just the first step in the hiring process and is a good way for you, the interviewee, to learn more about the position you have applied to and to meet some of those you will work with if you take the position.
· A phone interview allows you to have lists of accomplishments, experiences, and other notes that you want to mention sitting right in front of you.
· Regardless of your preparation, it is hard judge the search committee's reaction to your answers. This lack of physical insight can be countered by being confident and relaxed. Take advantage of your personality and sense of humor, when appropriate, to set you apart from the other candidates.
· Do your research on the library and know their mission and vision statements. This is a nice nugget to toss in when appropriate.
· The most commonly asked question is something akin to "why are you the best candidate for this job." Be ready with a few reasons for why you are the best applicant.
· This link (http://www.scribd.com/doc/4933905/101-Commonly-Asked-Interview-Questions) is a good source for common interview questions. Be sure to practice using these questions prior to the interview. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become talking about yourself and your accomplishments.

· Always make sure you know who is interviewing you so that you can write an email thanking them for their time after the phone interview. You may find it easier to print out the directory of faculty and staff for the library and highlight the search committee members' names as they introduce themselves.
· Find some place of mental calm before the phone rings so that you are ready.
· They will call within a minute or two and be prompt. Make sure you are prepared and waiting for that phone call.

From our experience, phone interviews ranged from 13 minutes to an hour and a half, and in both instances, face-to-face interviews were offered. The length of time for the interview is not a determining factor for how successful it is. On average, most phone interviews lasted around 30 minutes. In most cases, if the university or college was interested they usually followed up within two weeks of the phone interview.

Face to Face Interviews

· Do not check your luggage. No sense in fretting over lost luggage when it is handcuffed to your person.
· If you are flying, review your notes and/or relax.
· Read ALL of the materials that they give you before you arrive.
· You are being interviewed the whole time. Yes, lunches and dinners are more relaxed, but they are still noting what questions you are asking and how you are answering questions.
· Do not order alcohol unless they do. Most people taking you out will not order alcohol because they are not reimbursed for it. Cry in your beer at the hotel.
· Interview days are long usually lasting eight or more hours. By the time 5:00 comes around, you will be exhausted from being constantly "on". Try eating an energy bar or something similar to keep fueled.
· Comfortable shoes are a must. You might want consider forgoing style in favor of comfort.
· Smile and use open body language when you are giving your presentation.
· Consider adding research to your presentation. It could be as easy as reworking some research for an older SIRLS paper.
· Write a thank you note to the head of the search committee and the Dean or Department Head when you return. Make sure that you do this within a week of your return.

Job searching is difficult, especially in this economy, but it is not impossible. In addition to the tips listed here, you might also want to review Tom Wilding's podcast and PowerPoint presentation on Career Path Planning at http://www.sir.arizona.edu/resources/podcasts/podcastarchive.html. Your future position might not be what you initially expected, so strike a balance between open-minded and narrow in focus when searching. By looking at yourself and your talents from many angles, you will be able to find something that fits you. We both received numerous rejection letters before we found the jobs that fit us well. These times are hard times indeed, but stay positive and confident; a great position awaits.

Rachel Cannady graduated from SIRLS in December 2008 and is currently an Assistant Professor and Education Reference Librarian for Mississippi State University at Mitchell Memorial Library.

Daniel Newton graduated from SIRLS in August 2008 and is currently a Senior Assistant Librarian for SUNY Potsdam at the Crumb Memorial Library in northern New York.

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2009 Medical Library Association Conference Report

By Olivia Baca

When I decided to pursue my higher education in librarianship, I did not anticipate working in glamorous settings. My assumption that the work of librarians had little to do with glamour has been happily refuted. Thanks to the Special Populations Office at the National Library of Medicine, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the 2009 Medical Library Association Conference. As in real estate, conference location can have a significant impact on the total experience. This year the MLA conference was held in Honolulu. I was duly excited. Frankly, I still am.

The structured portions of my time at the conference were illuminating. Spending the past year as a graduate assistant at the Arizona Health Sciences Library has instilled in me a strong respect for the services health sciences librarians provide to communities, students and health professionals. The conference complemented my experience by introducing me to a broad range of options within this specialty. Throughout the conference, professionals were open and welcoming of questions. I was able to network with classmates in continuing education courses. One of my instructors described her transition from public librarianship to working at a medical center. The luncheons and conference–sponsored luau provided a welcome setting in which to invite a variety of librarians to explain their work.

