From Both Sides Now Mentoring the next generation of librarians


For most librarians, their first year working in a library is the biggest learning experience of their career. I remember coming into my first library job so clueless about, well, everything and feeling a year later like a completely different person: a professional. But that time in between was filled with cringeworthy mistakes and a whole lot of anxiety.

At the same time, I felt like I had unlimited stores of passion, energy, and ideas that year. My colleagues took me seriously even though I was green, and some of those rookie ideas became services the library still offers, like chat reference. I frequently hear about new-to-the-profession librarians who are treated by their colleagues as if they need to “pay their dues” before they
and their ideas can be given consideration. I can’t imagine how quickly my passion for my work would have waned had my ideas been met with cynicism and dismissiveness.

This attitude is not only harmful to a new librarian’s morale, it also prevents the library from taking advantage of an opportunity to get a fresh perspective on what it does. There is a golden period when someone new to the library can see everything that might be strange, confusing, or problematic. In time, we all become accustomed to our surroundings, and those problems become the barely visible flotsam and jetsam of our everyday work. We should make the most of that magical newcomer vision. I always make a point of asking new colleagues to keep track of problems they see because those fresh insights can push us out of our comfort zones and create positive change for our patrons. We want to encourage these audacious ideas, even if they’re not all feasible. Read more…


What Went Right: A Case Study of a Successful Hiring (Part 1) by Ellen Mehling, Career Development Consultant, METRO

Ellen MehlingEllen Mehling: Where did you go to school? What degrees and/or certificates do you hold?

Krissa Corbett Cavouras: I attended Sarah Lawrence for my undergraduate degree and earned my masters from Pratt School of Information and Library Science (SILS) in 2011.
EM: Were you employed elsewhere when you applied for this job? For how long had you been job hunting?

KCC: I was working for a small e-commerce company, as a knowledge manager on their marketing team, for two years prior to starting at Brooklyn Public Library. I had probably been actively looking for about three months when I had my first interview here.
EM: How did you learn about the position? Did you have any connections via your network to that workplace?

KCC: I heard about the position on a couple of fronts — first, because I’ve had Brooklyn Public Library’s job page bookmarked for years, ever since I graduated from library school! Second, my manager Robin and I have several mutual friends from our early days as bloggers, so I saw the job shared around that mutual circle on Facebook. (I do think that’s how I knew it was in serious recruitment, because sometimes you don’t know from a website job posting if it’s a really open position.) I also have several library school colleagues who now work in the system, although I don’t think I saw this specific posting on my library school listserv.

Question for Retired or Near-Retirement Professionals: What Advice Would you Give your Earlier Self? ​


Actually, this is not a terribly difficult question to answer, as I believe I often speak to my earlier self each time that I speak with a mentee. I advise library students to immerse themselves in the profession from day one Learn to think like an information specialist, walk the talk. Taking courses and attending conferences is only part of the larger equation. To become a librarian or information professional means to adopt the mindset of a professional.

Study best practices, adopt them early. Learn to take initiative based on sound fact-finding, informational interviews, case studies and networking. Adopt educational technology and promote its use. Learn a bit of coding.

As a female librarian, I would say that one should expect as much from oneself as one would from a man. Learn to manage up as well as across and down. Remember that professional development and continuing education is as much your own responsibility as that of your employer, if even more. It is to invest in yourself. Hold yourself accountable for troubleshooting and fact-finding without continually asking others for assistance.

If you are an academic librarian, do not confine yourself to the world of information science. Read and participate in events and professional organizations that interface with the library and staff. Read about trends in higher education, in publishing, in technology. Learn as much as you can about your users, those stakeholders who have an impact on your service and who will benefit from honest dialog about your profession and the services librarians provide.

Becoming a professional is not limited to a 9 to 5 timeslot. In the 21st century, it is an evolving process that is often attended to best beyond the confines of one’s employment. For one who is passionate about the profession, the pursuit for excellence will provide camaraderie, intellectual stimulation and immense personal satisfaction. It will allow you to not only grow spiritually but widen your opportunities for future employment as well as bolster your self-esteem and self-image.

– Stephanie Gross, Electronic Reserves Librarian, Yeshiva University

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Library and Information Science Business Cards | INALJ


Library and Information Science Business Cards

. . . . by Courtney Baron, Head Editor, INALJ Georgia

Library and Information Science Business Cards

courtneybaronI’m planning to go to my first conference this fall and I’d like to print business cards for the occasion. Many employers provide business cards for their employees, but if you are a library student like me or you do not currently have a library job, it’s a good idea to design and print your own. You definitely want your business cards to stick out without distracting potential employers and contacts from your important information. There are some amazing and creative ideas out there for library and information science business cards. I really like tailoring your card’s design to your specific LIS branch. Here are my favorites!


LIS Business Cards 4Stamp. Have a stamp made with your information and perhaps a fun image for the reverse side and hand stamp your cards. You can order custom stamps on Etsy or go to your local print shop. You can buy cardstock and have the business cards professionally cut or buy pre-made cards. The simple presentation is elegant and the stamp gives the card a homemade feel that’s very appropriate for our profession!    (Image courtesy of Joseph Hopkins. Stamp from Bel Jean Copy & Print Center in Athens, GA)


LIS Business Cards 1QR code. I know QR codes don’t always get a lot of love in the library world, but one of my classmates decided to put a QR code link to his online portfolio on his business card and I thought it was an excellent idea. Especially appropriate for a tech savvy librarian!   (Image found at and printed by Moo @ Read more…


Yes, Virginia, it matters which library school you go to | Gavia Libraria

Yes, Virginia, it matters which library school you go to

The other day the Loon read a short article about applying to library jobs that scoffed at applicants who try to trade on the supposed prestige of their library school. Those library schools, they’re all the same; it doesn’t matter which one you went to, because no one you’re talking to will care.

Well. Yes. And also no. Read more…