Tuesday, April 10, 2012

National Library Week

April 8-14 is National Library Week.When I look at all the banners I notice that it is mostly geared towards public libraries. I am sure others are being mentioned, however I hope that we don't forget the many other different types of libraries that are out there.

Throughout my special libraries class I have learned about the different libraries that many may not realize exist. I remember seeing that there was an American Girl Co. Library and I about flailed thinking about it. Special libraries are essential towards running businesses! They are indeed an asset and during this week I feel that they should be recognized as well. ALL libraries should be recognized, academic, public, medical, law, the list goes on and on.

My volunteering and research of medical libraries have made me realize how essential they are to hospital organizations. In some situations, the articles that one librarian may find may speed up a patients healing process. There are clinical librarians that do the rounds with doctors, retrieving information face to face and not via email in the library. Its just become so fascinating to me and who wouldn't want to commemorate the librarians who work so hard at their field.

What I am basically saying is, realize that there are other libraries out there that deserve to be recognized for their efforts. Whether in a business, or helping the public, they are important and I personally believe vital!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Competition

I feel like I sound idiotic in the fact that originally thinking I didn't think libraries had competition. We provide a service that is unique where you can retrieve materials for free, and who can compete with free? Well, upon searching and pondering for a moment we do.

Doesn't matter what your take on it is, Google is a major competitor. For many its a one stop shop, just Google what you are looking for and instant results. Librarians on the other hand are taught that this not always the most accurate way to retrieve information, depending on what you are trying to locate. Anything scholarly, or hardcore facts need to be done properly and a librarian can certainly do that but Google is making it seem that they are the way to go to find information. However, it sadly can be used for a lot. I myself found a blog post discussing the same topic questioning who is a libraries competition. Who Are Your Competitors? Brings up a lot of the same items but more geared towards public libraries.

My issue is still thinking about competitors for special libraries. They are unique in what they offer their patrons and are unique to the company they serve. I could say that their competitor is budget cuts because many libraries become eliminated because of them. Google can be as well because their patrons may just find it easier to hop on Google then venture to the library. Which is why marketing the library and making it known that they are of importance to the company is extremely important.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marketing your library

Many would think that marketing your library is essentially and easy task. However, sometimes it may not. The reality is marketing will not happen unless you put in the effort and want to promote what your library does. Without marketing and library advocacy, I truly feel that libraries would almost dwindle away. There needs to be reminders of what a library has to offer to its patrons. With special libraries this is of extreme importance. Organizations may find ways to cut budgets and a library can possibly be the first to go. The one way of course to save this it to market and promote what your library has to offer.

I think the biggest part of this is making yourself known. Being active and being present to the patrons is highly important. This is especially true with special libraries. I had read an article about a medical library practically being located in the basement of the hospital and many patrons did not even know it existed! Putting yourself out there and actually going to the patron I think is an ideal way to market. I myself am a very personable person and would hope to be face to face to the patrons within whatever organization that I work for. I personally would want to have staff orientations. I am sure with budgets and time it must be hard but currently where I work, patrons do not know the access that they have here at the library. It is not initially discussed during their orientation when it should be! That is one important step in promoting your library is making it known. Plus, those patrons miss out on the benefits of the user services the library has to offer. 

A popular way that has taken the library world by storm it seems is Social Media. Libraries have facebook pages, twitter accounts, tumblr pages, blogs you name it. I personally think these are great for academics or public. However, I have my moments of thought when it comes to special libraries. Special libraries are usually much smaller and sometimes ( I stress sometimes) a smaller patron base. I personally feel that newsletters, face-face orientations better serve marketing a special library. It all depends on the type of social media a library wishes to use. Web 2.0 is an ever powering way to market a library, but depending on how you want to use it and what you want to accomplish I feel one should really think if its worth doing. RSS feeds can be a great way to link patrons to articles or newsletters for example. 

