Guest post for Hack Library School

I’ve written a guest post on music librarianship for Hack Library School, a US-based blog for and by librarianship students. I followed HLS throughout my own library school experience and they’re a pretty cool bunch! To read my post, please click the link to go to their site.

via The Weird and Wonderful World of Music Librarianship — hls


On the job hunt

I have started looking for a new job. I’ve had a year at home with my son and am now keen to get back into work. My goal is to get a role as a professional librarian since I’ve now gained my qualification and have several years experience as a library assistant. I’d like to move up the ladder a bit but it’s really more about utilising my skills and experience to the full. Ideally I’d like to work in a music/arts library but in reality there are very few jobs in this specialism, so I’m looking in the wider information sector.

However job hunting while looking after a one year old full time has been tough! Since I don’t have vast amounts of time to spend on it, I’ve set up some job alerts with a few target employers and job listing websites. This way they come straight to my inbox. I also tried to take a systematic approach with these alerts by using keywords and more generalist terms like “information” to try and capture all the relevant positions. Encouragingly there are quite a few relevant gigs going and I’ve got three applications on the go now. I’ve also set up a spreadsheet to keep track of everything as I am easily distracted these days!

Networking with colleagues has been useful so far as well as…This post on job hunting strategies for your first professional post by Carla Harwood. NLPN (New Library Professional Network) are always a winner and they have lots of useful stuff on their website including their job shadowing list. They also run events (next one’s May 12th).

Anything else I should try? Anywhere else I should look? Do YOU want to hire me?? Leave me a comment!

A (insert collective noun here) of music librarians

A wrap-up of the recent music libraries conference in Edinburgh (featuring a presentation by yours truly). Reblogged from MusiCB3, the Cambridge University Music Library blog.

MusiCB3 Blog

I spent part of the Easter holidays in beautiful Edinburgh attending the annual IAML (pronounced Yam-ull, rhymes with camel) Annual Study Weekend. The UK and Ireland branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (Archives and Documentation Centres were added to make the title more inclusive in 1980, hence the earlier abbreviated acronym) has run conferences along with its AGM on an occasional basis as early as 1956, with the ASWs becoming a regular fixture since at least 1972.

So what do music librarians talk about when they get together? Here are a few of the highlights.

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My Bookshelf – Postpartum (2017-18)

My reading understandably has been curtailed after little one came along last Spring. I am getting some time to read again now which is great. Here’s a summary of what’s been on my bookshelf over the past year or so. I’m also trying to keep my Good Reads profile up to date if you’re interested:

The Violin Maker: Finding a centuries old tradition in a Brooklyn workshop by John Marchese
Brilliant account of a top violin maker today Sam Zygmuntowicz, his workshop and violin making process. Being a violinist, obviously I’m biased to the subject matter but it was absolutely fascinating to get an inside view of the craft. Marchese’s musings on the luthier tradition, Stradivari and the Cremonese old masters, and the relationship between player and instrument were very insightful.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Insightful firsthand account of that much talked about group, the “American working class.” Poignant, hilarious and tragic, Vance tells the story of his family and beating the odds to become a Yale law graduate while addressing head on important societal issues such as unemployment and migration, family ties and family breakdown and distrust of government.

How to be a Brit by George Mikes
Hilarious and absolutely on the mark, despite the first part being published in 1946. A must read for expats, Anglophiles and self-deprecating Britons (which is most of them).

Dune series by Frank Herbert
A landmark sci-fi series and I can see why. I’ve read the first two. Well worth it. Though I’m not sure how the rest of the series holds up.

The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon
An interesting premise – set in the not too distant future in London where a police state, Scion, targets a clairvoyant underclass. Meanwhile an alien (?) race, the Rephaim abduct clairvoyants to their prison city in Oxford for nefarious purposes. The heroine Paige is a gifted clairvoyant who takes it all on after she’s abducted. It does take a strange Stockholm syndrome turn but found the first two novels fast-paced, exciting reads.

Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott
Timeless classic that I revisited after watching the BBC series. I read the first two and almost couldn’t put them down despite knowing what was going to happen next.

What do librarianship and parenting have in common?

Working on a library counter and looking after a baby actually have a lot in common. Like what, you ask? Well let me tell you…

  • Constant interruptions – not much explanation needed really, the half finished labelling job/half empty dishwasher says it all.
  • Complex systems/information – library catalogues, online renewals, they can be complicated although there is a growing UX (user experience) movement in librarianship seeking to make library stuff work more better. In baby land, pretty much every thing is complex, mainly due to too much choice, but some things are just plain complicated. Cloth nappies, I’m looking at you.
  • Unsociable hours – library users and babies want a 24/7 service, simple as that.
  • Acronyms – DD, DS, DH, STTN, CC, RDA, OA, OPAC, LCSH.* Parents and librarians love our acronyms!
  • Dealing with puzzling problems – in the library this takes the form of inquiries. The book I want is not on the shelf – where is it? My singing teacher wants me to get the music for this piece, called (insert unintelligible foreign language song title here), I think it’s by Mozart, but I’m not sure. At home, there are lots of puzzles, the main one being, why is baby grumpy?
  • Manual handling required – Babies and books (and orchestral sets and scores and printer paper) require carrying around. Though I’ve gotten better results from baby power lifting.

What else? Leave me a comment and I will reply in four months. [Post originally drafted in October (four months ago)…]

*Dear Daughter, Dear Son, Dear Husband, Sleep Through The Night, Controlled Crying, Resource Description and Analysis, Open Access, Online Public Access Catalogue, Library of Congress Subject Headings