Tag Archives: library conferences

Further Questions: What tips do you have for job seekers attending conferences?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What tips do you have for job seekers attending conferences? How do you suggest they balance networking, attending sessions, and/or interview or informational sessions? Any special tips for first-time conference attendees?

Jessica OlinFirst: have a copy of your resume/CV with you, printed on nice paper. Some of the bigger conferences have specific help for job seekers, but you can make a connections at any kind of conference. Caveat: don’t force the issue. Wait for it to be appropriate.

Second: I am not sure how to balance things at a conference. Sometimes I go with learning in mind. Other times I focus on socializing and networking. At ACRL I left my schedule almost completely up in the air and went where friends wanted to go.
Third: Go to the orientation session(s) if it’s your first time. You’ll meet others who are new to that conference and get situated well. Also, check in with friends who are attending or have attended that conference. Finally, really big conferences sometimes have a way to pair up someone who is new to the conference with long time attendees. Check into that, for sure.
– Jessica Olin, Director of Parker Library, Wesley College

Marleah AugustineAttending conferences are a great way to learn more about the profession and the people involved. Something I would recommend is, just like what you wear, attend sessions for the job you want, not necessarily the job you have — or at least attend a balance of these sessions. If you’re currently working in a mid-range position but are planning to apply for director positions, attend some sessions meant for directors. Networking is important, but it doesn’t come easily to introverts like me — if you fall in that boat, find common ground with people. Go to sessions and presentations with questions already in mind, so you aren’t trying to think of something to say on the spot. Share your own experiences.

If you’re looking to apply for positions in a specific geographic area, seek out librarians from those areas who are presenting (their organization is typically listed in the conference program) and introduce yourself after their presentation. Of course, be genuine with your interest, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there — speaking from experience, presenters are usually glad to speak with attendees about their topic or answer questions one-on-one. Take business cards — even if you’re not currently working, print some yourself that list some of your areas of expertise and experience. Don’t overlook the more “fun” activities — that’s often where conversations happen and you meet the most memorable people.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Julie TodaroJob seekers should focus on two primary aspects of conferences…the conference business activities planned for target job areas so –  for example – attending the children’s services business meeting if they are seeking a job in children’s services AND – of course – visiting the employment area of the conference….so looking at this by “pre,” “during” and “post…”
Review the Association website reviewing their processes for advertising area employment….both for general job seeking as well as job seeking during conferences. Example – do they post openings on their website? do they have a job fair or placement area at conference? Can you submit your resume prior to the conference? Is there a list of people interviewing? If the association offers the list of openings/organizations interviewing consider contacting them in advance saying you will be at conference and could you interview there?
Read the minutes from association areas for your target job such as review a few years of minutes from the academic library area membership or business meeting if you are seeking jobs in higher education. Look for open announcement periods during meetings to see if they allow (which they often do) attendees to announce jobs open.
Communicate with organizations that you have identified as having openings. Inform them that you will be at conference and you can interview/meet with them there. This cost saving often gets people interviews and the first “foot in the door.”
Create small packets (resume, cover letter, sample of your content) about “you” …take the packets to conference. Have them ready to hand out to those you meet.
Review social media both for area organizations and the Association. Take advantage of opportunities to introduce yourself…link to an online packet about you and listen to pre conference discussions.
Contact your educational institution. Ask their placement staff for openings in your area. If they don’t have any, ask if they have names of people in area organizations who are better to contact.
Search the usual regional and national lists…newspapers, etc. As in other recommendations, reach out to where you want to work…tell them you will be at the conference.
Review the conference program to identify programs for job seekers.
See if Conference activities offer a mentor program in your area of interest.
See if there are opportunities for you to present…contributed papers or poster sessions from your education program or from previous employment. Have your packets there with additional content on your expertise.
If there is an employment area, sign up!
If there are offerings on designing resumes, even if you have a good resume, attend to meet the area people.
If there aren’t placement centers/areas, ask Conference organizers if there are bulletin boards where you can post availability information and your interests.
Track social media discussion during conference to take advantage of last minute get-togethers of like-minded people or organizations from the area.
Attend the business meetings of groups you want to work for or with.
Attend opening and other social events.
Work with your mentor to identify activities for job opportunities.
Hand out the information packets you have about you!
Give programs you have signed up for…have your packets ready to hand out.
How do you suggest they balance networking, attending sessions, and/or interview or informational sessions?
Although education or information sessions are great for expanding knowledge bases, these should only be attended if your time is limited...if there are people delivering programs, on panels, etc. from organizations where you want to work AND if you have found that all of the job ads you see or positions you are seeking require awareness of a new content delivered at the conference.
Networking at conference will happen if you attend some of the previously mentioned activities! Introducing yourself at these events should include your name and the fact that you are here seeking employment and are here to interview for positions. If the setting is stand up or social or in a leisure setting such as a restaurant, hand out business cards (which indicate you are looking) rather than your longer packet…that is, make sure your information about you fits in someone’s packet.
Send emails to individuals you met and organizational representatives. Thank them for any assistance or advice they gave you. Reaffirm your availability.
Any special tips for first-time conference attendees? 
  • Join any new members round table group.
  • Sign up for mentor assignments/sign up.
  • Email any recent organizations where you have applications “out there” and indicate you will be at the conference and can interview.
  • Look for “newbie” programs…organizations call these very different things …newbie, first- time-attendees…recent grads….new librarians…or areas addressing different status such as “switching careers?” moving into management? going from public to academic?
  • See if the conference hosts have a visual identifier for your name badge…some have a sticker “I am looking for a new position” or “first time attendee”…these are usually attention-getters and are designed to not only assist you in meeting people but in unusual places like an elevator as well as a party.

