Top 25 INALJ Articles of 2014
We are very lucky at INALJ to have some amazing bloggers and guest bloggers. In 2014 these were the most widely read articles/blog posts. At the very end of this posting you will find the top 125 blog posts for 2014 along with their page views. Enjoy! You can find them all on Twitter with the hashtag #INALJtop25of2014
1) 5 Things That People Don’t Realize their Librarians Do by Rebecca Tischler
“Many people still have the stereotypical image of a librarian stuck in their head: an older kind of frumpy woman wearing glasses on a chain, her hair up in a bun, shushing people with one hand while stamping books with the other. Many of my Jr. High classmates predicted that I was going to be a librarian because I liked to read, and, during those years, I was very quiet and wore glasses. I still love to read and always have something to read, but since I’m much more comfortable with myself, I don’t know if people would still say that I look like a librarian. Ironically, I did become a librarian, but for completely different reasons (part of it is the sheer variety involved in the profession).”
“I have worked in libraries for the last ten years but as of December 2013 I have been working only outside of libraries doing my other job, renovating and selling old houses, and forming a new partnership. I have mentioned before that in October 2013 I lost my job as the Reference, Acquisitions and Marketing Librarian at a federal library during the government shutdown. I was not just furloughed; our contract was not renewed. It came as a surprise and I hold no-one in particular to blame, the furlough made a mess for everyone in our process of renewal. I was a government contractor and appreciate all the efforts of my company, other librarians in our field advocating for us, as well as the fantastic government employees who resolved everything swiftly and had us all hired back within the month. Truly everyone went to bat not only for our collection but for our jobs and I have nothing to say but good things for the resolution. So yes, I lost my job but was rehired within a month.
Whew, right? Um, yeah, definitely maybe.
I cannot remember many times in my adult life where I did not hold down multiple jobs. “
3) Respectfully Declining a Job Offer by Sarah Deringer
“There are times when you cannot accept a job offer. Whether it is because you do not feel like you fit into the culture, the job does not fit into your life goals, or the salary or benefits are not enough, you need to know how to respectfully decline a job offer. You don’t want to burn bridges when you decline; you just want to say, “I’m sorry I can’t accept.” It can be difficult for those, like me, who do not like being put into situations where you could hurt someone’s feelings. So, here are some tips on declining a job offer without stepping on toes, burning bridges, and breaking hearts.”
4) “Why do you need a master’s degree to be a librarian?” by Alexis Stapp
Crowdsourcing an answer for an irritating question: “Recently, I went to a party attended largely by librarians and/or friends from library school. Several of us were discussing the minor annoyances of our respective jobs and one friend asked what everyone’s response is when we get that dreaded question: “Why do you need a master’s degree to be a librarian?” (This often goes hand in hand with that other cringe-worthy exchange, “You’re going to school to be a librarian? So what do you do? Learn how to alphabetize?”) Sadly, all of us stood there, scratching our heads, hemming and hawing. No one seemed to have a ready answer. Oh, we all had the sarcastic answers: “Because we made it that way,” “Honestly, you don’t, but it means we can get paid more,” etc. but obviously nothing that really validates our education and our position.”
5) Ten Useful Websites for Techie Librarians by Rebekah Kati
“As a techie librarian, I am frequently overwhelmed by the number of tech blogs and resources that show up in my feed reader and on the internet. It is difficult to know which stories and sites are important, and which can be passed by. I expect that I’m not alone in this feeling, and I’d like to share my favorite library tech sites in no particular order:”
6) Top 10 Job Sites for Librarians & Info Pro’s by Karly Szczepkowski
“More than just job postings, these are resources, blogs, social media sites and satire that inspire, inform, amuse and distract. In no particular order:”
7) Debunking 10 Librarian Misconceptions by Aimee Graham
“Whether I have physically been in a library, running errands, talking to family and friends, or during social events I have been presented with a similar series of questions when I inform others that I am a librarian. It’s unfortunate that such a stereotype (you know what I’m talking about) still exists in today’s age, so I am debunking the myths that come with our profession.”
8) What to write after they’ve turned you down by Mary-Michelle Moore
“While many sites offer advice on how to write cover letters, the pre-interview follow up letter and the thank you for the interview letter among others, the post-rejection thank you does not get much press. Why? Perhaps because it is the one letter you always hope you won’t have to write. Why should you write a thank you letter to a library that just rejected you? Well, for one, it is polite. Another reason is the library community can be strongly interconnected and you don’t know who may be willing to refer you to connections as a strong candidate for another opening. Lastly, you may want to apply in the future for that library, or to work with that director, and it is best not to burn bridges. Just because you were not their first choice this time does not mean that you are not a desirable candidate or that they will not consider you in the future.”
9) 18 Tips for Writing a Manual for Work by Holly Lipschultz
“I’m one of those Hermione-types of people who read manuals. If I need to learn something, my first order of business is to read the manual. Give me a job manual, and I’ll read by tomorrow morning. And if there is no manual or no instructions—I will write one.
