Tag Archives: networking

Further Questions: What advice do you have for job seekers, particularly those new to librarianship, looking to build professional networks?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What advice do you have for job seekers, particularly those new to librarianship, looking to build professional networks? What are some appropriate ways that networking can be used in the job seeking process? Please share your best tips for networking and professional etiquette.

Definitely get involved in your state library association (or if you are wanting to move to another state, get involved with that state library association) as well as the American Library Association. If you have a specialized area of expertise, such as genealogy, there are groups within both that you should consider joining. If you do not know how to get involved or feel like you cannot get your “foot in the door” by all means, just show up to a meeting of your round table and let them know you are interested and that you would like to be involved in a committee, these round tables are always looking for help! This will help you build up your professional networks and you may meet future employers, coworkers or job references in those meetings. In addition, make sure you have a 30 second elevator speech prepared so you can make a good first impression, tell everyone who will listen what your career goals are, if people know what you are looking for they are more likely to help you by introducing you to people that may be hiring.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas

Cathi AllowayOver 4 decades as a librarian, I have built my network slowly but surely through professional library organizations and, particularly, NON-library groups and organizations.
My launch into public library administration was totally due to networking. I was an officer in the local Special Libraries Association chapter and got recruited and offered a job because of it.  It was a career-changing moment for me.  Ironically, I was in SLA to make friends and get some professional support when times got tough.    SLA was my social life as a young mother and full-time working librarian in a city where I had no family and few acquaintances.  Hint:  if you join an organization simply to get job leads – it tends to show and can be a turn-off to other members. Make sure you have some real passion and alignment for the group’s activities.  Networks help you solve work problems, not just the unemployment problem.  I have many contacts who can help me with personnel, strategy, IT and other issues, and when that happens, you become a valuable asset to an employer.
I have made great community contacts through two different metropolitan community “Leadership” programs.  The training and networking and friends were priceless and gave me skills and contacts that were long-lasting and beneficial.  I continue to volunteer for the one in my community.
In one of my previous library director positions, the library was building a controversial new building.  By joining the local and influential Rotary club, I was able to get to know many community leaders and slowly but surely change their impression of the project and libraries.  Rotary is a huge commitment – weekly meetings – and by rotating around to different tables at each meeting I learned how to introduce myself, converse, convince…and even offend….some people.  It was a great learning lab for professional etiquette.
I recently heard a talk by Renee DiPilato, who is Deputy Director at Alexandria (VA) Public Library.  She is doing a dissertation on library leaders and has found that most of them belong to Rotary clubs and have utilized NON-library networks and conferences to advance their skills and networks.
Catherine Alloway, Director, Schlow Centre Region 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.


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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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