As mentioned in a previous post, I’m coming towards the end of the taught part of my librarianship course. I am going away (to Orlando!) a week today and my aim was to complete the Diploma before we go. I’m pleased to say I have achieved my aim (although I haven’t received confirmation that my assignment has been received yet which is a little worrying, hopefully it will have arrived today). I’m still waiting for results for three of my assignments but as long as I pass them I will have completed the Diploma.

I still have my dissertation to do to complete the Masters but I’m thinking of taking a study break to start thinking about what I’d really like to research. I imagine it will be something to do with new technologies in academic libraries, but I’d quite like to spend some time settling into my new job (which I start when I get back from holiday :)) before starting my dissertation and then hopefully I can do something which will be of value to my work.

During this time I’d also like to learn more about Photoshop (I’ve always wanted to learn Photoshop and still not got round to it so have borrowed Photoshop CS3: Classroom in a Book from the library which I’m hoping to work through when I get back from holiday. I’d like to do more work on the web too and am hoping to do a bit more playing around with Dreamweaver and maybe have a look at Drupal and Joomla as well as using WordPress as a content management system. There’s loads of work-related projects which I’d like to do and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get involved in more when I start the new job so I think there’ll be enough to keep me busy!

I just hope I am able to find something to write my dissertation on that I’m really passionate about, is related to my work in some way, has value to the profession, and that someone is willing to supervise! I’m off to Internet Librarian International 2008 tomorrow so maybe I’ll get some inspiration there, I’m particularly looking forward to the sessions on the 23 Things scheme on Track B, I’d love to do a project based on 23 Things at work.

Well, the time has finally come – on Monday I had an interview for a professional librarian post and I was successful!

I’m also coming very close to completion of my Diploma (I’m going away at the end of this month and my aim is to complete my final assignment before I go) so hopefully soon I’ll be able to say with pride that I am a qualified librarian.

I’m so excited about starting a professional post, I can’t wait to be able to work more closely with academic schools to help support the students and further develop our services. I’m moving campuses but staying within the same organisation so I’ll still be able to continue work on my technology related projects. It’s a campus I hadn’t even been to before but it had a great atmosphere and I’m really looking forward to working there.

I also have some other exciting news – I’ve written a guest blog post for UK Web Focus about Library 2.0 Initiatives and Barriers which has been published on the blog today; please feel free to comment as I’ll be keeping an eye on the comments on there too. I have also contributed to a conference paper titled Library 2.0: Balancing the Risks and Benefits to Maximise the Dividends which will be presented by Brian Kelly at the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference later this month.

Everything is beginning to fall into place, I’m really enjoying the work that I’m doing and I’m glad that I’ll be able to further progress in my new post. I’m also really enjoying the blogging and am hoping to do more conference work too. It’s an exciting time to be a librarian and I’m really glad I decided to choose this career path.

Despite starting this blog thinking that I would use it to discuss things I have been studying as part of my MSc in Information and Library Studies, I’ve hardly really mentioned it at all.

This may be due to the fact that although I have enjoyed some of the modules, my main passion is for emerging technologies and how they can help academic libraries, and this is the sort of stuff I choose to do in my spare time so I dedicate more of that to the blog. However, I thought it was about time I shared some views on my studying progress.

My speed of progress throughout the course has varied massively, mainly depending on circumstances at home and work. I’ve had slower periods where I’ve struggled to find time (or motivation!) to study, and other periods where I’ve been really racing through. The flexible nature of the course has definitely suited me in that respect, although it does still seem strange that I can set my own deadlines and move them the day before if I realise I’m not going to meet them! At the moment I seem to be getting a lot more motivated – I’ve settled into a routine of working through the modules on the bus to and from work each day, and concentrating on assignments when I’m at home on the PC. I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s very exciting.

My previous blog post about what makes a librarian a librarian (and the discussion that continued) made me reflect on where I currently am in my course and what I still need to do before I can become a fully fledged qualified librarian. In terms of course credits (this may sound incredibly complicated but bear with me!), I’ve currently completed and had my grades agreed on 70 credits. I’ve almost completed the assignments for another 20 credits, and am about half way through the reading for the next 10 credit module so I should be able to start that assignment once I’ve finished the ones I’m working on now. I’m hoping that in the next couple of months I should therefore have completed 100 credits, which only leaves me 20 to complete my Diploma. I can exit after the Diploma if I like, and I am classed as a qualified information professional. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to continue as I want to complete the dissertation and gain the full MSc, but it does mean that I can start looking for qualified jobs whilst working on my dissertation.

It may sound like a way off still, but I’m really hopeful now that I can complete the Diploma by Christmas this year, if not before. I’m really starting to look forward to looking for qualified jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job – but it would be great to get more involved in providing information skills training and working closely with academic schools (if I decide to stay within academic librarianship). I’m now starting to wonder where exactly I would like to work and what sort of job would make best use of my skills. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping students, whether on the enquiry desk or in information skills sessions. Although I love the techy side of things, I don’t think I’d like a job where all I do is office based work and I don’t get any contact time with users. There are some great new jobs coming into the field which I think would suit me well – being involved in project work to further advance training and support materials for users. These sort of jobs involve working with new technologies, whilst still keeping contact with users to find out what sort of things they want as part of the research, and showing them what has been developed and how they can use it on completion of the project. Most academic librarians get chance to do this sort of work anyway, but it’s difficult to fit everything in and these sort of things often take a long time to implement due to other commitments such as meetings, enquiry desk duties, student appointments, information skills sessions, etc etc.