I am excited about promoting my library someday. It is probably an extremely geeky thing but who wouldn't want to promote something they love to do and what they work hard for. I couldn't imagine taking a backseat and letting patrons miss out on the great user services a library has to offer!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Having fun in the workplace

I am sure from a managerial standpoint, when someone says fun in the workplace they think of all sorts of things that are not beneficial to the work environment. However, fun in the workplace does not have to be all fun and games, even though some organizations are stepping towards these methods to make the workplace more enjoyable.

Let's think about it, our jobs are where we spend a majority of our time. Many of us, and I for one, become dissatisfied with the work environment and sometimes do not feel appreciated. That alone effects how we work, the service we give but also our overall morale. Libraries for many outsiders seems to be a mundane job, however even though it can have its moments, it certainly can be far from mundane. According to a survey done by Leysen & Boydston where 143 catalogers were surveyed about their job satisfaction, 88% experienced levels of satisfaction with their current jobs. "Trust in administration and relationships with co-workers were found to be among the top-ranked indicators of satisfaction"(Everett, 2011, p.3). I can personally say that I want to be able to trust my administration and feel like I can go to them for anything. We are all people and it should not matter what level you are at but I feel that one on one appreciation for each other (management and all) extends to have great work morale.

The article in which I got most of this information discusses fun ways to enhance work morale, but it is not necessarily games and such. For example, the article mentions a library in which staff stayed over to help with a literacy program and the director rewarded them with pizza. This past Friday I was at the VA volunteering and the librarian ordered us all pizza for our work. Its the little things sometimes that make employees feel appreciated.

I personally hate to admit that the way I work is affected to how I am treated. A job is a job and you should do it, however when you do not feel appreciated in your work environment why would you want to be there? It is especially hard in the library field because we know the job search can be difficult and then you are "stuck". I don't necessarily think that play time is necessary to make us feel better in a work environment, but knowing that we are part of the organization and are important is essential for work morale.

Everett, A. (2011). Benefits and challenges of fun in the workplace. Library Leadership & Management, 25(1), 1-10


Saturday, March 17, 2012

NMRT Mentor Program

So a WHILE back I signed up to have a mentor. I figured that I am getting closer to the end of my degree and I really wanted to be in touch with more people within the field and understand what I need to get the job I want. I think they took a little while because they wanted to see how we would fit with someone. I am extremely excited to find out the person they chose is working in a federal library. Her name is Amanda and she is the Director of the National Transportation Library for the U.S DOT. So interesting! I cant wait to hear everything about what she does and how she got to where she is!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

SOPAC..Why aren't more libraries using this?!?

So, I was reading an article for homework discussing ways to improve user services. Very interesting article in the sense of its title, Why All Librarians should hack...a least a little (sure that is supposed to be at but I will type it as I see it). It mostly discusses exploring programs and changing how they operate and such, however, I came across something that intrigued me. Last semester I wrote a paper on social tagging in library catalogs. Found it to be extremely interesting. It is a great way to have your patrons participate with the library but also I felt like it made the searching process within the catalog easier for the patron. Well SOPAC was mentioned within the article that I read and I just had to explore.


SOPAC stands for Social Online Public Access Catalog. This OPAC allows patrons to tag, rate and review items within the collection! That happened to be part of my main discussion within my paper. For example, lets say a student uses a book for his/her class paper. It was definitely a great resource and she feels that it should be looked at by her classmates or future students within the class. She can then go into the catalog and tag this class onto the book. Current classmates or future students can search tags by class and find the book. It is currently how our patrons explore. We all do it, search Google by key terms, not library terms. 

Slowly libraries are integrating to different catalogs. I am in love with USF's library catalog in which its a one stop shop. I can type in Journal Articles in the search engine and it brings me to them without having to search the database. Why not take it that extra step and make it a more interactive experience for library users? There are some libraries who participate in a SOPAC and I congratulate them! This is just me personally feeling that a more interactive catalog makes it easier for patrons but also get them more involved with the library no matter public, academic, special etc. I only keep this short because I literally just discovered it but you can look at information from the website 
http://thesocialopac.net/

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Masters Degree in Library Science

Wanted to share an article that was shared on the Special Library Associated Linkedin discussion thread. Just shows the possibilities that you can have outside the library!


