You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.

I’m finding it a bit difficult to get back into the groove after an absolutely amazing vacation to Mexico. It also seems to be that time of the year when the biblioblogosphere hits a lull at the end of the academic year and I can’t find much to inspire me. So I’ll have to start digging a little bit deeper and ignore my spring fever…it’s just so hard to concentrate when the cottonwood fluff is floating on the breeze and the lilacs are blooming.

…and a belated happy birthday to Adventures in the Wild West Library Frontier!

I have never been terribly good at using my professional connections to my advantage. It’s not that I don’t realize the importance of networking in the insular world of librarianship, it’s just that I’ve always been slightly uncomfortable asking people to make the effort on my behalf. I even feel bad asking people to take the time to provide references for me, even though I know this is how the profession works and they are more than happy to do it. Without a doubt I should be more confident and proactive in this regard, especially now that I am seeing just how important a strong advocate can be in the right place at the right time.

Since my internship with the Institute of American Indian Arts last summer, I have stayed in pretty close contact with the librarian there. Just recently she heard through the grapevine about an art librarian job opening up with our state museum – which just happens to be my ABSOLUTE DREAM JOB. While the job will not be officially advertised until June, she contacted the director on my behalf and let me know they’re interested in receiving my resume and a letter of interest. I have a real feeling of synchronicity on this one, but we’ll see. I always hear how job-hunting success comes primarily through who you know, so this may be my prime example of that phenomenon.

Fingers crossed as I take the next week off for a much needed birthday trip to the Yucatan peninsula…

As I face various impediments to my desire to stay involved the field and improve my own skills and knowledge, I am again recognizing the benefit of actually working in a library and the professional support that entails. I was always encouraged in my library jobs to take web tutorials, attend webinars, and read articles pertaining to library science. While I’m still encouraged to “read on the job” , this now covers the topics of art and art history (can’t really complain). I hardly ever have time to catch up on my backlog of library publications (which do not make for enticing reading on the bus after a long day of work).

Ditto the online learning opportunities. It’s not something I can pursue at work, and one of my budgeting sacrifices was to give up broadband at my house. Thus my freetime computing comes via wi-fi at coffeeshops. This gives me exactly 2 possible days a week for online professional development, and all too often webinars are live events that I can’t attend. But I should still try to pursue new alternatives, so I’ve been looking back over some of the best and most flexible options out there for professional development on my own time.

For one thing, just because I can’t attend every conference doesn’t mean I can’t get involved with the conference. More and more often the session notes and even full presentations are available for viewing on the conference websites. Some of my most useful resources are conference session handouts, even after the fact.

I went back and revisited the helpful links to “Free Library-related eLearning sites” on the Library 2.0 site. Here are some that I haven’t really pursued yet:

The Bibliographic Center for Research has “Free Friday Forums” on issues such as the Library of Congress collections, OCLC, FRBR, and RDA. These are archived, so I should be able to check them out.

The Library of Congress workshops seem moderately useful – there’s one on web design that could come in handy.

The Library of Congress Webcasts look a little more promising. I will definitely look at the one on bibliographic control.

I’m intrigued by the LISRadio site created by the School of Information Science at the University of Missouri, Columbia, which advertises “interactive webcasts”. There is also an archive. I’m particularly interested in the “On the job” series.

Some other options that I’ve already mentioned: OPAL, SirsiDynix Institute, and WebJunction.

I also looked into taking some classes via the Dona Ana Community College’s Library Science Program (certification, not Master’s degree), such as Advanced Cataloging. They are available online, and at $60 a credit hour are an affordable possibility. I think my skills are current enough right now, but the field is always shifting imperceptibly.

Those are the possibilities, now it’s really just a matter of budgeting the time.

May 2008