DEANA - Hello everyone and welcome to Rebranding Librarianship: Building a Knowledge Alliance. My name is Deana Greenfield and I am an instructional designer based in Chicago. I am also a Knowledge Alliance recruiter. Over the next hour you’re going to hear from 5 other Knowledge Alliance Recruiters from all over the country as we detail some of the many successes of the Knowledge Alliance recruitment program:
Robert L. Jones is the PLSC State Data Coordinator and Youth Service Consultant at the Illinois State Library. Robert’s work at the Illinois State Library includes administering and monitoring grant programs and facilitating public library data collection in Illinois.
Steven D. Booth is an archivist for the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C. where he preserves and provides access to presidential and vice presidential records.
Holly Smith is the College Archivist for Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, a historically black institution founded in 1881. The College Archives collects materials related to Spelman and its constituents, and as a component of the Women's Research and Resource center, also documents women of the African Diaspora involved in feminism and social justice movements.
Isabel Gonzalez-Smith is an Academic Resident Librarian in reference and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests include user experience, assessment, and diversity in the library profession.
Hannah Lee is a Senior Assistant Librarian in the Student Multimedia Design Center at the University of Delaware. She coordinates the multimedia literacy program of instruction, where she collaborates with faculty on digital literacy instruction, teaches classes on things like digital storytelling and video editing, and assists students in creating multimedia content.
DEANA So what is Knowledge Alliance? Here is a little bit of background on our project.
Knowledge Alliance was envisioned as a national diversity focused recruitment strategy to recruit ethnically diverse high school and college students to pursue careers in librarianship.
Our project is administered by the ALA Office for Diversity and is currently funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
As a group we first met at the 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego. Through an application process, 35 eager early career librarians were selected to develop recruitment materials and serve as ambassadors for the librarianship profession.
Many of us had previously participated in other successful diversity recruitment program and continued our involvement within them. For example, I was a 2008 ALA Spectrum Scholar and I’m currently the Chair of the Spectrum Scholarship Jury. But like many of us I wished I had had more information about librarianship as a career earlier on.
Our experiences made us eager spread the word our profession and as a group we brainstormed ways to develop a stronger presence at local career, education, and cultural events geared towards high school and undergraduate students.
DEANA – One of the ideas we came up with was the need to strengthen our online presence and offer a variety of mentorship opportunities to students interested in careers in librarianship.
In Spring of 2012 our Online Knowledge Alliance Mentoring Platform went live with the theme of “Meet your Ally”
DEANA – Through the Knowledge Alliance website, we had a platform to highlight upcoming recruiting events across the country where interested students could meet us face to face and hear more about opportunities in our profession.
Another benefit of having our online portal is that we were able to launch the “Find Your Ally” initiative where students could search a database of Knowledge Alliance recruiters by geographic location or similar interests. Through this service people can meet mentors online.
And as interested students register on the website, we are able to increase follow-up and engagement rates with interested individuals and provide a means for multiple diversity recruitment efforts to access this data.
The development of a Knowledge Alliance “Leads or Contact management system” is an extremely valuable resource to track and assess the effectiveness of in the field recruitment efforts.
DEANA - Here are a few screenshots highlighting the “Find Your Ally” service – as you can see Knowledge Alliance recruiters have written short profiles explaining their professional roles and interests.
Interested students can browse these profiles until they find someone with similar interests or other connections.
Recruiters have provided interest “tags” so someone exploring the site could search for all mentors under “health sciences” for example – and then they might be introduced to the lovely Emily Chan who specializes as a liaison to health sciences departments at San Jose State University Library.
Through this site it is easy to send a message to a potential mentor or “add them as an ally” for later contact.
DEANA – The idea of the “Find your Ally” program is to use this online portal to pair interested students with geographically accessible mentors. As you can see we have recruiters spread out throughout the country and within Canada.
