The library profession

I want to start this piece by saying how much I enjoy my career. The time I spent in the Library and Information Technology diploma program at the University of the Fraser Valley was enjoyable and I learned a lot both about myself and my future career.

As I started to prepare for the panel session at the 2015 BC Library Conference I found myself reflecting on what it means to be a library technician, the education we go through, and the careers that are open to us. This isn’t something I do regularly but found it be to a good “check in” with where I am in my career and where I might want to be down the road. Thinking about the intersection of the two qualifications (librarian and library technician) within the library profession is another topic that I spent some time thinking about, and the bigger picture of libraries.

Some of my thoughts on these subjects may not be surprising or unique. To echo a fellow panelist “we are one profession with two credentials”. If library technicians and librarians are working in the same field with the same goals, why is there this divide between us? Is part of it a simple lack of understanding surrounding each other’s skills, education, and interest? Going through school I was told to be prepared for some resentment and push back from my potential library colleagues. Are librarians given “the talk” about how technicians may be looking to “steal” their jobs? Why is this even a topic for discussion? Since we are all part of the same profession, there should not be this animosity; we should be working together within our institutions.

I have heard from librarian colleagues that there is a fear of de-professionalization. This fear in not isolated to the librarian career path, library technicians also worry and wonder about their chosen field. Looking at the job market and career opportunities can be depressing at times. While at ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) conference in Portland this past March, I heard many schools talk about using graduate students on the Reference Desk instead of trained professionals to reduce costs and give librarians more time for projects and individual consultations (disclaimer: these statements were from American schools). This came as a surprise to me since I know library technicians who are not given shifts on reference desks, a service point staffed solely by librarians and my first thought was “why wouldn’t you want a library technician hired to work on the desk to allow librarians to focus more time on other duties”. In addition to that situation, some libraries don’t require a technician diploma to work on a circulation desk, potentially taking jobs away from graduates of a library program. Similar to a newly graduated librarian, library technicians face a rough economy with libraries experiencing budget and staff cuts, and part time and/or temporary work. Technicians are worried about their careers, and the job market is topic of interest for current students and recent graduates.

What’s my point with that? Rather than drawing a line in the sand dividing our shared profession, we should be working together to strengthen it. We should be educating our managers, community, and stakeholders of the library about the similarities and differences of our educational paths. We should be highlighting how a library benefits from having both technicians and librarians on staff, and collaborate on making our work environments a welcoming place. Because, when you really come down to it, aren’t we all in this profession for the same reason?


A Journey Into Finding a Career as a LibTech

“If I can only get an interview, they can see that I’m qualified and a good worker.” “Why aren’t I getting an interview?” “What’s wrong with me?” “Nobody wants me.” “Everyone else is getting a job, why not me?”

Those were just some my constant thoughts  while deep in my job search. Sometimes I told myself to just shut up, get out of that world’s smallest violin attitude, and pull myself together. Back and forth I wavered between being down and trying to be somewhat optimistic.

I graduated from Langara’s LibTech Program in June of last year (2012). I did not find a job until a few months ago. The cool thing was that it turned out to be the perfect job for me. Seriously, it couldn’t be a better fit if I had to pick and choose it myself. Continue reading “A Journey Into Finding a Career as a LibTech”

Phil the Web Crawler – Saving Library and Archives Canada, texting and walking illegal, Pinterest users liable for legal actions, FlipBook, and Internet Doomsday

– Should texting and walking be illegal?  Some cities think so.

– Save Library and Archives Canada campaign videos.

– UBC joins others in not signing a license agreement with Access Copyright.

– Speaking of copyright, an avid Pinterest user began to explore the details of the site’s terms of service which states that users are liable for legal actions stemming from the act of pinning images that do not belong to them.

– For kids old and young alike, including the kid in you, FlipBook now has an app for iPad that lets you make your own animations.

Canada places third in new international ranking of higher-ed systems.

– But not so fast Canada.  Michael Geist argues the education future may be here, but few Canadian universities have woken up to its implications.

– From the desk of Allan Webner with thanks: Hachette is offering new e-books to some libraries.

– Are you ready for Internet Doomsday’s arrival in July?  Check your PC now.

