Thursday, October 1, 2015

As October rolls in...

Here is a list of things we are currently working on:

  • Finishing our presentation for the C-EBLIP fall symposium 
  • Complying a list of peer reviewers to look at chapter submissions
  • Finalizing the contact information for our contributors
And I am very excited to announce that we received our very first chapter submission yesterday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lessons Learned: Reflections of a Term Librarian

Finding a job in an academic library is a little like riding a roller coaster.  What I have learned from this process, finally being able to successfully unbuckle my seat belt and get off of the ride, is that I have been selling myself short.  Perhaps this can be traced back to my time when I worked for a database vendor.  I was always a little bit scared of working with academic librarians, and choose instead to stay in the K12 and public library markets.  Academic librarians intimidated me.  I am not sure what compelled me during my time at Wayne State University to focus on academic librarianship.  Perhaps it was the ‘abundance’ of jobs in this sector.  Perhaps it was that the classes were more interesting in academic libraries, than in the other streams.  Regardless, I chose a path and here I am.

I worked in a glorious term position for three fabulous years.  I loved everything about my job.  The people that I worked with, the students, the work itself, teaching – all of it!  I felt competent.  I felt successful.  I had never dreamed that I would be a published author.  I never dreamed that I would be compelled to research and disseminate my finding; that this would be become a priority in my professional practice.  Every week, I say (to myself or to one of my colleagues) there is a paper in that.  I love it! 

But then the worse thing happened.  I wasn’t the successful candidate.  I didn’t get the job in the place that I loved.  So what then?  I had been wise enough to not put ‘all of my eggs in only one basket’ so there were other opportunities, but how do you go out into the world leaving behind a job that you loved?  I am not scared of change, but what about change that you did not choose for yourself?  How about change that was imposed upon you?  You are probably saying to yourself, most change is imposed on you from external source, so how can I say that I embrace change?  Well I guess here is the caveat; I have embraced change where I felt a sense of ownership, where I have been an active partner in the change, or that I felt there was a strong reason or purpose behind the change.  This change was simply too personal and I threw out all of those points and decided to be stubborn instead.

Enough about that.  So what?  So I had to apply for a couple of jobs?  Go on a couple of interviews, prepare a couple of presentations?  So what?  I was offered a job within 7 days of my last job finishing and I accepted within 10 days.  I was luckier than most.  I didn’t have to move to a new city, and my new job had a minimal effect on my family.  So why don’t I feel lucky?

As I reflect on the last 7 months, I believe these are the lessons I have learned:
·         There are pros and cons in term positions. 
o   The pros:
§  You learn the role and you gain valuable experience
§  Hopefully you proactively seek opportunities to work on committees, build programs, and you learn, learn, and learn some more!!!!
§  A term position is like a soft launch or a pilot project.  There are expectations, but they are not the same as they would be if you were in a permanent position.  They give you a chance to test the waters.  Explore the world of pre-tenure, without actually having all of the pressure. 
o   The cons:
§  You establish relationships that have an expiration date
§  You involve yourself in work that may extend beyond your last day.  Do you have the strength of character to continue working with your past colleagues?  I am finding this increasingly difficult.  At the beginning I wanted to hold on tight, but now I find it far too painful to see how they are moving along without me.  I am finding that I need to distance myself, because I need to protect my heart which brings me to my next point...

