I’m at Library Camp Adelaide and I just gave this presentation.

Looking forward to a great day!

Twitter: #libcampadel I am tweeting from @naomidoessel

Posted in Conferences, librarians, PLN, professional development | 2 Comments

Can Australian librarians work in the States?

For Aussies who are California dreamin’ or find themselves in a New York state of mind on a regular basis, the loophole visa (otherwise known as the E-3) allows tertiary educated Australians in a specialty position to migrate without the pesky card of green.*

So you have an ALIA recognised LIS qualification. Can you apply for a librarian position in the States and take your family with you legally? The answer is yes, with some provisos:

  • You can take your family, but if you’re not married to your partner you’ll be working AND taking care of the kids. The USA does not consider de facto or same-sex relationships to exist for immigration purposes. (Don’t shoot the messenger folks!)
  • While the ALA page on evaluating foreign credentials states that courses accredited by ALIA are acceptable, the qualifying degree in the US is a Masters of Library Science (MLS), not a Graduate Diploma or Bachelors, so you may have trouble finding work without the Masters.

Librarianship seems to fit the “specialty occupation” quite clearly to me, as we :

  • have a theoretical and practical application of a body of specialised knowledge (although when working in the States you will have to replace the letter S with the dreaded Z when saying you are specialised and that you work within an organisation)
  • require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree for entry into the profession in the States AND that specific degree is required for jobs within our profession
  • are rated on O*Net online as super-awesome** with an SVP range of 8***

As I have been told by my friends, family, workmates and even random people on the streets that I quite clearly need to CHILLAX and stop doing so much extra-curricular work, I won’t be going back to finish my Masters in second semester. It would be kinda weird to guest lecture into the course I’d be taking too, so it’s probably a good idea to wait until Summer semester to rejoin the academic rank and file. But once I do get that Masters I’ll be seriously considering my international options. Although I did really like living in Canada…

* It may be argued that the E-3 is the only good thing to come out of the 2005 Bush-Howard <a href=”http://www.dfat.gov.au/fta/ausfta/index.html”>FTA</a&gt; which has played havoc with our copyright laws.

**not an actual O*Net rating, but check out that list of skills! Next time I’m asked what it takes to be a librarian or told that I “really must love reading” I’m going to reply with “Yes I do love reading but I also love cargo trucks, I am highly skilled at inductive reasoning and I am firmly located within Job Zone Five: that is, it has taken extensive preparation to be this awesome.”

** *I have no idea what that is but it’s going on my business cards.

Posted in #blogjune, librarians, work | 4 Comments

I care about your professional development

I care about your professional development. Passionately. I can’t really tell you why I care, but the simple fact is that I do.

I want you to continue to learn about our profession after you have submitted your last assignment. I want you to be engaged. I want you to take every opportunity available to grow and learn as a librarian. I want you to help to shape the future of the information landscape. I want you to care about your professional development.

Consider the example of Student X. Over the last couple of weeks Student X has spent some time with me at MPOW. I’m really fortunate that I have a supportive manager, passionate colleagues and a relatively open schedule (when it’s not the beginning of semester) so that I could take the opportunity to create a program, project and schedule for Student X.

Student X could consider himself lucky that he went to a QUT Information Professionals Alumni event. He could think it was luck that he introduced himself to the group I was standing with. Again, it could be considered lucky that I gave him my card when he said he was having trouble finding a second fieldwork placement and I invited him to email me with the details to see what I could do. He could consider himself lucky. OR he could be a great example of how professional development, even when still a student, can open doors that you otherwise wouldn’t know existed.

Student X wasn’t lucky. It was his enthusiasm, intelligence (I flat out asked his GPA) and passion for the profession that led him to the Alumni event (even though it was the third time he saw the international speaker that week) and therefore into a fieldwork placement. As well as now being in touch with a major international thinker on information literacy (props!) Student X got the opportunity through his fieldwork placement at MPOW to:

  • see a range of aspects to working in an academic library including multiple campuses, divisions and areas of librarianship
  • work independently on a project report in the area of information literacy that he then presented to a library committee and also serves as an example for his portfolio
  • gain an outstanding fieldwork review, and more importantly, a professional reference
  • build a relationship with someone who cares about his professional development who will happily pass on job seeking tips and recommend him for work if any should come up. (For these favours Student X must only put up with being called a Baby Librarian.)
In the end, it didn’t matter how much I cared about Student X’s professional development. All that really mattered is that he does. And it’s the same for anyone else. I care about your professional development. But I can’t help you if you don’t care. And if you do care and want some help, support, or just someone to chat to, you know where I am.
Posted in #blogjune, new graduates, professional development | 4 Comments