I participated in the Graduate Symposium at the University of Arizona this past spring, so I found the poster sessions at the MLA conference to be especially instructive. Many posters were presented in stunning simplicity without sacrificing clarity. These exceptional examples challenge me to improve my own work in future designs.

I am a native to the Southwest; the stunning beauty found throughout the island of Oahu introduced vitality to the experience that I will not soon forget. I am so grateful that my education at the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science, as a Knowledge River Scholar, made possible my attendance to the 2009 MLA conference.

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Librarians Are Still Needed: My Graduate Assistantship at the Santa Rosa Branch Library

By Monique Becerril

This summer I had the fortunate opportunity to intern at a Pima County Public Library branch located near downtown Tucson. The branch is small, the bookshelves are minimal, and quiet space is usually absent. What I did not realize was the incredible experience I was about to embark on. Not containing any type of prior public library experience, the staff and patrons welcomed me with open arms.

While at the library, I was able to run a couple of the programs and receive on the job library training. To name a few duties, I was in charge of weekly teen time, tween/pre-teen time, and a program entitled, “Reading with Your Eyes Closed” which mainly introduced patrons ages 8-18 to audio books.

The reason as to why I personally believe this opportunity was unique is because of all the cultures, ethnicities, identities, and hands on experience I was exposed to. It was the people who I worked for and “served”. Although small, this library had numerous patrons that ranged from African refugees, African Americans, Mexicans, Mexican Americans, American Indian, Caucasian, Americans and Middle Easterners. All of these ethnicities, languages, and cultures were heavily represented every day in the library, especially through the youth.

I quickly learned how to put cultural competency into play and viewed how the digital divide affects patrons of all ages. I learned how to tackle ethical decisions of freedom of expression (yes, there were a few of those with the older adults) and strive to meet the needs of all patrons who enter the library, but kept in mind that the librarians are not babysitters for small children. I tackled health questions, economic questions, political questions, home repair, finding jobs, applying for jobs, making money, making food, resume building, logging onto a computer, how to read email, finding articles, finding cartoons, registering for school, searching for books, translating, saving documents, printing, scanning, searching for movies, searching for music and the occasional, “Where’s the bathroom.” This was non-stop everyday, from open to close. In fact, many patrons would be standing outside of the door in the morning waiting for it to be unlocked.

Furthermore, I constantly reflected about the tremendous importance of librarians in the digital age and the type of haven a library can be for the community. Librarians are still needed. Who will be there to tackle these issues for patrons? Who will be the ones that will take them step by step, question by question with follow up questions and showing the patrons the “how to’s” of obtaining an answer?

As a graduate student, busy with work and hastily job searching, I think it is very easy to overlook the community around us. Being in the setting and living the experiences shoots you into overdrive with everything you have learned in graduate school. It teaches you something that brings the countless hours of essay writing, theory practices, discussions, and research to life. Arguably, it may even train you a bit more. This experience goes beyond working in a library. It is about working with people and acknowledging the fact that what we are learning in grad school is not in vain. Librarians are still needed.

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An Internship at the Fred A. Hopf Library, College of Optical Sciences

By Robert Talbert

The goal of this article is to convince other SIRLS student to intern, as I did this Summer, at the Fred A. Hopf Library, College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, Tucson campus. Since my goal was to work at a small rural library, this small library was the perfect place for me to gain experience. Except for my supervisor, I was the only staff in the library. My first library and I own it.

Upon my arrival I found stacks of books and DVD's in need of Check-in and shelving. In retrospect I could not have had a better introduction to a small library environment. Checking-in those items allowed me to ease into the job. During that first week, while shelving books, I was able to enhance my skills using the LOCC and learn the database system, without the responsibility of cataloging and inventorying the collection. This semester I have copy cataloged sixty six of the one hundred and fifty donated books and twenty five shelved volumes, previously not cataloged in the database. In addition to those I cataloged and shelved twenty five dissertations and masters thesis. I performed one complete shelf reading and separated about one thousand of the Reference volumes from the Open Reserve collection to improve the manageability of the collection. At the request of the Assistant Dean I created a report detailing the loss of books from this and other collections, with recommendations on how to curb those losses.

Even with all that work there is plenty to be done, so please consider an internship at the Fred A. Hopf Library, College of Optical Sciences. For more details see My complete Internship Report.

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