I’ll have to see when the time comes what sort of jobs are available, I just hope there’s something out there for me.

There have recently been some very interesting posts about the difference between librarians who hold a qualification (mainly the American MLS as discussions have been primarily from those across the pond) and those who don’t have a qualification. There seems to be ambiguity about the term librarian and when it should be used, something which causes me no end of confusion as a not yet qualified “librarian”.

It all started with a post by someone who felt that the Library Journals Mover and Shakers should only include qualified librarians:

… why are non-librarians getting these acknowledgements? I’m very much for non-librarians bringing their expertise and excellence to libraries; but shouldn’t there be a clear distinction between the work that we do and the work of non-librarians.

Personally, I don’t agree with this view – to me a Mover and Shaker is someone who has had an innovative idea or put into practice something that has made a drastic difference to either their own library or the library world in general, regardless of who they are. This year, Tim Spalding from LibraryThing was named a Mover and Shaker which I think is great – he may not be an information professional but he’s made a massive difference to libraries and fully deserves the recognition.

I believe the original commenter feels that whilst non-information professionals do deserve recognition for their efforts/achievements, Mover and Shakers should only be qualified “librarians”, whilst others should be represented in a different category. Why? Why should only qualified librarians be able to become a Mover and Shaker? Why does a period of study at a library school mean you deserve greater recognition?

I guess maybe I hold this view because I’m not yet a qualified librarian, but to be honest I think I would feel the same even if I was qualified. You see, despite being a typical “academic” type, I really don’t think qualifications mean as much as experience in the real world. OK, so without my Undergraduate degree I couldn’t have got my first library job and until I complete my Masters I won’t be able to progress to the next level, but aside from the letters after my name I don’t feel I’ve gained many relevant skills from them. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the courses and I have found out some interesting things, but almost all the skills and knowledge I use and will continue to use as a “librarian” have been learnt through experiencing them in the workplace. Yet I can’t be called a librarian until I’ve got the qualification, which isn’t so bad for me but really sucks for those who’ve worked in the field for numerous years and for whatever reason have not taken their qualification. Also taken from the original post:

Those without the MLIS do not have the requisite training or ‘right’ to call themselves librarians

This makes me quite sad to be honest. I guess strictly speaking, my blog shouldn’t really be called Joeyanne Libraryanne as I’m not qualified yet and haven’t earned the right to call myself a librarian. It seems to only be in the profession that there is this distinction. Our users tend to refer to anyone who works in a library as a librarian, and why not, it makes logical sense! However, as a recent post by Pegasus Librarian shows, even users are now getting confused about whether or not they can call us librarians due to bad experiences from library staff correcting them. Whenever I meet people at conferences and events I always feel really awkward when they ask what I do, I don’t want to offend anyone so I try to avoid using the L word but without it it’s very difficult to describe what I do.

The ironic thing is, despite certain librarians being fussy about making sure non-librarians are not thought of as “real” librarians (yes sadly this is true but fortunately not from personal experience), in my experience most of the UK general public think of a librarian as someone who stamps books and shelves them, whereas in the library world they would probably more commonly be known as a library assistant.

I’m pleased that CILIP seem to have recognised that experience is just as valuable as academic qualifications with their route straight to Chartership, and I just hope that maybe in the future other members of the profession will recognise this too.

Now, anyone have any suggestions for a different job title that could be used universally to eliminate these difficulties and also shake the librarian stereotype people have? I’m all for killing two birds with one stone!

It really doesn’t seem very long at all since we were all stressing about the Millennium bug! Thought I’d write a quick post to wish everyone a Happy New Year and think forward to 2008. I’m not really one for specific resolutions but I do like to try to think about my main aims in life and how I’m going to get there.

By then end of 2008 I hope to have completed my Diploma in Information and Library Studies and become that all important “qualified information professional” – better get back to the studying really as I’ve done none over the Christmas period! I’ll hopefully be working on my dissertation this time next year if all goes well.

I’m also quite excited about the next year at work, I’m getting involved in more project based work and really hope to help improve our service by using some more up-to-date tools. We’ll hopefully be improving our OPAC, and I’ll be working on our presence in FaceBook. I think our department in particularly needs to really up the marketing this year, we have some great services that our users (both students and staff) just aren’t aware of which is a shame.

I’m sure I’ll continue blogging throughout 2008, so we’ll have to see where I’m at this time next year and whether or not I’ve achieved what I wanted to!

I’ve just returned from an interesting week at my second study school in Aberystwyth.

As usual, it gave me a lot to think about in terms of librarianship – through both lectures as well as chatting with others on the course.

Just a quick blog post for now as I have a lot to catch up both in study and work (I’ve been off work for over 2 weeks and need to get ready for the influx of new students on Monday!), but something which really interested (and surprised) me was the lack of Web 2.0 chat. As an example, in my cohort (there were around 35 of us at our second study school) I was the only person with a blog, and less than 10 people had Facebook profiles. I think others were encouraged to join Facebook by the end of the week (partly to keep in contact with fellow distance learners on a more informal level), but I had expected numbers to be far higher.

I’m not sure if the fact that some students were from countries outside UK and USA makes a difference, or if it varies in different sectors (quite a few of my cohort are from public libraries with a stronger emphasis on books and reading groups rather than using new technologies), or whether it’s just a case of different personalities and interests. Maybe my views are just skewed because I find it so interesting and read many other librarians blogs who share my interest!