– Julie Todaro, Dean, Library Services, Austin Community College

angelynn kingWrite down everything you want to do at the conference, only do half of it, and don’t feel guilty. It’s normal.




-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.


Filed under Further Questions

Further Questions: How does your organization value or consider membership/involvement in professional organizations during the hiring process?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How does your organization value or consider membership/involvement in professional organizations during the hiring process? Is there a difference when hiring for an entry level role vs. a position requiring more experience?

Laurie Phillips

We do place a high value on involvement in professional organizations but low value on just being a member. We want to see your committee involvement or presentations at the conferences for the professional organization.
For an entry level position professional involvement can be minimal such as a committee member as opposed to the committee chair or volunteering to work the registration booth.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

Marleah AugustineMembership in professional organizations can be a bonus and show commitment to the field when hiring for a professional position, but it is not mandatory. However, once a candidate is hired, they are expected to join relevant professional organizations and to be actively involved.

For entry level positions, I would be very surprised to see any applicants being a member of a professional organization. It would definitely set someone apart.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Usually I look for more than membership–involvement is a supplement to a well-rounded education and not a substitute. Continuing education is crucial for everyone.  Involving yourself in professional or community organizations gives you a broader base from which to draw experience, network, gather ideas, and learn about who you are throughout the community, the profession–all of it.
But also, depending on the position–not being involved–would not necessarily disqualify someone–once employed, the hire would be encouraged to learn and grow in the community and the profession as opportunities arise.
-Virginia Roberts, Director, Rhinelander District Library
Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.


Filed under Further Questions

Reader Response Requested: How Do You Stay in Touch after a Conference?

This week, you are the experts.  I’m asking people who read Hiring Librarians:

Do you have any tips for staying in touch with new contacts, for example potential future employers you might have met at a very large library conference?  What should you do, and how frequently?

Here’s a response to get you started:

I think LinkedIn could be a really convenient way to keep your name on their radar—post relevant, sincere comments or links at least weekly. I also have been able to stay in contact with a few professional contacts through the exchange of materials. Take advantage of what opportunities present themselves through our regular work. (These aren’t librarians that I’m looking at to hire me, but it keeps us working together.) Take the opportunity to request ILLs from a library more frequently, if applicable. I met one librarian who works at a tribal library and archive; I would send her materials that our patrons donated to us that weren’t of much local interest but would be of greater use to her patrons. I’ve developed relationships with other librarians elsewhere in my region and in my state by working at district-level and state-level committees, and by writing multi-library grants.

