Monthly Archives: April 2011

Coming to the end of the semester and students are freaking out

We are coming to the end of the semester, and students are freaking out. Many have waited to the last minute to work on their papers. Last Wednesday, a student came to the reference desk around 3:00pm, and their paper was due at 6:00pm! I printed out some scholarly journal articles, New York Time articles, and gave her the call numbers of a few books. My work was done at that point, or at least you think it is done. Today at least 4 or 5 students have come to me with printer problems. They cannot print their paper and it is due now or in a couple of hours.

Some students are just stressed out because of the requirements the professor has set. They feel it is ridiculous. They tried and that should be enough. Well, you know the requirements, and the professor’s expectations. All you can do is what your professor has asked. Don’t complain, just do it. Also, I explain if they want to transfer to a 4-year college they will be prepared. It will pay off in the long run.

These students seem to be some of the most prepared, and understand how to do research. I know it is because the professor makes the students do library exercises, and use the library for all their assignments. I am so happy these students are challenged.

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iPad is not taking library jobs

Last Monday, I heard on the radio Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’ presentation on the house floor of how the iPad was eliminating paper related jobs. When he said, “…librarians and all the jobs associated with paper…Well, in not too distant future such jobs will not exist.” (“Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Says Apple’s iPad Kills American Jobs,” http://tinyurl.com/44uukrv) I said, “What!” People really have no idea what librarians do, and the skills associated with librarianship. A lot of us provide services completely online. We use databases, e-books, and other electronic resources to do research and reference. We change along with technology. If books were no longer available in print we would focus on making them available electronically. Something many librarians are already working on. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. probably just remembers the librarians that helped him when he was a college student.

Several of the skills we have can be applied to other industries and businesses. Librarians work in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. The stereotypical librarian sitting at the reference and standing in the stacks re-shelving books does not apply to all of us. I love the diversity in librarianship, and the creative ways so many librarians use their skills. How do we let lawmakers and those outside the library world know what we do? This is a question we will continue to answer. Image from: http://librarianlistsandletters.blogspot.com/

That reference interview took over an hour

Wright College Library Reference Desk

I am asked a lot of questions on a variety of subjects. I was really stumped for search terms to use in EBSCO and ProQuest for this student’s topic. The topic is rehabilitation and treatment of pedophiles on probation. I started with rehabilitation and pedophile, and a few things popped up. She already searched cognitive therapies. I needed to think about this without her staring at me at the reference desk. So, I told her I would continue to look, and check back with her. I can see her sitting at a computer station from the reference desk. She was advised to focus on the laws. Since it was an English course I decided to be more liberal with my search. Some of my search terms were: behavioral intervention and pedophilia, pharmacological interventions and pedophilia, Depo-Provera and pedophile, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone and pedophile, chemical castration, phallometric testing, and incarceration and pedophile. I removed the scholarly journal limiter and my results included articles from periodicals such as Time magazine.

I knew I was not going to get a break today. The young lady I tried to help before this student only spoke a little bit of English. Spanish was her first language. Luckily the Head of Reference was able to help her, and speak to her in Spanish.

Blue and White cupcakes instead of pink

So, I decided to make blue and white cupcakes, because those are Wright College’s colors. I came in the revolving door this afternoon carrying the blue cupcakes covered in plastic wrap. Soon as I entered the building students were asking for cupcakes. I told them to go to the library. A student arrived at the desk before I did, and was asking for cupcakes. I did even get a chance to put them on a platter. It was so funny. I have baked about 75 cupcakes this week, and I am done.  Image from: wilton.com

Pink Cupcakes and Two jobs

I am going to make pink cupcakes for the book sale tomorrow. The chocolate cupcakes were a hit. Pink is more spring-like, and the shining sun has inspired me. If I am really motivated I might make a dozen blue cupcakes. Now, I just have to figure out if I am going to dye the cake, frosting, or both.

Today I visited my new job. I was planning to go to River Forest, and went the wrong ending up in Northbrook. You can tell I am from the city. Everything looked the same. I am glad I carry a road map in my car. It was cool. I got to drive around on a surprisingly warm and sunny day in Chicago. I saw Glenview Public Library for the first time. It was really nice.

I am planning to finish out my contract with my part-time job, and start working the full-time job soon. So, I will be working two jobs for a while. I know I am not the only librarian working two jobs. I wonder what percentages of librarians are working two jobs. I will have to look into it. Image from: shrinkingvioletpromotions.blogspot.com



Chocolate Cupcakes Finished!

I just finished frosting 48 chocolate cupcakes for the book sale.

Accepting low salaries to get more professional experience

I am a cheerleader for getting experience, and working your way up. I decided to get my Master’s in Library and Information Science after being a paraprofessional for almost 10 years. I wanted more responsibility, authority to help patrons with their research, and the eligibility for promotion into Librarian positions. I am working as a part-time Librarian, and have gained some professional experience. I get call backs for interviews but the salaries are way below average. I know some organizations have budget restraints. I think a lot of organizations can pay salaries commensurate with our education and experience. Depending on what type of organization you work for I think you have to prove the value of your library degree and your skills. Discuss how your skills and education will improve the organization. My graduate degree has provided me with knowledge and research skills above and beyond the skill set of a Library Technical Assistant or a student worker. Do your research and never be afraid to ask for a better salary. You will not lose the job offer if you ask for more money.

I am extremely gratefully to be working. I am always thinking of my brothers and sisters looking for professional positions, and I am wishing you well.

For-profit schools creating opportunities for new librarians

I have applied for 65-70 jobs at academic, public, and special libraries.  I have applied to work at for-profit schools, too. Half of my job interviews have been with for-profit schools like Kaplan University.

It took me some time to warm up to the idea of applying to for-profit schools. They get so much bad press, and you never hear the success stories. I recently watched Frontline’s College, Inc., which does not depict a rosy picture. I personally do not know anyone who has attended a for-profit school. So, I am really relying on what I hear about these schools, and what turns up in my research. I read several comments and postings on blogs from students at for-profit colleges discussing their experiences. I decided the students were having the same experiences as students at public and private universities.

Tuition increases, struggling to pay for school, taking out$100,000 in student loans, struggling to find a job in their chosen field after graduation, and changes in curriculum and requirements in their field. I think higher education is too expensive all around whether you go to a for-profit, private, or public institution. Honestly, when I was a college student some of the people I went to school with were not prepared. They chose to go to a private institution, and did not know how to write a basic essay. Enrolling more students, and making more money is a goal for almost every institution of higher learning.

I think some student grievances with for-profit schools might be valid. For example, getting stuck with loans they did not want, or nursing students suing over lack of accreditation. There was a similar case at Virginia Western Community College. I saw a television special where nursing graduates from a for-profit school never stepped foot in a hospital. Of course, I do not know what was on their mind not questioning why they never went to a hospital as part as part of their training.

Despite all the bad press there are librarians out there that need jobs. You get to a point where you stop being choosy, and need to pay your bills. If you are really willing you can have an impact on students. This goes for all institutions of higher learning. I believe helping students find authoritative information, providing them with the skills to do ethical research, and teaching them to do research on their own is the most important part of my job. Image from: lakelandlocal.com