In addition we are always looking to add additional Knowledge Alliance Recruiters who are 3-5 years into their career and who come from diverse backgrounds, career paths and geographic locations
DEANA – Animated click through
We just wanted to give you a visual representation of the numerous dedicated volunteers who represent the Knowledge Alliance across the country and even in Canada
Between March 2012 and 2014: 3000 new mentee profiles have been created on the Knowledge Alliance site, and there have been over 10000 participants in 70 local career, education, and cultural events
And now I’m going to turn it over to Robert who is going to talk about his experiences as a recruiter
ROBERT – let me tell you BRIEFLY a little bit more about what I do
ROBERT – as a Knowledge Alliance recruiter here’s how I have focused my participation
ROBERT - this is how I have found participating in this project rewarding – READ BULLETS; NOW I’D LIKE TO HAND THINGS OVER TO STEVEN TO TALK MORE ABOUT HOW WE FUNCTION AS A NETWORK OF RECRUITERS
STEVEN – the Knowledge Alliance is a team effort, in addition to volunteering together at events we take the time to get to know one another and to support one another in mentoring the individuals we meet through the website and in person. For instance, I try to connect every few months with another recruiter – Yani – who worked at the National Library of Medicine to keep familiar on her availability, projects and interest so that I might refer future health science librarians to her.
STEVEN - now that we have completed the design and learning phases of this project, we have started to grow the number of recruiters participating. We are all responsible for continually reviewing the mentors participating on the website, and learning more about their careers and interests so that we might connect prospective students with the best mentor.
STEVEN – in addition to learning about one another, we try to continually advance our awareness of opportunities that would be of interest to those entering the field. Be it a new fellowship for undergraduate students (PITT OPPORTUNITY), new people who can speak to getting active in a particular professional association, or through building relationships with potential employers such as Joy, pictured here, who worked in outreach and recruitment for the Smithsonian – there are a number of ways recruiters can advance their own awareness and information about people and initiatives that can best support an individual’s interests and skills.
STEVEN– here’s just a small sample of the feedback we get in response to our follow-up, every interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate that LIS professionals are knowledgeable, helpful and supportive no matter your goals
STEVEN – following up with everyone you meet is such a huge part of how the Knowledge Alliance has established itself as a brand, and how it functions as an advocacy and recruitment tool for the profession. I’D LIKE TO HAND THINGS OVER TO HOLLY TO TALK MORE SPECIFICALLY ABOUT HOW TO BE AN ALLY.
HOLLY - I'll discuss how to develop and maintain positive mentoring relationships with those potential recruits you connect with at Knowledge Alliance activities or through other connections. I'll also talk about my rich and rewarding experiences connecting with young women who I am proud to say are Spectrum Scholars (Lori, Tiff Henry, Olivia, and Barrye
HOLLY - One of the first things is to make a connection to the person, and to put an actual face to the library and information science profession. It's also important to share your own personal and professional journey so people can understand and hopefully learn from the path you took - challenges and opportunities (CLICK SLIDE TO SHOW PICTURE)
HOLLY - It's also very important to create a relationship that will be mutually beneficial to you and your possible mentee. I have had the experience of meeting people who were very interested in the field, to people who didn't know you needed a degree to work as an LIS professional. It's also important to guide people to the right individuals and organizations to help them with their own interests (example of Zora and her interest in medical librarianship
HOLLY – I’ve personally had the pleasure of mentoring a number of the newest Spectrum Scholars as they apply for scholarships. Every individual I meet gives me so much back in return – moments to celebrate and connections to interesting work like Olivia’s digitizing the history of a small rural town in North Carolina through her summer research fellowship! NOW I’D LIKE TO TURN THINGS OVER TO ISABEL TO TALK MORE ABOUT HOW WE EXTENDED THIS PERSONAL TOUCH TO A LARGER NUMBER OF RECRUITS THROUGH A SERIES OF EVENTS THIS SPRING.
ISABEL As mentioned earlier, my name is Isabel and I am a librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago and am a new Ally for the Knowledge Alliance. I have participated in a career fair representing Knowledge Alliance and I co-organized/co-hosted the Chicago Essential Information workshop.
What is Essential Information? To build on the momentum of the personal interactions mentioned previously, the ALA Office for Diversity worked with a number of hosting institutions (public, academic, and LIS degree programs) to coordinate 1-2 day networking workshop called Essential Information to help prepare prospective LIS students for graduate studies and to introduce them to a large network of potential mentors.
The 5 workshops took place in May 2014 and were made possible by 20 volunteer organizers. The workshops were held in Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and NYC.
