Hacking the Librarian: Evolving Personal & Career Development


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It's old news that librarianship is changing as a profession, and we understand that library professionals need to change with it. But how? How do you learn to see yourself 5, 10, or 20 years down the line when we have no idea what's coming next spring? Learn from someone who has bootstrapped herself from a tech-nervous newbie to a code-savvy web librarian over the last 20 years, and brainstorm ways to evolve all your strengths, skills and interests into your next big thing.

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  • Expect the change. You can’t totally prepare for it, but if you expect it, you’ve got a better shot at coping with it.
  • You might have heard at this conference things like – every librarian needs to know how to code. I disagree. I will never be a coder – no interest in diving that deep, not so good at debugging, Terminal makes me cringe.
  • Acknowledge your fears and rise to them
  • Specializing in content management, workflow, user experience, etc.Focus on your strongest, most interested areas, but stay aware of what else is out there. Just as true for non-tech: I was always better at reference than RA.
  • Hacking the Librarian: Evolving Personal & Career Development

    1. 1. Not a Geek  Bachelors in Film and English  Library Science concentration in Youth Services and Public Libraries  For fun:  Technical theater  Collage / assemblage  Beadwork  Live music / dancing  Writing
    2. 2. Surrounded by Geeks  My husband = sysadmin, network engineer, web performance consultant  My friends = every possible kind of geek Osmosis is awesome
    3. 3. Web Services Librarian?  1998 = Children’s Librarian  2003 = Adult/Generalist Librarian  2005 = EXISTENTIAL CAREER PANIC  2006 = Internet Librarian Conference  2009 = Branch Manager  2010 = Web Services Librarian
    4. 4. Web Services Librarian  Self-taught, entirely  Need-to-know basis  Build on what you know  Play – push the buttons  Become comfortable with discomfort (In other words, exactly what we tell patrons)
    5. 5. Expect Change  The days of staying in the same job / role forever are long gone  The Accidental… series  What's the Alternative? Career Options for Librarians and Info Pros by Rachel Singer Gordon
    6. 6. Stay Informed  Social media – friends & colleagues  Popular magazines & websites, pop culture sites  Gizmodo, Engadget, CNet, Slashdot, Lifehacker, ZDNet, Atlantic Cities, ThisIsColossal  SXSW, TED / TEDx  Major news sources: New York Times, BBC, CNN, Time, The Economist Tech Quarterly
    7. 7. Stay Informed Technical conferences – even if you don’t attend, skimming the session topics will tell you what’s important / coming  Tech: Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , Interop (general IT), Macworld, Velocity (web optimization), Defcon (security), NANOG (networks), LISA (sysadmin)  Gaming conventions: E3, Gaming Developers Convention (GDC)  thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2014/01/04/10-must-attend- tech-conferences-2014/
    8. 8. Don’t be afraid of the tech
    9. 9. Even if you’re afraid of the tech
    10. 10. We are more than our fears
    11. 11. Be Realistic Start with current strengths & skills Find directions in which to grow Do the job, push yourself Don’t force yourself to be what you’re not Focus on your strongest, most passionate interests Stay aware of what else is out there
    12. 12. Be Realistic  Sometimes, it’s a long slow slog  Sometimes, you use controlled bursts of energy  Sometimes, you need to just jump
    13. 13. Engage All of Your Interests  What skills have you learned in non-work environments that might be useful for your work?  What information and resolution about the world have you gotten from all of your interests?  How can you bring all this to your career?
    14. 14. List!  What is your current role at work?  What do you enjoy most about it?  What are your current interests, inside and outside of work?  What skills have these interests fostered?  List at least 5 things that you’ve discovered during this conference. (Ideas, technologies, job titles, anything)
    15. 15. Interact!  Pair up and exchange notes.  Read the other person’s lists (to yourself).  Does anything jump out at you – possible future roles, or themes / patterns?  Tell each other what you see. Any surprises?
    16. 16. Brainstorm!  Based on your lists and your partner’s feedback, what possibilities do you see?  Pick one and list what you need to follow up on it: training, research, money, time.  Is it doable – if not now, then in the next few years?
    17. 17. Thank you! Jennifer Koerber jennifer.koerber@gmail.com Web Services Librarian Boston Public Library Librarian, Trainer, Presenter www.jenniferkoerber.com/about/