Author Archive

underbooked (and overlooked!)

Indeed, theoverbookedlibrarian is underbooked. That is to say, I am currently without occupation.

After finishing my MLIS program at the beginning of the summer, I began a job search that has yet to produce a job. Okay I guess that isn’t entirely accurate, as I was hired as a social media consultant for a small business, but that’s it, and that was just for a single consultation.

(For future reference: Please disregard the below remarks once I actually have some work experience.)

It would seem as though the current job market is better suited to those with more…what’s the word…experience. I guess that will just about always be the case, but if you ask me, experience comes with too many strings attached. It is my contention that I would be a better hire than someone who’s been in the field for ________(enter amount of time here).

To begin with, someone who has years of experience will cost more to put on the payroll than I would. They may feel that they are worth more than the starting salary, but I certainly don’t! They may claim to have learned some tricks of the trade, but I say I’m untarnished and brand new. I have a very low price tag and come with some assembly required, but think about it…an organization gets to put me together however they want me! I am as moldable as a lump of clay.

Conversely, if an organization goes out and hires someone who has been working for a couple years, they may end up with either damaged goods or an overpriced product. An individual who has been working somewhere for a while will not only expect to get paid more than I do, they will likely bring at least some bad habits with them. They may feel that they know the best way to do something in particular, when in fact they just know how to do what they were taught at wherever their last gig was. I can be added to a team or organization that can then show me exactly how to do things that I don’t know.

And finally, while I’m still young and naive an idealist, M. Candidatewithyearsofexperience is probably at least somewhat jaded. If I learned anything from John Grisham (…yes, I admit to having read Grisham), it’s that you’re only wet behind the ears once. Generally it goes as follows: you finish school, look for a job, enter your chosen field, etc. One thing leads to another, and by the end of the book you’re fed up with working, probably stuck in the middle of some murder-for-hire/embezzlement/corporate wrongdoing scenario, and ready to get out. Of course by then, you’re also fabulously rich, own a boat, and are on your way to the Caymans, so you just leave. Anyway, I’m not there yet. I believe in stories. In sharing stories. In sharing information.

Nobody wants to hire someone who’s just trying to earn enough money to take off, buy a yacht, and stash their cash in off-shore bank accounts, right? That doesn’t benefit anyone. Instead, hire me right now! Low price, all new features, low usage, runs great…all in all a wonderful investment opportunity. Invest! Invest in me. Get me into a setting that needs some fresh blood…someone with a new perspective. Help me help you – give me a job and I will literally do your work for you! (Please give me a job, that is.)

Categories: Uncategorized

morning musings: Connecting to society before 7am.

News 2.0:

250 years ago, a person waking up early trying to get their news fix had a pretty limited number of options. Today, as in – the past 35  minutes, I’ve tuned in to 5 different all-news tv channels, 3 all-sports tv channels, used Google News to access sources and news outlets from every continent except Antarctica, read accounts of the coverage of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the deadly tornado(es) that are tearing through the Sun Belt, and communicated with my wife who is currently in Montreal. Of course, all this while eating a bowl of Shreddies.

Library management during times of economic economic duress.

Call for input:

As a topic for one of my last MLIS classes, I’m writing about the title of this post. If anyone reading this has a strategy for dealing with budget cuts, reductions in hours, hiring freezes, layoffs, etc, please share them!

I’d love to have some quotes from actual library managers who have dealt with/are dealing with economic hardship in the library…I’ll check the comment section for anybody with ideas to share.

P.S. Successful strategies are certainly more constructive, but just as valuable are failed strategies…there’s no use in ignoring the lessons learned by others, right? So ideas to avoid would also be welcome.


Busy of late – almost through SLAIS. Looking forward to not having papers.

In the meantime, the wife and I bought some Post Shreddies cereal. Since this is an blog about things informational, I’ll say that I wish I’d known how tastey Post Shreddies are. And, now that I do, I’m sharing that information.

If you’re into cereals that aren’t just bowls of sugar, get some Post Shreddies next time they’re on sale. A couple chopped pecans or sliced bananas on top equals perfection. Goes great in trail mix too, with some chocolate chips, nuts, and some dried fruit.

