So, You Want To Be A Librarian/Archivist?: Getting “Developed”

Image used by permission from the lovely John Kirriemuir.
Image used by permission from the lovely John Kirriemuir.

One question I am asked in almost every single interview is how do I keep up with the profession? Recently I started thinking about framing this question back when I started my MLIS in 2008. I remember in those ye olde days I had a very difficult time finding blogs, wikis, podcasts or anything really by library students or librarians themselves on the intertubes that discussed librarianship in any format.
That has changed significantly in the last two years since I started my journey down this rabbit hole so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a thorough resource encompassing how librarianating is done as well as include resources for free or cheap on professional development to develop ones ibrarianating.
While plowing through mailing list emails one day, a conversation erupted on the “value” of professional journals and magazines, meaning that what is the point of spending several hundreds of dollars for a personal subscription to LibraryJournal when a print subscription to Wired, which some consider more relevant for librarinating, is only $10? Fair point. Bottom line: what is relevant to one’s profession is dependent on their interests. With that in mind, I created gReader bundles that pulls top libraryesque blogs by the rock stars as well as blogs by friends of mine who are librarians as well as one specifically on social media, web design and other similar flavors.

  • Librar*.*: A gReader bundle that consists of 80+ blogs by or for librarian/archivists. It’s got stuff like American Libraries Magazine, Librarian By Day, 8bit Library, Tame The Web to The Librarian Kate and The Steampunk Librarian and back again.
  • Web Lisa dot 1: Another gReader bundle that includes top tech, social media and web design blogs such as /.,A List Apart, ReadWriteWeb and more. If it’s specifically library+technology related, it’s in the Librar*.* bundle, if it’s general tech/geekery, it’s here.

There are loads of free-access journals and magazines on the intertubes dedicated to librarians and other information wranglers. Here is a smattering of them.

I really got into podcasts while I was in libschool and if there is a dearth of anything in this profession of ours, it is the lack of librarian produced podcasts. When I lamented about this on Twitter one day, Jason said, “Hey! I have a podcast that you can find in iTunes called Adventures in Library Instruction. And a girlcrush was born.

What you learned or will learn in libschool is a drop to what you need to know to or get a big girl/boy job in librarianating. Why? Internships, practicums and volunteering are all well and good, but most of the experience or skills are learned on the job. Learning theory and how to catalog is one thing, actually being able to do it is another. The secondary problem is that if you went to libschool for every skill set needed or required, the degree would take a decade to complete. This is where workshops and webinars come into play. There is a PLETHORA of free or super cheap webinars that cover everything from academic instruction to using Zotero.

  • ALA’s Online Learning: Sorts by topic, subject or ALA unit (LITA, ACRL, RUSA, etc), with many of¬†the¬†offerings reasonably priced or free.
  • Cisco’s WebEx Free Webinars: Done by another tech industry leader, Cisco, these webinars cover management, leadership, information management and additional topics.
  • Emerging Technologies Summer Institute: I was asked by ever awesome Rochelle to participate in a one month only crowd sourced prof development blog. Unfortunately, that one month was in July and I spent most of it driving/flying hither and tither to job interviews and other fun things, so I didn’t get to add to the content. But I love this idea and she’s kept up the site, so while it’s not a webinar exactly there is loads of videos on how to do/use variety of different stuff.
  • InfoPeople: Provides fairly extensive on specialized topics by tons of names I recognize. Many of the webinars I selected to check out were free, so this resource is definitely worth checking out.
  • New Horizons Computer Training Centers Webinars: Concentrates mainly on Office based training, but that can be useful if you’re looking to brush up.
  • North East Florida Library Information Network Webinar Blog : Maintained by NEFLIN for area library professionals and originally intended for the locals, it’s become wildly popular go-to source for webinar roundup.
  • O’Reilly Training: Listing of free or nearly free tech training from the masters.
  • Techsoup For Libraries
  • While some of the calendaring functions are slightly buggy, the “by category” and “search webinar” options are fantastic. Deals mainly with PR, marking, social media, best practices and some technology. Best of all: Most of the webinars are free.

Anything that doesn’t fit in the above.

  • To:Librarianate – Amazon WishList This is NOT a ploy for you to buy me something, rather it’s a save-hold for books on topics that I think are important to becoming a librarian. Easier to create an AMZ wishlist than to list them out one by one.
  • The Library Route Project: Interested in medical librarianship? Music librarianship? Librarianship in another country? This project, started in October 2009, has librarians and info professionals from around the globe detailing their experiences. What makes this a great resource is not only to see the paths that others took to get to their career/jobs, but they are also choke full of resources for their particular position.

Please let me know, via comments, email or Twitter, any blogs, podcasts, journals, webinars or misc that I’m missing and should be included here. I’d like to keep this as complete as possible!
Updates:10.15.10 – Updated with two new webinar sites and book list for librarianating.