Is a Master’s Degree in Library Science a Poor Investment? A Counter Perspective to Forbes Magazine

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ethics

Ethics within the library setting seems to be discussed frequently. It is an interesting debate among many library professionals because many of the ethical situations that we deal with on a daily basis are difficult and sometimes cross with other ethical issues. For example, in a recent article that I read by Don Fallis he states that "it has been suggested that the duty to protect the privacy of library patrons (e.g. by maintaining the confidentiality of their circulation records) conflicts with the duty to protect our society from terrorists (2007, p.25). I myself was asked this question within my first semester. What would I do in this scenario? Even today I am still puzzled. There are so many dilemmas that we face this day and age, and I have trouble with the idea of maintaining the library ethics, especially in regards to these types of topics. Its really hard for someone coming into the profession to really grasp it.

That is not to say that I do not believe in maintaining them. I do believe we have the freedom to retain information. My problem is what do I do? How do I tell the FBI no, no you can not have that information. Get what I am trying to say?

Fallis discusses how not many ALA accredited schools really maintain an ethics course for MLIS students, nor have it as a priority class. I got curious and went to my current schools webpage and we do have the class, but we of course do not have it as a required elective. I kind of agree that this should be something required. No matter what type of library setting we pursue, we will face many of these ethical dilemmas. I contemplate taking the class now, because I wonder if it would help in my decision making processes. How will I respond to certain situations and continue with our ethical codes? Having a class to somewhat guide you might be helpful.

He also discusses different types of ethical theories in his article. This helps somewhat give an understand on what best way to handle the situation. For example, there is consequence-based theories. "In order to do the right thing, we should perform actions that have the good consequence" (Fallis, 2007, p.27). Yet again, here is my issue. I think giving the FBI for example the information they need the better choice, because in the end the library does not get into trouble nor do you. However, where does that leave the patron. What if this patron had a homework assignment to do that discusses different terrorist groups. It is such a pickle that I just cant find the right answer!!

Id be curious to know what other people feel about this scenario!

Fallis, D. (2007) Information ethics for the twenty-first century library professionals. Library Hi Tech, 25(1), 23-36


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hidden Cataloging geek

So, today at the VA we started cataloging training. As I had stated before, they were still on card catalog and are now transferring to OPAC. Its so exciting to be joining them on this venture because I will be learning so much! A friend of mine believes that not many MLS students in my position get this type of opportunity so I am not taking that for granted.

When I took cataloging I was half and half about how I feel about it. Some of it is certainly hard, like creating a bib record and such. However, the organization of it all was so intriguing to me. I had been working also with Dewey for so long that you sit there and go wow, how did they come up with it and what do all the numbers mean. After today's session I think part of me was meant for cataloging.

It is apparently rare that someone creates a new Marc record for their library. The occasion of special materials is of course different. Now I hope that I am not wrong but I have noticed that most Marc records are imported and such and can be tweaked in regards to how your library is. That is basically how we will be doing much of the catalog and it seems I will be taking the bulk of it. But, not caring about the work load, I am SO excited. I will be learning all the fields again and such, even though the program allows us to basically fill it all in (its idiot proof in my opinion).

I am still of course in the early stages, but I am sure so much more will be happening!

Monday, February 13, 2012

"The Role of the Library and Information Science Professionals As Managers..."

Recently I read this article by Parvez Ahmed and Mohd Yaseen. The article discussed a comparison of managerial roles within the Library Field and also the corporate world. Similarly, skills that any manager in any setting should maintain are technical skill, human skill, leading skills, conceptual skill, planning level, organizing skills, controlling skills and decision-making skills. After reading this, many of these may seem like a given. I personally would hope that a manager would know these skills when they become one. However, some do not and sometimes you become that "accidental manager". I say accidental after being to a discussion on how sometimes that may happen in the library field. You may not wish to be one, but it may come your way at some point in your career.

