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!

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

Wrap up of interesting articles

Here’s a wrap up of articles of interest from t’internet I’ve read recently.

Library Trends

A blog post via the International Librarians Network  about trends in libraries piqued my interest. The super-cool sounding DaVinci Institute (an American think tank) has published an article on the future of libraries that is fascinating. One prediction: the days of using keyboards as an interface with technology are numbered.

Another neat trend report on the future of librarianship qualifications (a debate which will keep raging for many more years to come I’m sure). The University of Maryland envisions a degree that trains ‘disruptive’ leaders with a strong emphasis on business/management skills (e.g. project management) and empowering your community.

Visitors and Residents

I’ve been reading about a new model for digital engagement called “visitors and residents”. The visitors and residents model was developed in response to the perceived failings of existing models, namely digital natives / digital immigrants. Basically the model presumes that a digital native is someone born after about 1990 who since they’ve grown up with the Internet is presumed to have an innate understanding of technology. A digital immigrant is the term used to refer to the rest of us who had to learn technologies as adults, therefore we “immigrated” into digital culture rather than being a tech “native”. There are lots of problems with this, mainly that age is no determinant of technological savvy as proven by several studies.[1]

Visitors and residents is understood as a continuum of online engagement where the residents, to a greater or less extent, live online. They engage and interact with others, and leave records of this in the form of tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, comments etc. On the other hand, visitors, view the Internet more like a garden shed, you go in and get the tool you need or complete a task, then leave. Obviously we’ll all shift between these at times, and the point of the continuum is it’s not a fixed label. To learn more about V & R, here is some info with links to the original paper by LeCornu and White (2011)  and here’s a presentation by Ned Potter about V & R in a library context.

New UK Sound Directory for all you audiophiles

The British Library project Save our Sounds recently announced they have published a UK Sound Directory with information about 3,000 collections of sound recordings held all across the country. The wider aim of the project is to digitise historic British sound recordings because otherwise they will be lost in a few decades since many are in fragile formats and the technology used to play them is increasingly rare.


[1] See for example the studies by Rowlands et. al on the ‘Google Generation’ (Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Huntington, P., Fieldhouse, M., Gunter, B.,Withey, R., Jamali, H.R., Dobrowolski, T. and Tenopir, C. (2008) ‘The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future,’ Aslib Proceedings, 60(4), pp. 290–310. Doi: 10.1108/00012530810887953).

UK Libraries, visited more than cinemas? Yes!

I often get asked when I tell people what I do something along the lines of, “Do we still need libraries? Isn’t it all online nowadays?” I have yet to come up with a correspondingly short answer to that (it’s normally something along the lines of what about lack of access / skills / literacy / money?!) but I read today some compelling evidence that public libraries in the UK, despite declining visitor numbers year on year, get vastly more visits than other places that at first glance you’d think would run away with the figures. And this is all in the context of city council budget cuts and lay-offs of staff. So here is a “re-blog” of that information from the ever-informative Ned Potter’s blog.

If libraries aren’t relevant in the digital age anymore, than neither are cinemas, museums, galleries, theaters, churches or professional football matches because libraries were visited much more than any of those last year. Was that what you expected?

Check out the slideshows Ned has put together with all of this information and the sources: