Friday, October 22, 2004

Succession Planning, Pt. II

The cover of Library Journal caught my eye yesterday after I had posted about succession planning - the cover is about salaries and the future of librarianship, but there's also an article,Your Library's Future, on what to do when the mass exodus happens. The article points out that many library administrators have little formal training on how to prepare budgets, maximize employee potential, manage buildings, etc. I think we'll see in the next generation of public library admin. the critical importance of a second master's degree in Public Administration or Public Services.

What follows succession planning is recruiting talented people within the library - and providing support to obtain an MLS so that they can fill professional roles. I'm talking about mentoring shelvers, reference aides, circulation staff, etc. We've got a captive audience, and they need encouragement to see how great librarianship can be. The library then needs to provide fair tuition reimbursement and a flexible schedule.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Where Did Everybody Go?!?

I'm concerned about succession planning for public libraries. Specifically, my library, because the reference staff's average age is 50+. I am the youngest reference staff member, and the only full-time librarian under 50. I make jokes that I'll be the only one left in 5-10 years when the others retire, but it really is a serious matter. Libraries are in an interesting HR spot right now-many of those that are graduating from MLS programs can't find positions because those that are in librarian positions aren't ready to retire just yet. However, we need to start thinking about the future. I don't know if this is my responsibility (as a future administrator, hopefully) or the responsbility of the current big cheeses. I'm planning to work though this bibliography to be better prepared. (Unfortunately I noticed that not very many of these articles were published in public library periodicals. Public Librarians, publish! Once you get started, it's addictive.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Brain Candy

Just finished Christopher Moore's new novel, The Stupidest Angel. Moore is finally getting the recognition that he deserves - after eight works of sharp hilarity, people are discovering his works. His latest work is snort-laughing worthy; but start with his first two novels, Practical Demonkeeping and Coyote Blue, to get the full flavor. The new covers for the trade paperbacks, published by Perennial, are pretty horrid-looking. So try to get the older editions, if nothing but to see a more aesthetically pleasing cover.

Great friends and excellent wine... visit to Napa Valley, 2004.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Why You Should Be a Librarian

I compiled this list to hand out to middle school students for their career day. I also asked them (with the promise of a free t-shirt if they answered) what were some of the words that popped into their minds when I said the word librarian. "Cardigan" "old" "sssshh-ers" "mean" "crabby" "smart" "read often" were some of their replies. One at a time, we'll change their minds... they are, after all, future taxpayers and supporters of libraries.

Top 25 Reasons to Be a Librarian
Librarians change lives!
Access to practically all the information & knowledge in the world
Protectors of free speech and open information
Every day is totally different
Constantly learn something new
Use virtually everything you already know
Constant instant gratification and satisfaction
Use cutting edge technology, like wireless, MP3 players and ebooks
Be the ultimate search engine
Get to surf the Internet as part of the job
Teach people how to find answers to important questions
Beat your friends at Trivial Pursuit
People automatically think you’re smart
Influence government policies
Many different types of job opportunities – Public, Academic, Special Libraries and technology companies
Job growth, especially in special libraries, is expected to skyrocket by 2010
It’s not a boring desk job!
Great working conditions & co-workers
Opportunities to get involved in the community
Know when the best new books come out
Buy books and other fun materials with other people’s money
Access to the newest CDs, DVDs, magazines
Play with puppets, wear costumes and tell fantastic stories
Talk to all sorts of interesting people, from 8-year-olds to 88-year-olds
Arm young adults & children with knowledge and power

From ALA ... here's another list of why it's good to be a librarian right now. And no, not everything is on the Internet, nor will it ever be!

So darned fun

I finally gave in... and bought a Blackberry PDA/phone/email device. I was a staunch opposer to all things related to cell phones, but gave in when I realized that I had three paper calendars going on - one at work, one at home and one that traveled with me when I didn't forget it. That's a sure ticket to driving yourself crazy.

Haven't hooked up the phone or email service yet... I'm working into it; give me time!

Thanks for the replies to my first post. I'll post the top 25 reasons to be a librarian soon (I created the list for a middle-school career day. The students were astounded that librarians a) could be male b) knew all about the internet and c) could be under 50 (I'm hangin' on to 29). )

Friday, October 08, 2004

My first post, yeha!

Thanks to Steven Cohen, I've finally stepped into the world of library blogs. His article in motivated me to try out this crazy new way to market libraries and myself. I am all for librarians marketing themselves and their talents - yeah, I know we don't do enough of it, so here's my small contribution.

I'm the electronic services librarian for a medium-sized public library in Illinois. My first professional foray into librarianship was as a corporate librarian for a financial company. Good experience, but sheesh, it's hard to be a solo librarian for 4,000 people in three countries. Needless to say I enjoy the socialization of working with 15 other librarians and the community much better.

I love telling people what I do for a living. Libraries are in such a good position right now (that's the optimist in me speaking), combining tradition with new technology. Our library has about 270,000 books and we recently purchased MP3 players for books on MP3. I wrote an article for the Shy Librarian (now defunct, boo hoo!) on the why it's good to be a librarian now.