Thank you Shreddies, for helping me write term papers on independent libraries in Cuba, libraries in financial trouble, library support for raising multi-literate children, etc…

something to write about

Indeed, something about which to write has manifested itself…

The return flights from Florida were peppered with people wearing surgical masks, and made my wife and I wonder what the deal was. Only after we actually got back did we find out about the swine flu spreading north from Mexico into the US and Canada…this lack of awareness was self imposed – the week-long visit served as a hiatus from the internet & television. Anyway, this is related to something Google has been working on for a little while now. To say, “everyone knows about Google” is a fairly safe statement at this point. Technically untrue, of course, depending on the definition of ‘everyone,’ but for a moment, let’s assume a collective familiarity with both Google and the plethora of features Google has. One of these features is a flu tracker. I’m not sure if it’s technically a Web 2.0 tech or not, since keeping track of users’ search terms isn’t exactly collaborating…more like spying. In any event, the argument is now being presented that this could have been used in the earlier detection and suppression of the current swine flu outbreak. Currently classified as a ‘widespread human infection’ by the World Health Organization, I think that ‘everyone’ can agree that the sooner the number of infected people starts going down, rather than up, the better.

One question that comes from this is about Google’s responsibility to look for something like a budding pandemic. Employing the Spider-Man philosophy, Google should call the CDC and give them a heads up that everyone is becoming as sick as a pig. But isn’t that why we have the CDC anyway? To know that? Google’s problem is that they’ve been so successful with just about everything they do that now, people (me) tend to rely on and expect great things from them.

The beginning has ended

So, with the submission of this blog’s url to my professor, the first semester of my MLIS program has come to an end. Already I’ve gone on and returned from my first vacation of the summer, read a bunch of books, gotten a little burnt and a little tan. Now I’m back in Vancouver killing time till May, when the next courses start. To feel as though I’ve accomplished something, I figure a post here and there will do me good.

So…I’m sure I’ll think of something to write about.

Categories: Uncategorized

web 2.0 – lib 2.0

The topics that have been covered thus far in the blog (remember, if anyone new to blogs is reading this, ‘written first, read last’) have been but a few examples of ‘2.0’ technology. Collaboration, sharing, user participation and feedback are all components of Web 2.0 thinking. Applied to libraries, this thinking is intuitively referred to as Library 2.0.

As I mentioned at the end of the Virtual Reference post, the web has changed so much already in its lifespan, there is almost no way we can even guess at where it’ll be 10 years from now (or even less than that). Tim Berners-Lee will be one of the first to say that the web is nowhere near mature…Web 2.0, a big, big deal right now, will eventually be talked about in the past tense.

So what does that mean right now?

What does that mean for libraries and the people who work in them?

That question was asked 2 years ago (I’m sure it’s been asked many times, far more recently than that) on, but the answers weren’t particularly penetrating. Trying now to predict our own future will do us little good, with all of the advancement that we’re facing. If we could see where the web, and even our jobs, would be taking us, we wouldn’t know what to do with it.

What will likely be the most constructive course of action will be learning as much as possible from as many sources as possible. Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat draws on 10 Flatteners, of which five are technological. Though largely economic, his book draws the same conclusion about what is to be done…adaptation will the key.

Adapting to 2.0 technology has been the goal of the library for this first decade of the ‘new’ millennium. And for the most part, it has been working. Libraries are bringing automatic book-sorting machines to do what a library assistant use to do, but at the same time, librarians are expanding their roles at an unprecedented rate. In 1964, Ellinor G. Preston wrote the following:

The librarian, that is the person who has been trained in the evaluation, selection and organization primarily of books, has a greatly expanded role in a facility offering not only books, but a great variety of materials. He must then be ready to accept this new role and contribute his skills to the efficient organization of all materials.

It was clear then, to Ellinor G. Preston, that the future was murky at best. More preparatory than cautionary, the message is the same: adapt.  While the exact duties to come were unknown, the role would be distinct, and crucial.

As I look at libraries where I grew up and worked, I know that the future may be hard for them. Especially the library in my hometown…only a few thousand people in the combined towns that share the library, many of whom don’t support the library as it is. In the face of changing technology as well as a foundering economy, libraries have a tough row to hoe…a long book to write…a…

…a need for capable, and (once more for good measure) adaptable employees and patrons alike. Or else I just might change the name of this blog to the underbooked librarian.