– Pakistan blocks Twitter over contentious tweets.

– Everything you wanted to know about E-Content is in this handy e-zine published by the American Library Association.

The Other Side: A Library Technician in an MLIS Program

I am at the halfway mark of my MLIS experience, and being asked to write a guest post for LTAIG made me very happy.

There are several important questions that library technicians should consider when thinking about library school. Continue reading “The Other Side: A Library Technician in an MLIS Program”

Phil the Web Crawler

– From hero to bum – Nancy Pearl: caught in the anti-Amazon backlash.

– Canadian providers of Internet service are not broadcasters, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday, exempting ISPs from government regulation and requirements to help finance Canadian content.

– Booksellers Indigo Books and Music and Books-a-Million join Barnes & Noble in refusing to sell Amazon-published books – but Amazon may be looking into opening their own retail stores.

– Would you boycott Apple? It’s the tale of two Apples.  (And Dell, and Sony and IBM parts and well the list goes well beyond Apple.  Check out other Chinese products to boycott as well here).

– Could SOPA Pervade Canadian Copyright Law? Media industry lobbyists push for Bill C-11 to increasingly resemble besieged US net piracy bill.  Michael Geist reports:

– 102 Essential Science Fiction Books for Your Kindle (or your library).

– How to celebrate your favourite book: 10 Cult Literary Traditions for Truly Die-Hard Fans

– A low tech way to get some high tech help: a model for libraries? ‘I Need Some Help Over Here!’

–  I was in my early early 20s living in the US south during this time period which makes this find extremely relevant to my life:  Lost Malcolm X Speech Heard Again 50 Years Later.

– The future of education is near and its’s mobile.  New Media Consortium Names 10 Top ‘Metatrends’ Shaping Educational Technology.

– This just in!  Library saved from the graveyard!  “The library was dying!” says Julie Hildebrand, recalling her feelings when she was promoted to the directorship of the Independence Public Library (IPL), KS

Phil the Web Crawler

– Why Neil Young hates MP3 and what you can do about it.

– Canada is number one! The ten most educated countries in the world.

– Elsevier Publishing Boycott Gathers Steam Among Academics.  Elsevier, the global publishing company, is responsible for The LancetCell, and about 2,000 other important journals; the iconic reference work Gray’s Anatomy,along with 20,000 other books—and one fed-up, award-winning mathematician.

– What IT Professionals Can Learn from Librarians.

– Jonathan Franzen recently mistakenly stepped away from his day job to speechify  saying eBooks are not for “serious readers”.  Yet when his latest book (I feel it was a brick  although I loved The Corrections) Freedom was published it was immediately available as an eBook on iBooks.  You can read the dead tree lover calling the e-kettle black here.  And the contrary view (thank you Sarah Felkar) here.

– Scholars Seek Better Ways to Track Impact Online: Researchers, librarians, and programmers work in a loose partnership to develop alternative methods of tracking research’s paths through social media.

– So where are the educational apps for adults?

A particularly electric episode of CBC radio’s “Spark” including Cory Doctorow on “The Coming War on General Purpose Computation” and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s Bryon Holland on Copyright and Open Internet

– A New Culture of Learning: Rethinking Education.

Conversation at the Cove with Guy Robertson

Guy at The Cove

If you are a LibTech alumnus from Langara College or a current student, then you know Guy Robertson — the instructor who could give a lecture describing building evacuation techniques without putting students to sleep. Since 1993, Guy has taught library history, bibliography, and records management at Langara. He is a published author and writes articles about various topics including emergency preparedness, fraud prevention, information security, and records managements for Feliciter.

His relaxed and conversational teaching gives students a welcome reprieve from Marc 21 and bibliographic searching. I found myself looking forward to his lectures (even the one that ended at 9:30 pm).

Recently at the Cove, a popular pub in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, I spent a couple of hours with Guy. We talked about his work, life and passions.  Incidentally, the Cove happens to be one of his favourite pubs. He has frequented it since it opened in the 1970s. Guy is candid and amusing; he shared with me his passion for reading and for travelling in Britain.

Continue reading “Conversation at the Cove with Guy Robertson”