Librarian in a Box!
by Kate Kosturski, Volunteer Coordinator and Senior Editor, INALJ Ontario and INALJ Quebec
Today, you can just about get anything in a subscription box, delivered to your door on set intervals – from makeup (Birchbox) to clothes (Stitch Fix) to intimates (Wantable – and yes you read that right, there is a subscription box for underwear) to food (Graze) to the geeky (Loot Crate). After a long holdout (I thought it was a passing fad) my boyfriend and I took the plunge with boxes of our own – Dollar Shave Club for him, and international food box club Try the World for me. (They sent chocolate and dijon mustard in my first box direct from France. I think I’m in love.)
With no signs of the trend abating anytime soon, I began to wonder: what kind of subscription boxes could be out there for librarians? You collection development/acquisition librarians out there could argue that an approval plan is like your own subscription box (tell your jobber what you want in certain titles and subject areas and when titles fitting those needs are published, they come right to your library), but there may just be a few more useful and fun ideas out there.
The “Rent-A-Librarian” Box: If you’re starting out in your librarianship career, or want to change paths, why not get a box around a different type of library job? For example, a cataloger’s box may come with a copy of the Resource Description and Access manual, a trial to Cataloger’s Desktop, and a “Troublesome Catalogers” ribbon. (We librarians – or at least this one – love our ribbons, so there has to be one in every box!). Perhaps a box for a youth services librarian would come with a Storytime Underground T-shirt, finger puppets, a ukulele, and a parachute.
The “Award Winners” Box: There are so many great awards for books – both youth and adult – it’s impossible to keep track of the winners year after year. Why not get a selection of award winners – perhaps an entire box of Caldecott winners through the years in one month, the Newberry winners the next, and then the Carnegie winners after that? Or, you could have a box of each year’s Youth Media Awards winners delivered to your doorstep monthly. It could be a quick and easy road to effective collection development!
The “Relive the Conference” box: We all can’t make it to every single conference. For those times you just can’t go to ALA Midwinter or SLA (or if you just want to relive it), you could have a conference program, a CD-Rom of highlights (either videos, selected papers/presentations, or a mix of both), a little bit of vendor swag, some local treats from the conference location – and maybe some hot tea and cold medication so you can experience the conference cold everyone seems to get afterwards. (This was inspired by the ASIST 2009 Annual Conference I attended in Vancouver, Canada, wherein all attendees received a CD-Rom of the papers to be presented with our registration materials. I wish more conferences did this.)
The “Job Hunter’s” box: Now this is a box I wish I could have had when I was job searching. This box could come well stocked with pre-printed business cards, note paper for remembering to write the thank you notes after the interview, a guide to getting your professional portfolio started, lots of breath mints (for those moments you have a pizza covered in garlic AND then remember you have a job interview at 2 – not that I speak from experience or anything), and a trial membership in Toastmasters or Ellevate to help your networking skills.
Now it’s your turn. If you were making a subscription box for librarians, what would it have? Post your idea in the comments!