BayNet Mentoring Program
by Margot Hanson
Based on feedback, input from other mentorship programs, and planning meetings, BayNet will be rolling out a broader mentoring program open to all BayNet members. Information and sign-up options will be available at the Annual Meeting at SFPL on May 11, but if you can’t make it, look out for upcoming information on the BayNet Web site.
The program will match prospective mentors and mentees based on interests, and mentorship can include a wide variety of goals, such as early career advice, guidance on professional development or publishing, leadership inspiration, or anything you can think of! Please consider whether you’d be interested in a mentoring relationship, whether as a mentee or mentor.
Contact Margot Hanson for more information.
The Experience of Getting a Job as a Librarian
by Sarah Naumann, MLIS (Reference Librarian, Mills College)
When the BayNet Newsletter committee asked if I would write an article for the Spring newsletter about my experience in getting a job as a Librarian I immediately said, “yes!” With library school close behind me and a new position as a Reference Librarian, the experience is fresh in my mind.
It took me eight months from obtaining my MLIS to starting my job at Mills College. I would have to say that my preparation for the job started well before I decided to go to Library School.
My motto: One cannot do too many informational interviews. I interview just about every librarian and Library and Information Science (LIS) professional I meet either formally or informally. What better way to find out if someone has information that can influence my path?
Choosing to work as a LIS professional as a second (or third career) I knew from the beginning that I had better get some library experience while attending library school. I had never worked in a library and needed to start from the beginning.
As I was considering various higher education degrees, I decided to volunteer as an adult literacy tutor for the Berkeley Public Library. During my first semester in library school one assignment had me interview department heads about organizational change. One of my interviewees was my supervisor from the adult literacy program. During the interview she asked if I would be interested in working in a paid position for the literacy program. Naturally I said, “yes!” During my three plus years with Berkeley Reads I worked with students, created a Cultural Arts Literacy Program and funded it using grant writing skills learned in a library school course.
With only one year left in library school, I still wanted to get experience in an academic library. I applied for a student position as a Circulation Assistant at Golden Gate University (GGU) and began working there. Learning about circulation and talking with the librarians was highly beneficial to me.
When I graduated with my MLIS I was working both for Berkeley Reads and GGU. Now that I had more time, I took a job at the Academy of Art University Library (AAU) as a Circulation Assistant. While there I was able to learn even more about circulation and from a different University’s perspective. AAU management asked if I wanted to lead tours. Tours at AAU are similar to bibliographic instruction sessions. Naturally I signed up for as many tours as I could to gain more experience. Since I had my MLIS, they also allowed me to work a few reference shifts per week. I was able to practice using Meebo Chat and work with students on their research. I also worked as the subject specialist for Illustration.
During this time I was applying for Librarian and related Library and Information Science positions like crazy. I worked my resume, Curriculum Vitae (CV), and cover letter over a hundred times. When my friends got asked to interview at places of interest, I asked to see their CVs and cover letters, using what I saw to make mine more professional. I also had Library professionals review my CV and cover letter to get feedback.
As we all know, being able to interview well is part of the job search preparation process.
I follow a number (okay, a ton) of library listservs, discussions on LinkedIn, and a few blogs. My favorite source for interview preparation is the San Jose School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) Career Center. They have a wonderful blog and better still, regularly scheduled Job related Blackboard Collaborate sessions. I attended two. The information provided by Jill Klees was perfect. Whenever I had a question, such as how to discuss salary requirements, I emailed her personally.
Using Jill’s recommendations, I prepared for interviews; I created a script for myself and practiced the script.
The rest is history.
The Evolution of the “Ecology of Libraries” Poster
by Katherine Becvar
Nearly a year ago, BayNet president Debbie Abilock approached several members of BayNet with a question: “Can we create a one-page diagram which shows the beneficial ecology that exists among all kinds of libraries in the Bay Area?”
Those of us involved in BayNet intuitively understand the value of maintaining relationships with colleagues at other types of libraries, but how could we represent that in a simple informational graphic? One like Jackie Siminitus’ hands graphic showing the relationships between school and public libraries or Ralph E. DeVore’s universal library logo:
The evolution of this project has some interesting lessons to teach about the visual design of information, which are worth taking note of for those of us who work in a world of information.
Our group began by collaborating on a list of activities and services done in different types of libraries. Naturally, similarities and differences began to emerge as we went through several iterations. Once we got to a certain point, I decided to take the initiative and start working visually, drawing on my background in art and design. My initial pencil sketch was a bit of a mess, but the metaphor of California poppies seemed to fit the situation (and our organization’s geography):
After creating a clearer version of the sketch using a computer and sharing it with the board, we decided to move ahead to the next phase and hire a graphic designer to turn this into a poster — something we could make available to our members as a means of showing the relevance of their BayNet membership.
Tawny Dovico, the graphic designer we hired, came up with a simple, effective poster which distills the inherent message into something that is quickly and easily grasped. Her design rationale was that the graphic serve as poster art, meaning that it is clearly and easily read from across the room. In her words, “on the hierarchy of goals, legibility is at the top.” When I took Tawny’s draft design back to the Board, not everyone was thrilled with the shift away from organic curves towards simpler shapes and blocks of color. Some discussions emerged between Board members about simplicity versus artistry, and questions about what makes a good graphic. I was reminded of the core message of infographic guru Edward R. Tufte, whose series of books including Envisioning Information speak volumes about the power of visual information presented well. Information professionals should take note that while computers have facilitated access to data in unprecedented ways, the labor of synthesizing, conveying, and comprehending that data still remains challenging. It is the simplest stuff that can be the hardest to create, but once you get it right, the resulting graphic can speak more eloquently than you might have imagined at the start of the project.
I am delighted to present the “Ecology of Libraries” poster to all the members of BayNet. Please download, use, print, and disseminate as appropriate — you can also purchase the printed poster at http://www.baynetlibs.org/poster/.