This past Thursday, November 3, our ALA Student Chapter facilitated a library career panel of five librarians from different areas: public, academic, special, music, and digital librarianship. The panelists were Dale Cousins (Wake County Public Libraries), Renee’ McBride (UNC-CH Libraries), Tamika Barnes (EPA Library @ RTP, NC), Laura Williams (Music Library, Duke University Libraries), and Lisa Gregory (Digital Projects Liaison, State Library of North Carolina). They shared so much wonderful advice that I felt so inspired after it was over!!
Here are some of the things I took away from our library career panel:
1) Get experience in libraries before finishing library school, whether it’s work, volunteering, or an internship or field experience. Take advantage of as many opportunities for library experience as you can.
2) Get involved in professional organizations like ALA and the North Carolina Library
Association, and attend conferences and workshops. Network, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to other librarians. By and large, librarians are a very friendly bunch, and are willing to help library students. If someone at a conference gives a presentation you’re interested in, go up and introduce yourself afterward and compliment him or her on the presentation! You’ll make the presenter feel good, and you never know where the conversation will lead.
3) Think about your interests and personality when deciding what kind of librarianship to go for. There are places for extroverts, introverts, and everything in between. Also, you may be able to combine librarianship with one of your passions, like music or genealogy.
4) Sharpen your public speaking skills. Along the same line, learn to be an advocate and collaborator.
5) Update your resume, and keep it up-to-date. When applying for library jobs, tailor your resume and cover letter to the job description, but keep it honest! Some people in hiring positions concentrate on the resume, and others really look at the cover letter, so do a bang-up job on both. It takes more work, but is worth it. Also, keep your resume, presentations, and other things that can help advance your career on an away-from-work location, like your home computer, or something like Google Docs or DropBox.
6) Learn HTML.
I thoroughly enjoyed each librarian’s talk, and wish I could’ve taken them all out to dinner afterward to continue the conversation!
The rest of my photos from the NCCU SLIS Career Panel are here.