So, I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that I found myself in the situation of creating a full-on Circulation manual for our student workers. We had a lot of old documentation that needed updating, scattered around our staff web. We also had a lot of useful information scattered around both the staff web, the library’s official website, and my work computer left by my predecessors. And a great deal of things were not written down anywhere. Institutional memory can be very powerful…and overwhelming to a new person.”
10) Your Unofficial Guide to Socializing at the ALA Annual Conference 2014 by Holly Boyer
“I’m a big proponent of socializing at conferences. Don’t get me wrong, I love attending the sessions and learning new things and seeing what great things librarians around the world are doing. But socializing gives you a chance to know individual people, to network in ways that you just can’t while sitting in a banquet chair in an auditorium. Below I’ve listed a variety of social events, many of which can be found on the ALA Annual Conference Scheduler. Also check out the Networking Uncommons. There is usually something interesting going on, and if not, you can always charge all your devices.
Pick an event and go to it. Most of them are free. Some of them are during the day if you’re not a party person. Go forth and find your people.”
11) Gift Ideas for the Librarian in Your Life by Sarah Roark Schott
“With the holidays right around the corner, I am sure many of you have started thinking about what to get that special Information Professional in your life. While searching for neat library/archive/book related gifts I came across a few similar posts, and I suggest you check those out for even more ideas! A couple of my favorites include …”
12) The Skinny on Cruise Ship Librarianship by Rebecca Vogler Splain
“If you’ve been around INALJ.com since the beginning of last year, you may remember a couple of Success Stories that were written about newly minted MLIS graduates going to work as a cruise ship librarian. One was written about me. That article, plus a couple of comments on LinkedIn, brought me in contact with far more people who were interested in cruise ship librarianship than I ever imagined. For many, it’s a dream job! So many romanticize the position (and, yes, it does have its perks), but I also wanted to give a truthful account of what work on a cruise ship really is like. Here are the 10 things you didn’t know about being a cruise ship librarian.”
Trigger warning : “You may be wondering why I am sharing this very personal information on my LIS and libraries job hunting website. Job hunting, volunteer work, everything I am working on and put time and energy into are affected by my health. I have taken strength from the many LIS people I follow on Twitter and am friends with on Facebook who share their own personal health struggles. I find silence and keeping this to myself to be harmful to my health. When I announced my first pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage last October on INALJ and Facebook I learned more from others who I knew but had not realized had been through miscarriages too than any book or database could teach me. Their stories gave me comfort and let me know more about the range of experiences. This time I most likely will not have to go to the emergency room (I’ve had 3 miscarriages in 13 months and 3 ER visits which are very expensive). I can do this taking medicine in the privacy of my home. I have the bestest doctors here in New Orleans, truly, but Louisiana is one of the uncooperative states with the ACA so my premiums and coverage stink. But boy are the doctors here super 🙂 You never read about the pain, migraines, weeks of bleeding. The way your body just fights you and is unrecognizable.”
14) Why I Turned Down my First Professional Library Job Offer by Natalie Kahn
“They offered me the job. I haven’t even received my MLIS in the mail yet, but a small college has offered me the HEAD Librarian position. They offer a little more money, fine benefits, and the seemingly limitless opportunity to explore every and any aspect of librarianship my newly-graduated heart desires: creating information literacy classes, cataloging, collection development policy drafting, and perhaps even starting a volunteer program to give student patrons real work experience.
I’ll tell you why I didn’t accept their offer.
When I hung up the phone, I wanted badly to take the position for all of the reasons listed above, but I needed to consider a couple things first. Well, really I had to consider a million things, but it boiled down to two things: risk and regret.”
15) 10 Inspiring Pinterest Collections Created by Libraries and Librarians by Kiersten Bryant
“Something that I have realized while job searching is that there are a lot of interesting places that information professionals can use their skills – places that I had never heard of or knew existed. I have discovered many of these places on Pinterest. Pinterest can be used as a resource for discovering and researching places to work and to get a feel for the culture of the workplace in a particular institution or department. Just search for “library” under “Pinners” on Pinterest and you’ll be amazed at how many libraries, museums, and publishers come up.
I have compiled a list of 10 library-related Pinterest collections that I find especially inspiring and noteworthy. This list reflects my own interests (both personal and professional), and is a list of places that I think would be awesome to work at!”
16) Working Abroad As a Librarian: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead by Raymond Pun, reference and research services librarian in New York University Shanghai
“One of the great things about being a librarian is that you tend to know how to conduct research better than most people out there – this is particularly important if you are researching for opportunities, locations, salaries, benefits, health conditions, etc. Use those skills wisely and efficiently as you are searching or negotiating for your positions.
But what if you don’t know where to begin? There are plenty of sites out there to help you get started, take a look at some of these:”
17) 4 Sites That Every Librarian Should Know and Show by Fallon Bleich
“I’m a giant techie and love discovering new sites and sharing them. As a librarian in training, it is even more fun to share the findings with patrons.