I think it’s important, for new or looking-to-move librarians, to be in touch with lots of library staff, no matter where those staff are in the hiring hierarchy. You might not be acquainted with the library director, but knowing the children’s librarian, or the head of AV, would give you a leg-up over other candidates.

– Sarah Morrison, Adult Services Librarian, Neill Public Library, Pullman, Washington

Please tell us your tips and strategies in the comments!



Filed under Further Answers, Further Questions

Library 2.012 for Job Hunters

Do you know about the Library 2.012 conference?

Co-founded by my alma mater, the key concept for this conference is “inclusive.”  There are over 150 presentations from all over the globe, covering a wide range of today’s (and tomorrow’s) library issues.  Best of all, it’s FREE!  You won’t even occur any travel costs, because the content is all delivered virtually to you in the comfort of your own home or office.

I combed through the 150 presentations and picked out four which look particularly relevant to job hunters.  You can click on the link to learn more about them, and you can figure out when they will be presented by looking at the schedule.  I don’t really know anything more about these, so I’m not endorsing them, just pointing them out, ok?

Campaigning for a Library Job: Maximizing Professional Development Opportunities to Differentiate Yourself From Other Applicants

Presented by Suzanna Conrad, Digital Initiatives Librarian, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

In tough economic times it can be daunting to even get interviews, much less land a job.  The library field has been heavily impacted by budget cuts and the stagnated economy. How can new librarians navigate the limited opportunities and still differentiate themselves from the hundreds of applications many HR departments are receiving for one position? Within this presentation, the co-presenters will talk about their “campaigns” to find full-time professional librarian positions in two different types of institutions and how they augmented their resumes with professional development activities such as association and committee involvement, publications and speaking engagements to differentiate themselves from other applicants.  The presentation will also address the importance of professional development involvement to the future of the profession.

Social Media Trifecta: Tools for Your Job Search

Presented by Africa Hands, Librarian/Information Professional, Hands On Research Solutions

Librarians have been using social media for several years to promote their services and institution. This presentation will focus on ways librarians can use social media for self-promotion and career advancement. Presenters will discuss how to take your blog efforts from soap box and sounding board to sales and professional marketing material; how to use LinkedIn to build online relationships, find opportunities, and demonstrate expertise; and provide an overview for setting up and using your Twitter profile to network and mine the Internet for employment opportunities.

Librarians A-Twitter: how to use Twitter for networking and professional development

Presented by Elizabeth Psyck, Liaison Librarian, Grand Valley State University

This session will look at what Twitter is and how librarians across the country are currently using it to meet and keep in touch with colleagues and participate in events. This will not be a discussion of how to use Twitter to promote your library and its services. The emphasis is on personal/professional development and networking. Different types of accounts (personal and/or professional; anonymous/semi-anonymous/named) will be discussed along with the benefits and drawbacks of each. New users will learn what Twitter is and how to use it. More advanced users will get tips on how to develop personal learning networks and participate in conversations with colleagues. Strategies for finding accounts to follow, how to participate in discussions, and how to keep from being overrun with spam will be presented. Participation in conferences and events via Twitter will be demonstrated.

Leadership and Career Success for the 21st Century Information Professional

Presented by Lisa Chow, Library Journal Mover & Shaker, People Interact

Anyone can be a leader. You don’t need to be in a leadership position to develop leadership skills. In three simple and easy to remember concepts, participants will learn valuable tips, tricks and tools for paving the way to leadership and career success in the 21st century.
1. Participants will conduct an individualized career analysis.
2. Participants will receive an overview of useful tips and tools.
3. Participants will be equipped with practical career strategies that can be implemented immediately.

And oh by the way!  Because I know you appreciate shameless self-promotion:

I'm presenting 2.012

I’m presenting!

My former classmate Sarah Naumann and I will be presenting the results of our study of the way that San Francisco Bay Area libraries use on-call librarians.  It will take place on October 3rd at 7PM Pacific.  Come and check it out!  It’s my first time ever presenting at a conference, so only the most gentle of heckling, please. When the conference has started, this link should take you directly to our presentation:


Will you be presenting, attending, or volunteering?  Leave a comment and let us know!

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Filed under News and Administration, Op Ed