I’m very happy to introduce a new feature here on Hiring Librarians, which is presented in partnership with Hack Library School (HLS). HLS is a collaborative blog that allows students to deconstruct and reshape their own library education, and ultimately to influence the future of the profession through thoughtful public commentary.
In this feature, writers from HLS interview their schools about the career resources and services provided to students. Our hope is that these “interviews” will:
1. Provide more information for current students (and alumni) about how they can best take advantage of their school’s career resources.
2. Help people who are thinking about going to library school focus on their post-graduation employability, and how their choice of school might affect that
3. Encourage library schools to provide high-quality career resources for graduates and alumni. Allow schools to share information about their strategies for providing career guidance.
4. Engage library students in career-focused dialogue with their schools.
Without further ado, I’m pleased to present the first in this series, conducted by HLS Managing Editor Brianna Marshall.
This interview is with Rhonda Spencer, Director of Admissions and Placement, Indiana University, School of Library and Information Science.
Career Center Information
Who staffs the career center? Please talk a little about how it is managed and run.
“A Place to Start” is the sub-title of the career office. Why? It helps define the goals of the office. We would like to encourage students to start thinking about the job search process early. We want them to think about their résumé, the interview process, and networking. We want them to understand how job ads are posted in this field. We want to promote professional association involvement. We want students to understand resources available at Indiana University, and in the field of library and information science. We want our students to be confident in themselves, and in their knowledge about the job search process.
New SLIS students may stop by the office for general ideas. We hope that having a peer (a fellow SLIS student) as someone to brainstorm with will help students confidently begin necessary job search preparations. Students nearing completion of their degree may want to have a practice interview. They may want to contribute ideas and time to improving the career resources at SLIS.
The office will staffed by SLIS Student Career Analysts. These students are part of a “think tank” environment designed to improve easy access to resources. They will post full-time job openings to a jobs listserv and to the SLIS Website. They will work on web resources for the SLIS Website – Career Section. They will conduct Practice Interviews with students. They will help promote other career events offered by SLIS and IU. They will work with the SLIS Student Organizations. They will report to and work with the SLIS Director of Admissions and Placement, Rhonda Spencer.
As is the current practice, students may also schedule appointments with Rhonda Spencer to talk about career questions and their résumé. Additionally, they may contact her to reserve the SLIS Career Services Office for a Phone Interview, or for a Student Group Meeting.
Does the career center provide any of the following:
√ Job Listings √ Resume/CV Review √ Help writing cover letters
√ Literature/articles √ Interview Practice √General career coaching
√ Networking events (virtual or in-person)
√ Other: Helping to participate in or to promote events sponsored by the student chapters of professional associations at SLIS, national associations, and other Indiana University career events.
Do you provide in-person services?
√ Appointments √ Drop-in career center
√ Job Fairs √ Mixers or other networking events
√ Speakers, or programs that present experts
*Note: The majority of the speakers, networking events, or job fairs are sponsored by other related groups either within SLIS or at Indiana University. And, in addition to “drop-in hours at the career center, students can drop-in for advising times with the Director of Placement. Also, all SLIS students are assigned faculty advisors. There is also an Internship Director available for consultation.”
Do you provide online services?
√ Website with resources
√ Other: Direct email access to the Director of Placement, and to the student peer consultants; Jobs postings Listserv.
What do you think is the best way for students to use the career center?
To start early in their job search planning, to talk to a peer about strategies…
May alumni use career center resources?
Yes. The website job postings are available. Some alumni contact the Director of Placement for assistance. But, in general, alumni use professional association networking for career advice after graduation.
Are there any charges for services?
Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your services in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?
Know yourself. Start early in planning. Prepare a strong résumé. Be considerate about your online presence. Keep potential portfolio items. Attend workshops. Be involved in professional associations. Network – even if it is hard. Personal contacts do help. Have several people review your résumé. Think about where you would like to live. Before applying for a position, learn about the institution — it will make your application materials stronger. Show some enthusiasm. Do you really want to work for this library – in this town? Read the job advertisement four times — it will make your cover letter and résumé more relevant. Emphasize experiences, class projects, key words that will matter to that employer. Dedicate regular time each week to the job search preparation process — (this can start your first semester in graduate school). Enjoy the process. Find your niche.
Students’ Career Paths
Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?
The magazine “Library Journal” does an annual salary and placement survey of all new graduates from the previous year. They survey all ALA-accredited schools. They publish the results each year in their October 15th issue. This survey gives a strong aggregate look at trends in the field.
Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?
- Strongly encouraged – (all of the above).
- Very important.
- Helpful for building your job portfolio.
- Internships can be completed for course credit.
Are there any notable graduates?
We have many notable graduates who spend their work days in remarkable service. They are creative, intentional, and helpful in their professional lives. Some work in institutions that are more widely known (Library of Congress, American Library Association, Amazon…). Some became Deans – of libraries, and of ALA-Accredited schools. I am touched though by the pride in the daily work of numerous graduates. They do make a difference in the lives of their patrons. Two examples of graduates from the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science:
1. Rebecca Taylor Bingham:
2. Sharon Lenius:
How many students in the library school?
Bloomington campus (Fall 2012) = 264 degree seeking
What degree(s) do you offer?
- Master of Library Science, Master of Information Science
- Ph.D. in Information Science
- Specialist in Library and Information Science (post-master’s degree)
Is it ALA accredited?
When was the library school founded?
- First organized curriculum in library science at IU (1930)
- Graduate degree established (1949)
Where are you?
√ Midwestern US
Where are you?
Anything else you’d like to share that’s unique about the school?
Great university, lovely town, supportive infrastructure, respected and forward-thinking faculty – a terrific place for graduate school.
Note: The Indiana University School of Library and Information Science will merge with the School of Informatics effective July 1, 2013. The new combined School of Informatics and Computing will offer an enriched environment for our students. Additionally, expanded career services will be available. The future for the field is strong.
Brianna Marshall is a second year dual-degree Master of Library Science and Master of Information Science student at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science. She is Managing Editor for Hack Library School and a 2012-2013 HASTAC scholar. Learn more about Brianna through her blog and portfolio or by following her on Twitter @notsosternlib