This morning started off like any typical Tuesday for me. I got up, did a few household chores, and then settled in to check my email and read my blogs. I was just about through when I noticed a new post had come in within the last few minutes. I clicked it and almost fell out of my chair. There on the ACRLog, the blog run by the Association of College and Research Libraries, was yours truly. Before I go any further why don’t you hop on over and read the post for yourself.
You done? Good.
Oh, by the way, if you wondered hear via ACRLog, welcome! I’m so glad you took a few minutes to visit my humble blog. If you would like to know how I became an unemployed librarian, you can read that here.
I commented a few weeks ago on an ACRLog post about things that we might like to read about in the future. I expressed my interest in reading about job hunting tips from academic librarians who have been in the same place I am now (unemployed ) and more information/real-life stories on what it is like to be an academic librarian right now. I never dreamed that this would spark StevenB to write a whole post about my blog. (I’m still trying to get my breath here, so bear with me.) I would like to say thanks to Steven for thinking that what I had to say was relevant and worth writing about and I wanted to use this opportunity to address some the points brought up in the post.
- The name of my blog. I came up with the name of my blog because I am an unemployed librarian. The name of my blog does not define what this blog is all about. This blog is not just about being a librarian or being unemployed. This blog is an assemblage of lots of things I’m interested, like frugality, menu-planning, budgeting, and getting my food waste under control just to name a few. I do try to write things about librarianship or issues in the library world at least once a week, but this blog isn’t, and never will be, totally about librarianship. All of this said, however, I understand where Steven is coming from. If I’m going to title my blog The Adventures of an Unemployed Librarian, I should expect people to think it’s mostly about librarianship (or being unemployed). I realize that if I put this blog on my resume (which I do) or in emails to potential employers (which I also do), they may not be as impressed to see such a limited number of posts on my field. Therefore, I do think that I need to devote more time (maybe another post a week?) to something dealing with books, libraries, or librarians. I don’t plan on changing the title of this blog until I get a job because it obviously is eye-catching enough to spark this post, plus I like it.
- Gaining Library Experience. Having job experience is a huge part of getting a permanent full-time job, especially in the library world where many skills just cannot be taught in the classroom. I do have some experience; I completed a semester-long internship at the science and engineering library on my school’s campus and I worked part-time for a year at a communications library. I learned some wonderful things in these two jobs, but unfortunately, they were student positions, which to some employers, doesn’t equal real library experience. Right now I work two to three days a week as a library assistant in a medical library at a local hospital. The library is moving and I was hired on to assist with the weeding, reorganization, and eventual moving of the library. It isn’t great, but it’s something. The woman who hired me is an excellent contact, so I’m hoping that will help me out in the long run.
- Making contacts/networking. I’m terrible at this. Absolutely terrible. I meet lots of people, but fail to follow up or if I do, it’s only one or two emails. It’s something I really need to work on. My mother, always trying to be helpful, has provided me with a number of contacts locally and mostly I haven’t done anything about it. This needs to change. It just took someone else to say it (or blog about it). Even if it doesn’t lead to a job, it’s still good to have people that know you and are willing to talk to you. This leads right into number four…
- Meeting with other academic librarians. Like I said, I’m really great about meeting people and then not doing anything about it. I think this is because I feel awkward asking people for help or advice, so I just avoid this situation. I’ve been unemployed for three months, so even I can see that I can’t really make my situation any worse just by talking to people.
I’m going to my state’s library conference next month as a volunteer and I plan to go armed with business cards and goals for meeting people. Again, it may not lead to a job, but it will probably make me feel better. I also know a few of the younger librarians at UA (where I went to library school) who would be willing to go to lunch or grab some coffee if I asked. I just have to put forth the effort and do it. Which is the hard part. Sigh.