I thought last weeks lecture was very informative and useful. While most of our focus, as students, is on completing the program and earning our degree, it is easy to lose sight of your ultimate goal, the library job. As someone who has been on both sides of the interview table, I really thought that many of the items we discussed in class would be vital to help in getting a job. By far, the most important piece of advice was on tailoring your cover letter and resume to match the job you are applying for. I could not encourage this more. The person who takes the time to really create a letter and resume that speak to the job is always going to go into the interview with a leg up on the competition.
Nina Platt’s article on Knowledge Management, available here, was a great introduction into this new and growing field. I thought that this article provided a great deal of information while not overwhelming readers with the subject matter. This can be an especially difficult field as it is often difficult to even come up with a consistent definition as to what knowledge management entails. As an aside, I would recommend to anyone taking some of the knowledge management courses offered through our program. I’ve taken both knowledge management and systems analysis and found both classes to be great sources of information. Also, you get the opportunity to study with Kanti, who is considered to be one of the world’s experts in this field. While many librarians may resent this growing field as “taking away our jobs” I truly believe that there is much that the study of knowledge management can do to help create better librarians.
IM a Librarian: Establishing a Virtual Reference Service with Little Cost or Technical Skill, available here, is a very interesting article I had actually already read previously. I was writing a paper about implementing an instant messaging system at a law library and found this to be the best overview on the subject available. I thought the use of screen shots allowed users unfamiliar with IM programs to easily follow and implement the solutions in the article. I thought this article, especially when coupled with the article on Wikis, do a great job of helping librarians develop these new and glowingly important skills.
The Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section of AALL, found here, has a wealth of information that would be vital to any law librarian. I was especially shocked to see that they offer program notes dating back to 1981. There is not a great deal of information regarding these early programs, but the historical record is great. The service guides the website is compiling also are a great resource and a good way for librarians to see how other libraries work. I think one of the best resources on the website is the National Legal Research Teach-In Kit. They also offer access to past kits. These provide a wealth of ideas about how to market your library and reach out to your patrons. While some of the law library websites we have looked at have been rather lack luster, this is really a great website with a variety of information that can be useful to any type of law librarian.
Let Them Know What You Do by Lori Tarpinian, found here, was an interesting article that is even more vital in our current time of diminishing budgets. The author does an amazing job of recounting her efforts to to be sure that their staff were truly recognized as the multi-talented individuals they are. It is more important than ever librarians actively promote themselves and make sure that the “c” level positions know their true value. I was not surprised in the end that other department heads wanted to copy the example that the librarians created. In any line of work it can never hurt to make sure that you consistently demonstrate your value to the organization.