However, going deeper into these skills Ahmed and Yaseen discuss how they are involved with the Library field. Take for example technical skill. We all must be aware of what our jobs involve. They use the example, "a surgeon must know hot to do surgery. An accountant must know how to keep accounts"(Ahmed and Yaseen, 2009, p.2). For a librarian manager, one must certainly keep up with the ever growing technology. One must be fluent with being online, troubleshoot new technologies, and also learn new technologies. Technology is growing at a extreme pace and for those in the library field they have to keep up in order to provide our services. Doesn't matter if its public or a special, one should be aware of new technologies to provide. One must also be able to handle changes. There are so many changes involved with libraries from funding, technologies, our patrons and so much more. One must be able to handle change but also be prepared and plan for those changes.

I for one am unsure if I want to be within the managerial role of the libraries, however sometimes it may just happen. This article gives a great insight of what one should expect being a manager within a library setting. They are similar to other organizations, however a librarian has to almost take those skills to the next level!

Ahmad, P., Yaseen, M. 2009. The role of the library and information science professionals as managers: A comparative analysis. Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, 10(3)

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Information Partnership: Recognizing a V.I.P.

Just finished watching this video for my Special Libraries Seminar Class. Both videos that I have watched so far have been interesting in the fact that the companies that talk about the libraries that service them, speak very highly of the services given to them. Repetitively said, is that Special libraries need to continually promote their libraries to the companies. Its a partnership, as this video states, where the goals on both ends should be the same. Knowledge and information is needed for companies to succeed. Having the library allows them to sometimes be ahead of the competition, know their competition, gain more knowledge about the product or such  the company services and much more.

Another reason why I do find this video interesting is because its from the early 90's. As much as you hear how valuable the library is to the company, id be curious to find more recent discussions about special libraries and information centers. Hospital libraries, in my opinion, are still essential in present times, but some may beg to differ with the ever growing technology of having ipads and iphones and what not. However, many of us within the field may argue that we allow less time to be spent finding the information.  In order for a company to recognize a V.I.P (valuable information partner) one must make sure that their library is a crucial asset to the company. Promoting, being one on one with staff, getting information in a timely manner but also maintaining accuracy with the information. Those mindsets stated in the video are certainly relevant today, but I would be curious to see how companies feel about their V.I.P's today. Would it still be the same want and desire.

 I am unsure because you hear of so many libraries struggling or budgets being cut. Its one thing to promote your libraries assets but sometimes they are the first to go within a company cut. OR the library is not taken away, but unfortunately the librarian was. We of course all feel that it is wrong for this scenario to happen but it does. Disney was one of those, where a librarian was cut but the library remained. So yes, I wonder what companies think of today's information centers!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Most Magical Experience

This morning, I got to visit the Disney’s Entertainment Music Library at the Hollywood Studios. I was thankful to have a contact that was able to achieve this for me. I am truly blessed to have been able to experience this. I have gone back and forth during my MLS what I want to do with my degree and sometimes I do go back to the music aspect and being a music librarian. Music is my extreme passion above reading. It will always have a special place in my heart, especially seeing that I have a tattoo of an eight note on my foot. So we know that aspect is never going away. Nevertheless, what an experience! People can make fun of me, but I honestly had tears in my eyes the entire time. I believe one because it was amazing and two because I used to be cast member and sometimes you miss certain aspects of Disney.

The Disney Entertainment Music library archives music from almost all the parks that Disney associates itself with, the hotels and also the cruise lines. It is not huge, mostly because you can now download music and keep most of it on the computers. (Also with back-ups on 3 hard-drives). Music makes a lot of Disney shows spectacular and this library houses all the music. They also archive music sheets and she was able to show me certain techniques but also some examples from the 60’s-70’s. It was just amazing to me. They are currently working on the music and entertainment aspects of the new cruise that is set to launch in March.