Below are some of my favorite, absolutely FREE websites that every librarian should not only learn and love, but should also show their patrons:”
18) Open Cover Letters by Leigh Milligan
“One of my favorite websites that gives me motivation during my job search is called Open Cover Letters. This website is a collection of anonymous cover letters submitted by hired librarians and archivists. Each cover letter is titled by the position that the anonymous person wrote the cover letter for. The website even breaks down the letters into categories such as the different types of libraries. This all is extremely helpful, especially when I am looking for motivation to apply to a specific type of library job, for example, Youth Services.
How do I know these letters are legit? The creator of the website Stephen Flynn looks into each letter he receives and makes sure the librarian was hired at said job by a Google search or by checking an e-mail address. Check the FAQ out more information about the website.”
19) My Experience Leaving the MLS off My Resume by Sarah Roark Schott
“I decided to start a new resume from scratch, leaving off my MLS and many of the extra accomplishments I have made during the past few years. (These include courses I have developed and professional activities I have participated in.) I shortened the project and job descriptions for each of my library and archive positions, and added retail and serving jobs dating back to 2003. The new resume is a page long, the right length for many hiring managers to get an idea of your experience at a quick glance.
I applied for around 12 or 15 jobs with the new resume in a wide variety of fields – department store retail, coffee shops, office work, and entry level school library media specialist positions. I made sure my archive and library experience translated well to fit the job post descriptions, and used the appropriate language.
A week after my article was posted I got a call from a department store manager who received my online application (sans resume). The manager was interested in my online responses and called to discuss my education and work history. Nervous, I accidentally blurted out that I had received my BA and MA from the University of Arizona. Unfortunately that slip up changed the conversation immediately.”
20) Dealing with Imposter Syndrome and Feeling Like You Belong by Clare Sobotka
“As it turns out, these feelings are so common that they are known as imposter syndrome. I came across the term sometime last year, and once I understood what imposter syndrome was about, I felt more confident that some of my feelings of insecurity stemmed from this particular mental phenomenon rather than a real mismatch with my job. I wish someone had told me about imposter syndrome at the beginning of college, so I think there is merit in becoming familiar with the concept sooner rather than later. Perhaps you will recognize it in yourself!
So what is imposter syndrome? Generally speaking, it is the feeling that you aren’t cut out for the position you are in, that you are a fraud and don’t know what you are doing, and that you will be found out. Even though you are competent, you feel as if others will discover that you accidentally arrived in this role and really shouldn’t be performing the job. It can manifest itself in other ways: chalking up your success to luck or discounting your own success (you didn’t really put in that much effort).”
21) An open letter to my fellow job hunters for when you get discouraged by Lauren Bourdages
“First and foremost know this, if you are actively searching, and you are doing things like volunteering, participating in professional associations, or working part-time or on contract: you are accomplishing something. You’re not sitting around passively, you’re not bemoaning your situation or finding someone or something to blame. Pat yourself on the back for that. It’s important to acknowledge that trying is the first step to succeeding. If you know you’re doing everything in your power to make yourself a top-notch candidate then you’re on the right track.
Remember that success and happiness don’t look the same for everyone and that the definitions can change on a day to day basis. You may not have a full time job yet, but are you truly happy with the things you do every day? Do they make you smile? If so recognise and acknowledge that because happiness and fulfillment are just as important. I know what you’re thinking, what about the paycheque!?”
22) Scholarships for Everyone! – Funding your MLIS or MLS by Sandra Hoyer
“Everyone knows how pricey a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master of Library Science (MLS) program can be. Here are some excellent sites that feature a variety of different scholarships and fellowships to help fund your program…
Also make sure to check your state or regional library associations and your respective university or program scholarship pages for more library science-related scholarship opportunities.”
23) The 8 Best Reader’s Advisory Websites by Rebecca Tischler
“As librarians, we’re supposed to be familiar with all of the books so that we can make recommendations, share new books and introduce our patrons to all these new and spectacular stories. The only problem with that is that there is no time to read all of these wonderful books. So we need to find other ways to be able to make recommendations without having read the books we’re recommending. Once of the best ways to do this is to use various book recommendation websites where you can browse through the reviews and thoughts of all those people who have read the books. So to help you out, here’s my list of the 8 best book recommendation websites, whether to help your patrons or yourself to find a new book.”
“Two years ago today I had an interview for a dream job at one of the most prestigious libraries in the country. I did not get the job and they made the right choice. I had a great interview despite a wardrobe malfunction and major issues with my online application. In the end they hired the internal candidate who not only was better informed about the collection, but also had a much better résumé. I have had great interviews and ones that did not go well at all, but of all the interviews I have ever been on this was the one I learned from the most. When I look back at the entire process from applying to prepping to the interview and finally, the choice they made I have some valuable take-aways that could help other job hunters.”
25) 7 Great Sites for Academic Librarians by R.C. Miessler
“Whether you are currently employed by an academic library or are looking for a career in one, keeping up to date on the fun, exciting, and soul-crushing world of higher education is of vital import. It’s pretty easy to get cynical about academia (and if you aren’t, then you probably haven’t been paying attention), but there are a lot of great resources out there for academic librarians to help us keep our sanity. “
We had so many wonderful interviews this year and all can be found on our ARTICLES category. Looking forward to what 2015 will bring!
Here are the top 125 INALJ blog posts of 2014!