ISABEL The workshops were intended to impart tools for preparing for and funding a graduate education as well as to introduce participants to career options and mentors. Some intended outcomes for participants include a committed network of mentors resume/essay writing help tips for financing graduate education and tools for discovering and re-evaluating career possibilities in LIS
ISABEL The workshops followed a similar outline of activities and afforded attendees many ways to interact, ask questions, and learn more about one another. These events also encouraged use of multiple library spaces! On the slide, we see the Chicago agenda. (quick run through) Day One Personality style exercise Keynote speech by college library director, activist Careers panel - librarians from various institutions Networking with local professionals, reception Day Two FIELD TRIP to public library Graduate student panel - LIS student experiences Talk tables
ISABEL– There’s no wrong way to let people know about a free event to learn where they can learn more about career opportunities! We spread the word for the Essential Information workshop through many avenues including good ol’ Word of Mouth, reaching out to Library schools, Knowledge Alliance booth events at college and career fairs, library HR departments and bulletin boards, and career centers. We also had help from the ALA Ethnic Caucuses like APALA, REFORMA, BCALA and more who spread the word on their listservs. Lastly, the student workers and paraprofessionals in the hosting institutions were made aware of the opportunity and even students available the day of the workshop were able to join in on the workshop.
ISABEL– The students who participated in the Essential Information workshops expressed a lot of appreciation. Students had Opportunities to network with local professionals Exposure to library and information career possibilities and Greater understanding of graduate expectations
ISABEL – The student participants gained so much over the 2 days, however, the Professionals benefited too. I remember a librarian thanked me for inviting him to participate to the Chicago Essential Information workshop because he too gained much from the experience.
Librarians enjoyed giving back to the LIS community by sharing their career experiences with potential future librarians and inspiring their curiosity and providing a friendly face for them to feel more comfortable and welcomed.
No only did librarians give back, they also had an opportunity to work on their elevator speech - sharing what they do for a living to an audience not familiar with the LIS world - an invaluable skill.
Lastly, the Essential Information workshop professions had the opportunity to expand their network of local peers. For example, in Chicago, we had local librarians from all kinds of institutions but we also had colleagues come out from other parts of the Midwest like Wisconsin and Minnesota. Many of us had seen each others’ names before but it was a great experience to put a face to the name and have a connection.
DEANA – Ask panelists, What was the top highlight/memory of YOUR workshop? STEVEN HIGHLIGHT: HOLLY HIGHLIGHT: ROBERT HIGHLIGHT: ISABEL HIGHLIGHT: intimate setting (veronica story) HANNAH HIGHLIGHT: HANNAH: and now I’d like to share a little bit more about how participating in this program has positively impacted all of the professionals who have volunteered through it
HANNAH – as part of our efforts to promote this project and assess it’s impact, we have surveyed the recruiters who have volunteered through it and here are just a few quotes from recruiters about their experiences in the Knowledge Alliance. As you can see the program supports the professionals participating in it as much as it supports prospective professionals, we look forward to sharing the impact the project has had in a series of upcoming publications and conference presentations.
HANNAH – the program highlights the need for more diversity within the profession and supports dialogue about change, it enhances recruiter’s advocacy skills, it strengthens the support networks between newer professionals – here’s one more quote from a recruiter about all the ways in which they have benefited through participating.
HANNAH – now that we have heard about how this project supports both recruitment AND retention of a diverse workforce, let’s talk about next steps – who here is interested in seeing this work continue?
HANNAH – the good news is that IMLS has generously extended this project through until Spring 2015, which gives us time to collectively think about what happens next! We’re seeking partners to help us keep the exhibit circulating and to support our volunteers. We also invite you to utilize our materials and to help promote opportunities of interest to prospective and current LIS students through the Knowledge Alliance. You can also keep us advised of recruitment events in your area.
HANNAH – individuals, especially those from groups underrepresented in the profession, who have completed the degree can consider signing up to volunteer as a Knowledge Alliance recruiter and mentor. We work with volunteers who have had professional experience in the field but also who completed a degree recently enough to be conversant with the current realities of graduate education and career seeking. Training and minimum time commitment requirements apply. We also welcome students to utilize the site to find a mentor and to consider blogging through the website about their experiences entering the profession!
HANNAH – Please join me in thanking all of our presenters and all of the volunteers who have made the Knowledge Alliance a reality. We have a little bit of time for questions so we invite you to share comments and questions now!