23 Things for Professional Development

My mind has been buzzing with ideas as I have been lucky over the last few days to be gaining rich professional development opportunities. I will be trying to catch the ideas and distil them over the next few days for individual blog posts where appropriate, but here is a short list:

  • corresponding with American librarian Lorna, of The Lorna Initiative from my last post about the importance of professional involvement – many ideas that have been percolating for over a year are simmering, ready for a cooking-metaphor laden post in days to come 😉
  • emailing with various ALA NMRT members trying to track down the right person to speak to about attending ALA Annual next year and continuing my research into conference mentoring, and potentially sharing what I have found in my research here – this interaction has helped me to realise the potential for international collaboration and parallel research initiatives, and reaffirmed for me how lovely librarians are!
  • an incredible Blended Learning Community of Practice at MPOW this morning that included an excellent presentation on digital literacies from a Dean of Learning & Teaching and the 2008 Education Teacher Educator of the Year which answered many questions and provoked many more
  • a summary at the same event of the highlights from CCA Educause which reaffirmed what I have been thinking about the need for us to move more into effective blended learning and “just in time” for information literacy, ICT and academic skills instruction at MPOW
  • a fruitful (and exhausting!) meeting to discuss the redevelopment of our online information literacy tutorial where we discussed the pros (not many cons) of integrating our information literacy and academic literacy products together, and debated with our designers how best to create an effective, leading-edge product.

And finally, (another!) post to the NMRT list on a free program of professional development called 23 Things for Professional Development @cpd23 #cpd23. Looking at the list of programs, I already can and do play with a lot of those technologies, but am signing up to see what I can gain from it, and encourage you to too!

It is part of my professional development plan, however, to ensure that I don’t burn out. Therefore I am going to put a lid on the ideas for further research and I the 8 degrees I want sign up for, and go home to some non-professional time.

See you tomorrow!

Posted in #blogjune, information literacy, new graduates, professional development | 1 Comment

Putting your money where you want to be

An interesting post on the NMRT-L elist today from an established professional in the American Library Association titled “A perspective on conference attendance and support”. In the email the author points out that never have librarians been fully funded to attend conferences, that there is no “good old days” when professional development was not at least partly the responsibility of the professional, and generally the entire responsibility of a new graduate. Lorna writes:

My first ALA in 1982 after working as a librarian for 2 years, was in Philadelphia where I stayed in a dorm, took a super cheap flight from Columbus to Philadelphia, and had most of my meals at a 7-11 across the street. But the experience of ALA– the speakers, the programs, exhibits, meeting other colleagues, was worth the money. And so it has been for these almost 30 years of regular ALA attendance. And trust me, a great portion has come out of my pocket and not because I am rich.

I wrote to Lorna asking her if I could include portions of her email in a paper I am writing about conference attendance in the LIS profession. She replied in the affirmative, saying that she was stunned at the reaction her email has gotten, which “was written off the top
of my head in response to some deliberations by an ALA committee I chair…  When comments came in about the cost, I felt they were missing the point. It has always been expensive and the majority of us just ate the costs.

I have been thinking about the issue of the cost of conference attendance, especially in regards to the registration costs for #NLS5 that were released on Friday. I was surprised by the increase in cost since I attended NLS4 in Melbourne 2008. With the satellite day events, registration (member earlybird), library tours and the conference dinner, it’s more than double what I paid in 2008. Then there’s the flights to Perth and accommodation – a struggle for those of us on the east coast, though I’m really glad that the west is getting a national conference in their turf 🙂

I can afford it because I’m speaking so work is partly sponsoring me, I have a study grant that I am using to help me with conference attendance related to my research, and I am working full time in a non-graduate position. I am also able to take the opportunity to have a holiday afterwards. However I am wondering how students and more recent graduates are going to afford to go to what is bound to be an amazing event, and get the time off work.

I’ve been doing content analysis on the responses to my surveys last year on conference attendance, and it’s clear that cost is a major issue for new graduates in choosing to attend conferences. Now this is not surprising, but I think it’s worth remembering that it’s not new.

Another quote from Lorna as she says it better than I can: “(W)e used to call going to
conferences “buying our raise” — professional involvement might be rewarded when raise time came around but support to go to the conferences was minimal to none. The money I have spent on conferences and professional development– completely worth it!”

So if you’re still contemplating whether it’s worth shelling out the money to get to Perth for a truly unique and fantastic experience that we as Australian librarians have access to, consider taking what I am dubbing The Lorna Initiative. Buy your raise, or your promotion, or your next job. Or buy your first librarian job by attending – there will be employers there on Friday at Satellite Workshop 3 talking about graduate programs and cadetship opportunities.

