Credentials & Academic Librarian Positions

Hi, everyone–

Hey, look, it’s a library posting that has absolutely nothing to do with covid-19! That’s a novelty today. 🙂

While you’re home working or studying, this could be a great time to step back and think about your professional goals for the future. And on that note, I wanted to share a post that I wrote for ACRLog. It follows up on a number of questions that listeners shared during my Nov. 12, 2019 ACRL webinar. The post discusses credentials for academic librarians: what’s expected and how to show the credentials that you have in the very best light. The full post is here:

https://acrlog.org/2020/03/03/credentials-credentials-demonstrating-your-potential-value-in-academic-libraries/

Please share your thoughts: I’d be happy to talk about additional questions that you have. Best of luck to you!

Digital Pedagogy Lab 2020

Hi, friends–

In July 2020, I will teach a 20-hour course titled “Information Literacy” for the Digital Pedagogy Lab. Exciting! The Information Literacy course focuses on supporting diverse student populations in higher education through creative, thoughtful integration of information literacy in the curriculum. See the full course description on the Digital Pedagogy Lab’s site. Please feel free to contact me for more information.

Many more details & excited thoughts to come.

Making Yourself Marketable for Academic Librarian Positions (slides included!)

Hello, everyone–

Thanks to all of you who attended the ACRL Membership Committee webcast that I presented this afternoon, “Making Yourself Marketable for Academic Librarian Positions.” If you’re interested, please feel free to download the presentation slides. makingyourselfmarketable

You’re also welcome to download the full text of the original book chapter, “Making Yourself Marketable for Academic Librarian Positions.” Thanks again, ACRL, for that Creative Commons license.

Our hosts at ACRL tell me that about 175 people participated in the webcast. Even better, they tell me that many participants were pointing each other toward solutions, options, and resources. (I have yet to see the full transcript from the “chat box” — I had minimized it during the presentation & am waiting for ACRL to download it for me. Once I have it, I will go through the transcript line by line as promised.)

We talked through some challenging issues during the webcast! I’m glad to hear that a number of you gathered useful advice from it. I also gathered that plenty of participants were feeling frustrated with the job search — and understandably so!

Here’s a plan for what I’m going to work on in terms of further information:

  • Tomorrow, I’ll start by sharing selected resources on interviewing and salary negotiation.

After that, I’ll begin responding to themes among the questions & comments. Some that our ACRL colleagues Rachel and Ed noted from the chat box were:

  • Building relationships with your professors and classmates when you’re in an online MLS program
  • Planning your work experiences when you’re in an online MLS program
  • Moving from public to academic libraries
  • Starting out as an information literacy instructor if you haven’t had experience teaching in an academic library
  • Using online teaching materials that you’ve created to highlight your teaching skills & potential
  • Planning your transition from paraprofessional to librarian positions in academic libraries

Lots to work with! Please feel free to continue to get in touch with thoughts and questions. Thanks to everyone who tuned in. Come on back to this site throughout the week to keep joining in the conversation.

As always, I wish you the best in your job search!

Moving to the Online Arena

I always knew that I’d eventually return to the original subject of this blog–how we can apply research & literature from the field of education in academic libraries. And here we are!

My colleague Lorrie and I will be presenting at the LILAC 2019 conference in Nottingham, UK–and we’re pretty darn psyched, by the way. One of our two workshops will be on a subject that is dear to our professional hearts & central to our work: modifying the techniques that we use for “in-person” information literacy instruction sessions for online courses. In other words, that music professor who we’ve taught for in person for five years gets her first online section of Music Appreciation, and we work together to determine how best to embed information literacy skills in the course. Good stuff.

By good fortune (and general interest in the subject), I took a course from CU Online titled Online Skills Mastery last summer. Concepts in the course are based partially on Aaron Johnson’s Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies for a Successful Semester Online. (You can also learn more though Aaron’s Excellent Online Teaching site.) Online Skills Mastery helps faculty plan how they will teach superior-quality online courses. Even though I did not have any credit-bearing courses in the works at the time, I found the course very valuable. Full disclosure, just like many colleagues in our field, I had a difficult time adapting the lessons from the course for a while. Same set of problems/excuses–I would use all of this if [I had the students for the whole semester…if I knew the students better…if I actually had a syllabus and assignments…et cetera, et cetera, et cetera].

Then I actually listened to my own advice and said, this is valuable stuff! How can I adapt it to my own teaching landscape? Without further ado, here are several lessons from Excellent Online Teaching that have helped to strengthen my own online library instruction.

Embed your personality. This was a revelation for me! I bring a lot of personality to in-person instruction. But in the past, my online instruction sessions & tools for asynchronous teaching focused on the message and almost purposefully separated out any hints of personality. Now I’ve learned to put a myself into online instruction (sparingly, though) through the examples I choose & the narratives I use to present them, through the ways in which I introduce myself & converse with the students (synchronously or asynchronously), and through even simpler techniques like making sure that students see a photo or video showing me. After all, we often say in academic libraries, make sure that the students know that there’s a real person there to help them.

Communicate regularly (and do it well). Aaron’s best practices for communicating regularly provided a couple of eureka moments for me. (These points come from Chapter 4 of Excellent Teaching Online; learn much more there.) I can easily modify them for courses with which I have a semester-long relationship. I can also use them as inspiration for the ways I follow up with students from one-shot sessions. The most insightful points for me were [paraphrased]:

  • Each message should help students find a starting point with some part of their work. Thinking about the questions that students send my way, this makes a lot of sense.
  • Explain why the instructions you’re giving the students matter.
  • Make expectations clear. Be specific about what we’re looking for, or what a successful application of skills will look like.
  • And, of course, encourage students. This may be easy or difficult for you as an individual teacher. I believe that a little extra encouragement is something powerful that we librarians can provide–a supportive “ally” relationship.

It’s well worth finding a copy of Aaron’s book and/or checking out his website. These and other principles can easily be modified for your information literacy instruction.

Please let me know how these are working for you–or if there are other principles of good online teaching that you’ve adapted for online environments.

 

Reference

Johnson, A. (2013). Excellent online teaching: Effective strategies for a successful semester online. Amazon Digital Services.