I got to tour the building, walk into recording studios, and voice over booths, studios where the orchestras came in. Sometimes even Joey Fatone shows up to use the facility. I was just in awe of everything and I wish I could have stayed there all day. I am excited that I was invited back to see more and I hope I can take up on that offer!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Volunteering

          So, yesterday began my first day volunteering for the VA library. For anyone who has worked for the government or have volunteered as well, you understand that there is a process before you begin. I have been waiting since mid-December, so to finally get started was an immense excitement. After expressing my interest I had to of course apply to be a volunteer. You then go through an orientation and then you have to take a background check. Nothing major (at least for now), just enough to know that you are ok to work within this environment. I will be in a hospital filled with veterans and personal information, and it needs to be known that I respect that privacy and have been a good citizen in a sense. After two weeks, yesterday morning, I was able to go grab my badge. Seeing and receiving that badge just made everything that I have started to work for feel complete. Let's face it, it’s official. Now, I am not naive. It doesn't grant me everything that a normal federal employee has access to, however, I feel that it will gain me the access later. It’s a step into my future and working within the VA or in any federal. (Even though at this point, I am leaning towards the VA). 
          I have been of course staying in contact with the library every step of the way, so when I finally got there I was welcomed immensely. It’s been a while since I felt that appreciated, especially within my current position. I learned about many of the projects that I will be working on. Most important of them all, is helping them produce an online catalog. Yes, they are still using a card catalog which is insane to me. I have not seen one since I was much younger, so it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to me, but almost stepping back in what I like to think of as history. I have already taken basic cataloging during my MLS, and I am feeling pretty comfortable with it and the librarian will of course be helping me in the process. This will be such an amazing learning experience having to dive right into a project like this. Currently, the items where I work right now are cataloged by of course catalogers, so my learning experience is just the “classroom”. I am personally a hands on person and I like to actually practice with it and actually do the project. It helps me learn the process much better. I will also hopefully be helping them with instructional media tools. I learned a lot of that last semester, but also have developed some tools for my current position as well. It boosted my confidence to know that what I have learned so far and my current accomplishes can help a facility become even better than what it already is. There are of course going to be basics like shelf reading. This task does not bother me because I surprisingly enjoy it because I am a geek at heart and like things organized when it comes to materials. I was able to already find materials that were not barcoded, or not categorized correctly. Most of this may sound as if the library is completely unorganized, but keep in mind, they will very soon be moving to a bigger facility, they just introduced a new librarian, so things happen and become disorganized. I’m personally happy to help.
          I hope to gain so much from this experience and I feel confident that I will. I like working and doing what I do. Library science has been an immense pleasure since I have started with my degree and I am learning at an extreme pace. With making the contacts, and working as hard as I have, making this connection and starting this volunteering is the perfect step into my future.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Extremely Excited

On Monday morning I will be touring the Disney Music Library! When I got the phone call back from the librarian I think I about died. She was concerned that I wouldn't like it necessarily because it is not your normal library for in fact it is a special library. Just what I want and need for my assignment. I keep trying to open doors for myself in every aspect. Will I get a job at a Disney library, not really sure, but its an interesting dream. Music is my other passion in life and to be able to access the archives to the music at the Walt Disney World resort is astronomical to me. There are many Disney libraries that I would certainly love to explore. For example after looking at the SLA directory of Special libraries I had found that there is a library for the Disney Imaginears. I may be a big geek when it comes to Disney but think about what that library has to offer. Certainly its more for employees, but to look back at their many accomplishes. That would be an insane special libraries position.

ITs been interesting reading on special libraries. I don't think many people think about them. Lately, everyone has been asking why would I want to pursue this because it seems like a difficult position to achieve. Well, yes, but who doesn't like a challenge. I have been working hard in school and I don't want to just settle. I find working for specific organizations to be interesting. I consider the VA a great example, where I will be volunteering starting friday. But it goes beyond that, when the teacher stated that the American Girl company had a library I was in awe. The possibilities to me seem endless.

Monday, January 23, 2012

It has been a while

It has certainly been a while since I have posted. But its a new semester and the time has come. It has already been slightly stressful getting back into the swing of things, especially when life likes to throw its challenges. However, I have to be excited at the future prospects. I am going to hopefully this friday begin volunteering at the VA hospital library. Its been a long time in the making, with background checks and such, but I am extremely excited. I really hope this puts me in the right direction for my future. Just having this one in can be the beginning to much more. Its that and I want to learn more beyond my job. I haven't learned much unfortunately so I am taking every opportunity that comes my way. This is the beginning of hopefully a great semester.