The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions


Making ‘ME’ Find-able!

danielle-orner-quote-i-am-hereI recently joined a webinar through SLA titled “Create your own Career Path”. This inspiring webinar was given by Kim Dority,  a Content Strategist, and LIS Careers Expert. Kim’s blog is also a very good place to go to for inspiring pieces about your career journey and what we face along the way.

This webinar really made me sit up and think, many of the points she made throughout the presentation hit a nerve with me and I found myself thinking, HEY! I need to do something here.

One piece that Kim spoke about that I found very interesting is how to create your own career path through LinkedIn, my LinkedIn is Twitter so here I have mapped what we need to do.

Firstly you need to deeply think about the people you want to connect with and why you want to make that connection. What impact will this person have on you and your career going forward?

Librarians are great for networking and we are not shy when it comes to reaching out and asking about each others roles. Reaching out to people today is easy, for example, librarians are very active on twitter, however, the question to ask is “who really knows about you”?

According to Kim with social media like twitter you have to set your professional reputation so that you actively take a role in what perceptions people have of you. You have the responsibility to show other professionals “Here is who I am” and “Here is how I can help you”.

To really learn from these professionals connect with them. Kim suggests doing this in a formal capacity. Suggested here is to find a list of professionals, whose job titles fit your interests, library orientated or not. Next research this target area as a whole, once this is done, create an email inviting them to take part in an information interview.

Hands up anyone who has heard of an information interview because I never had. It is “a meeting to learn about the real-life experience of someone working in a field or company that interests you”. Where was this when I was in school? There have been a few professionals that I met in the last year and I have been intrigued about a lot of things mainly, how they came to be in their particular role(s)?

To learn more about the details of an information interview I would suggest contacting Kim, she is very welcoming.

Personally, I feel these information interviews will give me a lot of confidence. Ireland is small and the conferences are great, however, I meet the same people over and over again. I want to talk to the Principal of a school, I want to talk to the various local authority managers. I want to talk to these diverse people because they don’t realise they need me as a professional, they don’t know I exist. I need them to know that I am here, that I am not far away and I can help them, or at least inform them of what we do as librarians.

So I hope with this blog post that all the wonderful librarians out there can do this also, we need to put ourselves out there and we need to get out of the library and talk to different individuals who just one day will wake up and go, I NEED A LIBRARIAN/INFORMATION SPECIALIST.


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Wise words of an Information Professional (Not Me)

The following post refers to an article from an SLA blog post – Tasks for Modern Info Pros: Do Good Work

Jacob Ratliff  (2015) “identified 5 essential attributes of modern information professionals and set forth 12 key tasks they must perform”

What he says we should be doing is:

  • Demonstrate value,
  • Be a part of the culture that exists,
  • have others appreciate the unique skill set(s) that we have.
  • We bring value, but we need to make it front and center, and we need to do it quickly and often.

My question – How?

The reasons Ratliff gives are bold, and may not always be welcomed in every organisation, and to be honest, there are a few in organisations that just won’t care! Saying that, this advice is awesome.

My experience with bureaucracy is still very new and I am very much learning, however, the contexts will always be different. Sometimes when you ignore the rules there are repercussions.

I am working on a restructuring project in a small organisation as an intern. This project is not only to restructure the way the heritage professionals work but how they think about the way they work.

However always finding what people want & doing it in a way that they prefer, has delayed the project at least six months.

I can’t help but preach the motto “Know your organisation”, as I began this internship I knew nothing about heritage let alone what the heritage council did. I saw heritage as the Irish Flag, our national anthem, which is cultural heritage but I never thought about it on a deeper level. I have learned so much about corporate governance for the Irish Arts Sector and where heritage sits within the Irish Government. In addition, I have seen the many plays of politics that surround this governance and where the organisation lies within that framework. I am still learning, but I am surrounded by great teachers, so it helps.

Doing good work in a position like this is crucial, use the team meetings to tell them what you have done, not what you are going to do this I have learned the hard way!




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Workplace Behaviour and Taking Risks


workplaceThe following article in Entrepreneur  really made me sit and think about how to reflect on behaviour.

Behaviour within the workplace is crucial, I am very aware of people and I have always had a good sense of what you do and don’t do in the workplace.

At the top of my list is time keeping, it annoys me to death when people show up late to work. I find it is very ignorant to your boss and to your colleagues. having bad time keeping skills says a lot about you as a person. For instance, your not organised, and you don’t take into context how other colleagues may have to wait for your arrival in order to answer a query. This is not good team management.

Going beyond the call of duty. This is my inner self going “I did it”. When you notice that people around you need help and you have the time to give it to them, just do it. Recently I was in a position to give my skills to three or four projects outside of my remit as an intern. In doing this, the opportunities it has afforded me are second to none, Many reasons for this include;

  • I got to know other colleagues better.
  • They got to understand my interests and opinions of various projects.
  • I learned from them.
  • I got to know and understand the organisation, the history, the who’s who, (and a little bit of gossip).
  • They got to understand me and my profession better.

Networking, making yourself known and going to work events, are also super important. To look at other organisations that are similar to yours and see their challenges and opportunities is a great discussion to have, especially over a team building exercise. These events give you space to create a conversation that you will be remembered, especially by the boss or HR.

Taking risks is nerve racking, I am contemplating setting goals for 2016 and I really want to push myself. Doing things that I am not sure I will succeed in is so far out of my comfort zone that I might as well be jumping out of a plane. Saying that, I have time, I can do research to help me make that decision, I have people I can call on for advice. I can find ways to handle these things that right now I may not know how to do, I just need to believe in myself and encourage myself. This is my time, and I will succeed.

Good behaviour and the right attitude will keep me on the path to success.