I hope to see you there!

Posted in #blogjune, Conferences, new graduates | 5 Comments

Spamming for a good cause

What on earth? I hear you say.

How is that possible?

But… but… spam is EVIL!

Yes, I know. Unfortunately, I have been reduced to spamming. Although is it spamming if you’re after specific information and are not trying to sell something? And if you send the same email but personalise it with the individual’s name 13 times?

I have just emailed 13 separate individuals of the ALA NMRT because I have previously had no luck in getting information about:

a) the conference mentoring program I based my pilot project on

b) applying to present at ALA NMRT about my pilot project or even

c) just to talk to someone about the whole thing!

My Mum accused me of not trying hard enough. She refused to believe that NO-ONE had responded to my emails. Well, she’s right, one person did. And they were lovely about it, saying they basically had no idea and couldn’t help me.

So this time I have emailed half of the ALA NMRT committee (all of those I thought could perhaps be vaguely the right person/people) and hopefully will get a positive response from someone.

Either way, I’m going to ALA in 2012!

Posted in #blogjune, Conferences, new graduates, Research | 2 Comments

Where does the professional end and the personal begin?

I received an email from a close friend of mine last night. She had seen the link to my first #blogjune post via Facebook or Twitter and rather than commenting publicly she wrote me an email. She notes

your personal interests are are fairly much the same as your professional ones.”

Now this is true, and in fact when I set up this blog it was deliberate that my professional and personal interests are pretty much identical. It is a comment on where I have found myself for the last 18 months or so – in a space where I seem to live, eat, and breathe librarianship and related issues. Part of the whole tongue-in-cheek name of this blog – Über – implies the obsession with which I engage in my profession.

But is my obsession more than that of a borderline workaholic? I believe my engagement with the profession that often gushes into my personal life is in direct correlation to how much I enjoy my job. Without that passionate interest in social media, professional development (mine and others), and engaging in lifelong learning, would I be as good a librarian? Would I have the same commitment to discovering and investigating areas that may be of future interest or use in my current or future work? I certainly don’t want to become disengaged – I have worked with people who aren’t as passionate as I am, or as work-focussed. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing – we’re all different.

Sometimes I wonder if it is just the way I’m wired. I am not the kind of person who can switch off very easily. I do struggle to make time in my life for that three letter word – “fun” – of which I have heard so much. The problem is for me, that I consider engaging in professional activities to be “fun”. However as my good friend pointed out, all work and no play could make Naomi a very boring girl:

“Just like to offer a random and radical suggestion that maybe, you could broaden your hobbies.” 

Now she’s lying there, it’s not a random suggestion, this particular friend is always telling me I should get interested in something beyond work. Just a couple of weekends ago we had a pedicure date and I was talking about how I was going to do much less work once I had written a couple of papers that were due within the month. I was telling her how I was starting to realise that I needed some more external non-work stuff in my life.

Practically in the same breath however, I was also telling her that I was seriously considering applying for a high level job that is in the direction of where I may want to go into in a few years. I didn’t think I’d get the job, or even get an interview, but I was seriously considering putting in an application as “practice”.

I spent some time explaining how it was very important to keep your selection criteria skills up, and to consistently document your learning and achievements in work, because likely when it came time to writing a job application, you wouldn’t remember a lot of the stuff that you’ve done. Now I do believe this, and it is advice I give new graduates. However it didn’t even occur to me until she pointed it out that perhaps this was one of the things that I could drop if I was serious about not being so work obsessed. I was, after all, planning on spending the better part of my Sunday writing a job application for a job for which I was not adequately experienced, did not expect to even get an interview for, and indeed did not really want, as I am very happy in my current job and have no intention of leaving it any time soon. Although I wouldn’t say no to a 15 grand pay bump 🙂

And now here I am, another month and another load of work-related stuff I’m already filling my time with. Of course there’s Blog Every Day Of June, in which I am participating, and for which I decided to blog here, on my professional blog, rather than like I did last year, on a more personal ramblings blog. Then there’s the conference paper I need to write in the next week or so. The workshop I need to prepare and find another presenter for. And of course my day job, which this month includes supervising a prac student, revising and updating our referencing content, rewriting some class material for semester two, lots of meetings and goodness knows what else that will come up over the next 28 days.

So I wonder where the personal will get an in. I do have a plan, however. On 30th June I’m celebrating my birthday by flying down to Melbourne for a few days to catch up with friends down there, and then a few days with my brother travelling the Great Ocean Road. It will be a work-free trip. So hopefully I can find the personal somewhere in yet another month of the professional.

Posted in #blogjune | 4 Comments