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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2014 – uklibchat A team of librarians where we host a twitter chat every month. A different member hosts each month. Together we pick a topic, always library related. All members pitch in ideas for someone to write a featured article.

This collaboration is the one of the best things about uklibchat, it is great to meet new and diverse professionals and be able to connect with them through Twitter.

The twitter chats I have hosted so far include:

July 2014 –  3D Printing & Makerspaces with Dundee Libraries collaboration with Kevin McGinely @kevinmcginley16 

7th October 2014 – Research Data Management collaboration with Jez Cope from Imperial College London Library @jezcope

7 April 2015 – Collaborating outside libraries collaboration with Martin O’Connor & Elaine Bean @martinoconnor3

2015 – I joined SLA, as I am located in Waterford I find it difficult to become part of library committees as most are based in Dublin. Through a few twitter chats and a good twitter friend, I was alerted to the SLA digital committee. Here I was put in contact with the team and after a few emails I was brought on as part of the team. Within the committee, I update the events page of the SLA Europe website.

All of the above collaboration and networking is all done virtually, through Twitter, emails, Google Doc’s, & Go To Meeting.

2015 – I have recently collaborated with Rudai23, the Irish version for 23things. Here along with nine other librarians we each contribute with writing blog posts on each thing. Here I contributed on thing 5 – online social networks in particular Facebook and Twitter. Other posts include Collaboration Tools, and guiding our followers through reflective practice and a twitter chat, the Storify is here.

2015 –  As part of my internship I have begun to scope a digital library project, along with my mentor, an archivist. Here we are hoping to build a digital library of all the images that the heritage council as gathered over their 20 years. The main aim of the digital library is to preserve these images in a digital repository for future use. In order to up-skill for this project, I have taken a self-learning workshop in digital preservation through CESSDA.

2015 –   Finding a mentor, through a simple tweet during a twitter chat about careers. Here Tracy Z. Maleeff reached out to ask if we could start a mentor, mentee – ship. It is inspiring to know that someone out there has your back, and will always be there for you to give you the confidence we sometimes lack as new professionals.

2015 –  Helping create a twitter chat for school librarians, again a very random tweet asking me did I know of any chats, I knew a few in the US but none in Ireland and UK, and again I added in a few twitter peeps who would have more information and there you have it the makings of a twitter chat for school librarians! Watch this space.

2015 – Joined CILIP in August.

Please contact me if you would like to collaborate for a twitter chat, a poster presentation, webinar, podcast etc. you can contact me via twitter @shivguinn or my email is