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101 most asked interview questions July 17, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Library School.
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The other day someone (in a hiring position) told me how much he appreciated my post on entry level interview attire and said he wished more students would read that post. Wow!!! Someone was more interested in my practical posts than in the School of Informatics dissolution discussion! Shucks. While it’s true that SOI issues are close to my heart there is certainly more to me and this blog than that. The numbers (hits) show that people are most interested in SOI, but as we all know from Collection Development circ stats are only one part of the bigger picture. This is true for blogs, too.

So, 101 interview questions. Anyone who has taken Management at UB’s DLIS knows the site I am referring to here but it is worth re-posting for students who haven’t taken it yet or, frankly, anyone out there in LibraryLand looking for a little job prep help. We can’t all be UT Austin can we? (Ah but I dared dream of developing SOI-specific career services before the Big Breakup…)

We’ve all been there. Spent so much time trying to find a suit and take the virtual tour of a campus, forgot to have all the main questions prepared. Then add the nervousness and trying to make eye contact with everyone in the room… I can say from personal experience that there is no way to predict every question that will be asked, but running through this list, thinking out and even writing down your answers will have you more prepared to deal with the more spontaneous stuff. And let’s face it, reference librarians never know which question will be new and which one will be something for which they’ve prepared. Interviewers will want to see both: how prepared we can be AND how we think on our feet.

My best best best wishes and good thoughts to people out there who, like me, seek a place that will draw from their strengths and support the development of new ones. Librarians…. rawk. Heartfelt thanks to Ann E. Robinson for compiling such a comprehensive list (http://www.geocities.com/aer_mcr/libjob/interview.html) and putting it online to share with everyone.


School of Informatics, express your concerns July 14, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Informatics, Library School.
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Several School of Informatics students and alums have reached out to me with concerns about the changes taking place at the University at Buffalo. While I am touched that they would trust me to bring their concerns to light I also want to empower folks to speak out about issues that concern them. Themes I have heard over and over are a reticence to speak out because the person is looking for work, or fear of reprisal at the person’s current place of employment (which in some cases is UB). It saddens me to hear these things. Libraries, of all places, should be places that recognize the value moral imperative of sharing information and advocating for our and our users’ interests. Universities should also be such places.

Student representatives will be meeting with the provost (tentatively scheduled for July 24th) and are seeking input from all concerned. I have forwarded my own concerns regarding these changes to Ben Hockenberry (benhockenberry [at] gmail [dot] com) and I encourage others to do the same. There is power in numbers.

The recent ALA conditional accreditation (2 years) has many students worried (link to Buffalo Business First article here), and I do not blame them. The status of our degrees may be an issue in the future as we seek employment in this extremely competitive market. My question to the provost, then, is how will the LIS program be supported in meeting the requirements for securing and retaining full ALA accreditation?

I have made a conscious decision not to blog or otherwise participate anonymously online. I also have required a WordPress account in order to comment on Library Matters, in an attempt to decrease splog comments. This has frustrated a few folks who wanted to comment here, and for that I apologize. One could consider creating an account in order to participate in online discussions. It only takes a few moments, and you can create an account without having to create a blog.

Finally, I want to personally extend a heartfelt thank you to LM readers and commenters, particularly on the issue of the dissolution of SOI. The day I posted the dissolution podcast summary, LM was the 82nd most read WordPress blog in the world. This IS a serious issue and people are paying attention.

In the interest of fairness… July 7, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Informatics, Library School, LISNews.
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Provost Tripathi of the University at Buffalo has now communicated directly to the LIS students via the student listserv. Rather than re-posting the entire statement I will post a link to the LISNews entry by Blake, here. A relevant excerpt:

“…universities initiate change for countless administrative and academic reasons. And, throughout UB’s history such has occurred — as I suspect our faculty and alumni can attest. The administrative change we are witnessing today in the School of Informatics has been designed with one objective in mind: To ensure our academic departments and educational programs are supported – through maximizing the use of our resources in direct support of our academic mission – so our students, faculty, and academic degree programs can flourish.(my emphasis)

Also discusses the very real and valuable efforts of interdisciplinary approaches. Personal commentary: School of Informatics IS interdisciplinary, encompassing Communication, Library and Information Science, and Informatics. The LIS program actively collaborates with the Law School, Libraries, Music, and Health Sciences disciplines.

I am pleased Provost Tripathi has addressed the students. It’s a step in the right direction. But my colleague said correctly at a recent podcast: “There are still decisions to be made”. Thankfully the Provost and Interim Dean will be meeting with students to discuss next steps.

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Independence July 4, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Digitization Projects, Holiday.
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Fragment of earliest known draft of the Declaration of Independence
(Fragment of earliest known draft of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson in June 1776 – From American Memory: Declaring Independence, Drafting the Documents, Objects in the Exhibition)

Declaring independence took revision and a willingness to edit, as this fragment shows. (See transcript here). A reminder that everything important is a work in progress. Happy 4th everybody.

10 Rules for New Librarians July 1, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, Image of Librarians.
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Michael Stephens at Tame the Web posted an excellent top 10 list for new librarians yesterday. In the midst of current local tensions here in Buffalo with our University and our LIS program (well documented earlier in this blog) I found this inspiring and useful, and honestly, quite apropos. Following I quote my 2 personal favorites but you can read more here. What are your favorites and why do they resonate with you? Not JUST for newbies… I feel this advice rings true for all of us:

“Work and Play nice with each other at your jobs, at conferences and in those places where information professionals gather.This isn’t a competition or a contest. It’s not all about you, new grad (sorry, but it’s not). It’s about the user. And creating services. And being the best librarian you can be.”

Now that I think about it, this could be extended to any field. Any customer service oriented profession you can think of wouldn’t exist without the users/customers/students/clients it serves. Users come first. Without them, there’s no us. Next time I hear someone criticize their patrons’ lack of boolean savvy I’ll kindly ask them to read this list… it takes far less time to explain and/or/not to someone than to complain about how they don’t know how to use a database.

“Listen to the seasoned librarians you encounter. They know things. Good things. Listen and they may inform your future decisions and planning. Learn from every conversation, meeting or water cooler chat. (And seasoned folk, listen to your new hires! You do the same: listen, learn and share… break down the generational divide present in some organizations…you’ll be happy you did!)”

One of my academic interests has been looking at demographic trends of generations. In academic librarianship, at least, “millenials” has been one of the big buzzwords, and many have looked at generational differences in terms of both users and librarians. Generation X has different information technology wants and needs than Generation Y than Baby Boomer than Gen Z and so on. But providing good service has always stemmed from the same core values: approachability, needs assessment, working within a budget, empowering users to find, evaluate and use information… developing high quality accessible collections (what others?).