Thoughts from a Newly Minted Librarian

by Jing Liu ~ February 10th, 2007. Filed under: Professional Development.

It has been quite a while for me to post something here at this site, which I deem it ‘OUR’ site, though the site URL bears Jing’s name 🙂 I believe Jing would generously agree so and hope that this site would become a platform for us to share our thoughts and ideas here…)
Having just graduated from SLAIS, UBC for less than 2 months and have not quite used to the title “Librarian” yet, I am thinking that perhaps I should make use of this ‘freshness’ to note down some of my thoughts here and hope they can be of some use for my dear library school fellow-students. Also I truly wish the veteran librarians would give some comments/suggestions/advice re my thoughts here. All in all, to borrow a Chinese idiom here, I think what I’m doing here is to “throw bricks to attract jade”.

About LIS Program

Generally I feel my LIS study was helpful for actual job practice. But I am afraid I was thinking more of the part-time library job experience I took during my study period when I said the study was helpful. So I’d strongly suggest the current LIS students have some library experience before graduating. It does not only boost your resume, but also, more importantly, help you understand what you have learned in the lectures…I know it could be competitive to find a paid job during the study, but, hay, there are so many alternate ways you can earn some library experience, right? Like volunteering, professional experience, practicum, etc.

My personal experience might not fit your particular situation, but here are some courses I really wish I had taken them: Cataloging, Project Management, Marketing (you will see why if you read on…

About Job Searching
My only advice would be: DON’T BE DISCURAGED BY REJECTIONS. I landed both of my current part-time jobs before the end of my study, and was offered a fulltime job within two weeks after my graduation. But before all the ‘good’ things happened, I got a couple of rejection letters. I remember I was feeling pretty depressed during that time, for the wording of the letters could really get you down if you happen to be like me who is not that confident enough. (I remember it was said in one letter “your candidacy is not competitive enough to be shortlisted for our further consideration..”)

Having said ‘my only advice’, I still want to throw out another tip here: Talk to your mentor, or any other veteran librarians, to get to know better the other side of the interview table. Having been sitting in search committees, their advice is invaluable for you to know what the employer is really looking for from a candidate..

About New Job

I was lucky enough to land a position I feel passionate about: Reference/Instruction. And both of my two part-time jobs employers belong to those types that every new librarian dreams about. The colleagues I am working with are supportive, trusting, friendly and most of all, approachable…Nevertheless, I’m having a big concern now with my job, or with our profession in general…whenever I sit at the ref desk watching the students just walk passing by, whenever I looked at the sparsely filled ref desk statistics sheet and whenever I stared at my computer screen looking forward to the signal of a new chat-reference patron, I really felt bad for /worried about my passive waiting. I wish I could do something more proactive to assist the students….that’s why I mentioned earlier that I wish I had taken the course Library Marketing.

5 Responses to Thoughts from a Newly Minted Librarian

  1.   Linda

    ***On Professional Marketing and Library Instruction***

    Thank you, Mindy, for leading this conversation among us.

    I believe Outreach is the way to market library services and to promote our profession.

    I have been fortunate to work for a Manager who encourages my passion for teaching/instruction. I talk to requesters and team leaders/managers when I work on individual requests. I seek opportunities to deliver library information sessions and training to teams and groups. I actively join/participate other company activities to get to know more people, and let other people know me.

    Unfortunately, we are in a profession that is often undervalued and misunderstood. There are many patrons who do not know what we are capable of doing for them. By being bold and being confidant, we are promoting our professional image and we are reaching out to the clients at the same time. I do believe marketing and self-promotion are life-long commitments for our profession.

  2.   Linda

    ***Job Search***

    I am proud to say that I have my resume read/edited by at least three professional job placement officers and 5+ librarian managers/supervisors and seasoned librarians a few years ago.

    I certainly have benefited from the expertise of all these kind-hearted people. I also read many books on the job search topic. VPL has many excellent titles.

    –“Knock, and the door will open for you.”

  3.   Jing

    I enjoyed reading this posting. Thank you, Mindy for sharing your experience. One major reason behind so many offers to you is your deep and rational way of thinking. I admire you and hate to be super busy, for I don’t have time to think carefully and a clear mind. Now I understand what my students are going through! Meanwhile, I noticed what Linda commented about our profession, and will try to gather more ideas on how to promote our work among professors.

  4.   Heather

    Good job, Mindy! Thanks for sharing! And please accept my late congratulations!

  5.   Allan


    What excellent advice. Thanks for your confirmation about work experience and course work. I wish you all the best of luck in your new job!


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