Monday, August 25, 2014

On Librarianship, Community Relations, and Temporality

At the International Federation of Library Associations World Library and Information Congress, this slide caught my eye.
I responded with
I understand the teleology behind Lor's graphic here. Librarianship is a critical profession, and I believe that information and knowledge can be emancipatory. However, when I'm giving directions to the restroom, or showing someone how to navigate our sadistic printing process, my end goals are not social justice.

To that end, it may be useful to think of Lor's terms as temporal variables, as seen below.

And another time, snapshot 3, may look different. In a meeting with campus stakeholders, for example, I would continue to use the language of social justice, as it fits with the mission of my place of work, but I would also use more "return on investment," and talk about our service to and participation in our community, perhaps labeled "clientele" here. That is, at different times, in different situations, we relate to our communities differently, and we should be strategic about those relations.

Lor's presentation was based off a paper, which is available here as a pdf. His discussion of the graphic above starts on page 6, and is based off his experiences with libraries in South Africa. It's an interesting read.

Friday, August 15, 2014

We're Hiring!

Our reference librarian is leaving, and it feels kind of like losing a limb. What I'd like to do is make a smooth transition from something like this

To this

though hopefully with a happier ending.

Indeed, the title of Reference Librarian doesn't fully capture what this position might entail. At present, I function as something like Head of State for the library, representing it outside the building, to our community, to consortiums, and the like, whereas the reference librarian is the Head of Government, managing much of what happens in the physical library with regards to reference and access services, including our library instruction and information literacy efforts, and our admittedly meager interlibrary loan program. I've taught our outgoing reference librarian how to copy catalog, and I'm happy to do the same for any and all new hires.

If you have a sense of humor, curiosity, a desire to learn and experiment, and a commitment to higher education and justice for all (see what I did there?), well, then this job might be for you.

Actual webpage via HigherEdJobs.

In addition, we're also hiring part-time staff, either at the librarian level, or the intern one, aimed at graduate students in Masters of Library and Information Science programs. Both are paid. Details on this position, these positions, here.

A few notes on hiring:
  • I don't know the salary range for the position of Reference Librarian, and I understand if this sets off all kinds of red flags for you. Our Human Resources department keeps me in the dark on such things, which is both a blessing and a curse. It will be enough to live on in DC, which isn't cheap. It probably won't be enough to allow you to buy a house without other sources of income.
  • My place of work is a predominantly minority institution (PMI), as classified by the Department of Education, and we are an Equal Opportunity Employer. We take both of these very seriously. Representation is important. 
  • If a job is posted and you apply for it six hours later, that sets of all kinds of red flags for hiring managers. It tells us that you may have a canned cover letter ready to go and not given much thought to who we are, what we do, and how you, the applicant, might fit in. Like buying a gun, give it twenty-four hours. Think it over.

Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, and good luck.