Building a Knowledge Alliance
Rebranding Librarianship -
Building a Knowledge Alliance
Steven D. Booth
How We Began
Administered by the ALA Office for Diversity and currently funded by the
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
35 early career librarians convened in San Diego in January 2011 to reflect
on what drew them to the field and discussed recruitment strategies
Messaging tested at informal events
and refined with feedback from
new and prospective professionals
Knowledge Alliance @ Seattle Midwinter 2013
Online Mentoring Platform
Site goes live
Multiple Ways to Connect
Find events and find LIS
Professionals based on
location and/or interests
Explore Potential Mentors
Meet an Ally
Online activities paired with accesible mentors
distributed network of
mentors help us recruit
at events in each
Building the Alliance
more places, more mentors,more connections!
3,000 new mentee
Public Library Statistics Cooperative (PLSC) State
Data Coordinator – facilitate annual data collection
from public libraries.
Youth Services Coordinator – Administer and
Monitor School Grant program
My daily work with public and school libraries is a
constant reminder of the beneficial services and
programs we offer. It’s the reason why I do
recruitment…the impact of libraries is immeasurable!
Knowing why you do it, helps your recruiting.
Recruiting reminds you of why you do it!
Robert @ the Illinois State Library
Represented the Knowledge Alliance at 4 events in IL, 1 in NY, 1 in NJ and have presented about
the program at two conferences
Made friends with Career Services Offices at colleges and universities
Used the internet to identify events
Built relationships in the state of IL with faculty and students
Northern Illinois UniversityPace UniversityRutgers University
Getting out there, one recruiter’s story
Reaffirms career choice
Enjoy connecting with students
Reconnecting with colleagues and making new
Advocating for libraries
Supported by employer
Expanding opportunities for others
Why I do it!
Chicago Essential Information Workshop
Putting the Knowledge
into the alliance…
Part of a growing, mutually supportive network of professionals
Early in their careers but experienced in career options
Interested in the unique skills and perspectives students bring
Constantly learning about the profession
Generous with their knowledge
Recruiters are not:
Know-it-alls (but we thought about it)
Know Your Allies
you’re not in this alone
KNOWLEDGE+ALLIANCE [dot] org
• 43 recruiters nationwide and growing
• profiles include elevator bio, interests & reading list
• learn about other mentors and what they can offer those
entering the profession
Expand Your Knowledge
familiarize yourself with options of interest to students
ALA-accredited Programs | U.S. News Rankings
Spectrum Scholarship | ARL Diversity Initiatives
ALA | SAA | AAM | SLA | ARL
AASLH | MLA | AALL | ARMA
ALA Joblist | I Need a Library Job | Archives Gig
Extend the Knowledge
Reinforce the tenants of the profession with every interaction
I really enjoyed speaking with you and
your colleagues and left excited about the
possibility of a library/information science
career. I've been exploring the ALA
website and plan to look into accredited
Mila, Howard University Career
Thank you so much for these resources!!
I'm so glad I got the chance to meet you.
Sarah, American Historical Association
I wanted to thank you for taking the time
to speak with me yesterday. I'm so
inspired by you and your journey. You
caught me at the right time while I decide
on my next academic steps. I was up for
hours last night looking at all the Library
Studies programs listed on the ALA site.
Shaina, Howard University Career
I cannot express how great it was to meet
you at NCCWSL last Friday! I expected to
go to the conference and learn new things
about myself and new skills to implement
but at this point in my college career I did
not expect to learn about a career path I
was never even cognizant of and actually
become really interested in exploring new
possibilities for graduate school and
beyond. Talking to you has truly opened
my eyes and expanded the horizon.
April, NCCWSL Career Fair
Extend the Knowledge
Reinforce the tenants of the profession with every interaction
It was a pleasure to meet you, Steven!
Thank you so much for sending the
information -- those resources look like
exactly what I've been looking for.
Jessica, American Historical Association
I wanted to email you to thank you again
for taking the time to read my resume,
give me information on ALA internships
and careers, and share some quality
laughs with me(!).
Katy, NCCWSL Career Fair
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me
about the cross overs with museum work
and library archive, special collections,
and digitization. I appreciated your helpful
words, advice, and opening up my
perspective to also look into registrar
entry level jobs, in addition to my search
Sarah, NCCWSL Career Fair
Thank you for the list of suggested web
sites... You were the very first person I
talked to at the job fair, so thank you for
setting the tone in a positive direction.
Paulette, American Historical Association
Reap the benefits
your support network grows when you support others
Olivia Dorsey, 2014 Spectrum Scholar
"I am so thankful to have been connected
to Holly – her contagious spirit knows no
bounds. Because of her excitement, I have
realized my strengths and because of her
encouragement, I have been further
motivated to use my strengths to my full
potential with the knowledge that anything
Five events, five cities, 20 volunteer organizers!