·         You have to give yourself time to grieve.  No matter what, it is a loss, even if you pick yourself up again immediately.  Even if you hold your head up high and smile through your sadness.  It is ultimately a loss and you need to give yourself time to heal.
·         A wise woman once told me to place ‘trust in my competence’, a fancy way of saying ‘believe in yourself’.  The lesson here is surround yourself with people that support you and believe in you.  These individuals make you into a better person and are worthy of your respect and admiration.
·         Hopefully you learn to believe in yourself and your accomplishments.  In the beginning, I experienced many sleepless nights.  I was concerned that I would never find success again or find a job that I loved as much.  Well we all know that is not true.  But I haven’t yet found my spark.  I haven’t yet found my place in my new work force.  I mostly feel uncertain.  So the lesson here again is patience.  It is not like I was immediately successful in any of my past work places.  It takes time, and you have to give yourself that time. 
·         Find someone who has a really good cover letter and ask them for advice.
·         Write a new cover letter for each place that you apply to.  This part I found very hard, but it is true, you need a new letter each time.
·         Put yourself out there.  I was incredibly surprised by the response that I got, once I did.  I was the one holding me back.  I should have been applying for every job that interested me along the way.
·         Be loyal to yourself.  At first I thought of all of my accomplishments as the institution’s accomplishments.  Now, I try to look at them as an investment in myself.  All of that hard work was for something.  It established me as a librarian worthy of note.  Even though I am no longer involved with those projects, I gained wonderful examples to discuss at interviews.  They gave me fabulous ideas that I bring with me; experiences that I can share, experience that I can freely offer to my new employer. 
·         When I worked in the private sector where layoffs were frequent, I used to say, “work until you are told otherwise, and make sure that they miss you when you are gone”.  I think this advice holds true in term positions.  Make sure that you find value in the work that you do and perform it to the best of your ability.  I choose to think that I had an impact in the lives of the students that I worked with.  Perhaps they simply learned that there was a friendly person in the library who was always willing to help them.  Perhaps it was larger than that.

So, would I do it all over again?  Of course, in a heartbeat.  Ultimately my experience led me to where I am today.  You can only move forward and learn from the past.  Learn to be grateful and to acknowledge your gratitude.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Badge of Honour

I used to feel like I walked around with a badge of honour on my chest.  I was so proud of where I worked and the work that I did, that I placed the institution high up on a pedestal and thought that my role within that institution was worthy of my pride. 

My question becomes: is it the institution that fills me with pride, or is it the wonderful individuals that I work with?  Where is the motivation stemming from?  How does the institution sell itself?

I am guessing that you could work at one of the most prestigious universities or colleges in the world, but if your colleagues are not welcoming, if there is not a strong organizational culture that fosters growth, development, support, respect and kindness, that you will not end up enjoying working there.  Prestige merely of the institution is not enough. 

So… are you lucky enough to have a job or are you extremely fortunate to have found a job, an institution, and colleagues that you love working with.  Do you look forward to going to work every day?  And is that what fills you would pride and places that badge of honour on your chest?

Monday, August 24, 2015


  • We recently issued a last call for contributor agreements.  As of today we are only missing one.  There was a fair bit of confusion as to who sent what in and who received it.  
  • We will be presenting at the C-EBLIP fall symposium at the University of Saskatchewan this October on contracts - so watch for some key take-aways later in October.  
  • Our publisher requested complete contact information for our contributors
  • And finally, we requested feedback about the contract process from all of our contributors; re: presentation above
As it gets closer to the October 31st deadline for chapter submissions, the work and the need to organize the project is increasing.  I haven't even began to think about my own contribution.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Library Researcher Series

I wanted to share this beautifully written article by Rachel Sarjeant-Jenkins about a team that I had the privilege of working with for the past 3 years. Good friends, colleagues and teachers!  What an honour to be in your company.

Librarian Journal Club

I have been a member of the C-EBLIP journal club for the past year.  As a member, you are responsible for hosting one of the meetings, choosing an article and then leading the discussion.

Here is my blog post, summarizing the meeting that I hosted:

BTW - such a great initiative as part of the C-EBLIP centre activities.  I have enjoyed all of the articles that we have read over the past year, many of which, I would have never read otherwise.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


The greatest thing that I have learned from being an instructor, is to be brave.  It can be incredibly daunting to stand in front of a class and try to convey your message in a way that is interesting and engaging.  Especially when the class may not be interested in what you have to say or it might not be at a time in the semester when they recognize the value of the information.

The strength and courage that I have gleaned from the process of teaching has helped me in every other aspect of my life.  It helps me to be brave when faced with a difficult situation.  It also forces me to never give up.  To ameliorate, to strive for 'bigger and better', to truly seek life-long learning.  It compels me to step out on that stage time and time again, even though I am nervous, even though it would be easier not to.