Essential Information Concept
Intended outcomes for participants:
Committed network of mentors (graduate students and professionals)
Resume and essay writing resources and assistance
Tips for financing a graduate education
Tools for identifying and re-evaluating career paths in evolving industries
Personality style exercise
Keynote speech by college library
Careers panel - librarians from
Networking with local professionals,
FIELD TRIP to public library
Graduate student panel - LIS
Real Colors Exercise
Keynote: Use Your Voice
Career Options Panel
Networking: “Ask Me About..”
Venues: Richard J. Daley Library, Hull House Museum, and
Skokie Public Library
Spreading the word…
Word of mouth – volunteers tell everyone who’s ever asked about their profession, utilize social
media and encourage their peers to do the same
Area library schools asked to contact students from orientation events, admitted students who
never enrolled, and incoming students
Information shared at Knowledge Alliance booth during college and career fairs earlier in the
Spring – come here to continue the conversation!
HR departments in public libraries, bulletin boards
Career centers in area colleges, universities and city colleges
AILA, APALA, BCALA, CALA, REFORMA, ARLIS, ARL help spread the word
Student groups at UIC
Students in the library that day!
Opportunities navigated, realities discussed…
Veronica Cajigas has been
interested in library school for a
year. As a woman of color, she
hoped to see more racial diversity in
the profession, and this workshop
was an eye-opening experience. “I
knew I wanted to become a librarian,
but after attending the event,
hearing the speakers, and meeting
with mentors, I’ve never been more
determined to actually focus and
accomplish that goal.”
“Diversity plays an important
role in my consideration of a
graduate program because I
will be seeking mentorship to
help me develop an LIS course
of study that addresses my
interests in Ojibwe Language
revitalization, tribal libraries
and archives, and curriculum
Taina K. Evans, library information
supervisor at BPL, said that the event
allowed speakers and panelists to share
their passion for their unique role. “It’s
safe to say that everyone left with a new
found drive to impact the library
profession, with an understanding that
it’s not what the library profession can
give to you, but what invaluable service
you can add to the entire community.”
Why the Alliance
supporting people already within the profession
“I feel like I'm an ambassador for librarianship.”
“Being a Field Recruiter has helped me tremendously. Now I am able to communicate about what I do in a succinct, clear, and
concise way as well as discuss the broad opportunities within the profession.”
“Being a librarian that doesn't fit the mold (young and Latina) has been difficult on various fronts, but having the opportunity to
serve as a role model and inspiration to future professionals makes the hardships worthwhile. The added boost of confidence
has come from interacting with other librarians across library types and geographies and learning their stories. ”
“This program has had a huge impact on me in various ways. I feel that I have been able to give back that much more to my
profession and to programs and people that have helped me get to where I am. I am also much more comfortable discussing
librarianship in general. Another good part is that my participation in this program has also impacted my library. I am currently
working in a metropolitan area with very little diversity, so just making people aware of diversity issues within librarianship here
was a huge thing.”
“I'm more aware of my presence in Librarianship from a diversity perspective. The story of how
I came to Librarianship and how what I do benefits society is front and center when I meet
anyone new. The impact of practicing my elevator speech, interacting with other librarians, and
talking to potential recruits has increased my confidence exponentially.
I would often feel out of place as there are very few librarians I've met who have similar
experiences to mine; things have changed greatly since I got involved.
The support I've had from my employer and co-workers as a result of this program is incredible.
I'm now a go-to resource for my colleagues helping students who demonstrate an interest in
Why the Alliance
supporting people already within the profession
Raise your hand if you
would like to help us
keep the momentum
Library schools, associations and organizations can all work together to fund the
Knowledge Alliance moving forward, contact email@example.com for more
information on how to co-sponsor Knowledge Allies at career and job fairs.
Share information on scholarships, volunteer opportunities, jobs and internships
targeting pre-professionals with firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion on the Knowledge
Identify local events where the Knowledge Alliance can connect with and support
prospective LIS students from underrepresented groups!
The Knowledge Alliance
a collective effort
Early career librarians currently working in the field can visit
knowledgealliance.org for information on the expectations of
Current students are invited to blog about diversity and their
experiences in degree programs on the Knowledge Alliance
The Knowledge Alliance
a collective effort