The CLA’s Speed Networking Event

Note: This has been cross-posted on the CLA student group’s blog.

On July 24th, I attended the CLA student group’s Speed Networking event at the Central Library. It was a small affair with big benefits. I was acquainted with various professionals who had great advice for the participants. It was also an opportunity to enhance my social skills and get used to developing connections as a growing professional.

The first person I met was Mary Kosta, an archivist at the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She is a recent graduate from Western’s MLIS program and it was interesting to hear her journey through the field, as she was a mature student. Kosta explained to us the principles of archiving while also giving advice about joining associations, signing up for listservs and partaking in the Young Canada Works program.

Second was Tom Adam, the Project Manager and Special Advisor to the Provost at Western Libraries. Adam is highly involved with copyright and educating faculty and students about respecting and acknowledging authors’ rights. He was passionate about the library as the centre to interpret copyright. For networking, he recommended attending conferences, as word about you spreads amongst professionals.

Sandra McKeown was third. She is a Clinical Librarian at the London Health Sciences Centre. McKeown went the extra mile and provided us with a comprehensive handout (see below) about a librarian’s duties at the hospital. She recommended connecting with Canadian Health Libraries Association and the Medical Library Association‘s listservs while also taking advantage of continuing education courses.

The fourth and final person I spoke to was Linda Ludke, a Selection Librarian at London Public Library. Ludke embodied enthusiasm as she talked about her involvement with collection development. She also published and read book reviews to help make her decisions. She explained in great depth the relationship librarians have with publishers and budgeting for books. Ludke reminded us to not overlook the potential of volunteering, as you can meet future employers and coworkers that way.


The speed networking event was a great opportunity to try new things. I handed out my first business cards and spoke to professionals I had never met before; this is what it’s like to connect with professionals in the library field at the micro level. I learned that it is easy to start a conversation. All of the professionals were eager to share their knowledge and experiences with students. If the CLA does it again, I would recommend you attend as it is an inexpensive yet golden opportunity to try new things.

For future participants, I recommend that you dress professionally, bring your business cards and prepare some general questions. Also bring a pen and paper to take notes.

Researcher’s Corner: Experiences that Influence the Outcome of Recent Grads’ Academic Library Job Searches

Lisa C. Chen:

This post summarizes this article:
The research showed that LIS students can improve their chances of obtaining an academic library position after graduation by doing a variety of things (details in the post).
I am not surprised by the results, as it shows that involvement outside the classroom is essential.

Originally posted on Hiring Librarians:

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this with you for a while!  I caught the authors’ call for participants on the NMRT listserv – although I didn’t fit the demographic, I knew the results of their research would be fascinating.  And they are!  I think this will be very useful for job hunters across the board, but particularly for students looking to go into academic libraries.

As three recent Library and Information Science (LIS) graduates, we know finding a position in an academic library can be challenging for new graduates. LIS students are frequently encouraged to seek out experience, network, and improve upon their technology skills in order to have marketable skills when they apply for positions, yet little research actually supports such advice. We decided to test the advice given to students and determine what academic and work experiences of recent LIS graduates most significantly influence the outcome of their…

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Researchers’ Corners: A Guide for the Evidence-Based Job Hunter

Lisa C. Chen:

Hiring Librarians has provided a list of publications that are related to the expectations of employers. I will definitely read this when I have the time and learn about the qualifications I need.

Originally posted on Hiring Librarians:

I’m so grateful to the authors on this list, who took the time to work with me to create a post that shared their recent research into LIS careers and hiring.  This list is in order of appearance on Hiring Librarians, from first to most recent.  Click on the underlined heading to go to the Hiring Librarians guest post, an informal summary of the research.  The citation will lead you to a more formal account.

Evidence-Based Strategies for Interview Success

Meghan Hodge and Nicole Spoor surveyed 430 people who hire librarians in order to discover the qualities and characteristics of a successful interview.  In this guest post, they summarize research that appears more formally in:

Hodge, Megan and Nicole Spoor, (2012) Congratulations! You’ve landed an interview: What do hiring committees really want?, New Library World, Vol. 113 Iss: 3/4, pp.139 – 161, 10.1108/03074801211218534

The New Archivist’s Job Search


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Paying Fines can be Fun

Hack Library School posted an interesting bit about a public library letting patrons pay off their fines by donating pet supplies to them, which would then be given to a local animal shelter. I was fascinated by such a creative take on a standard practice. I’m sure we’ve all dreaded paying our library fines. I have seen some patrons charged hundreds of dollars. I personally find late fees necessary, as we need patrons to return items.

I did a little more research to find other unconventional ways to pay off library fines and found that the Guthrie Public Library has a program between February and March where 15 minutes of exercise at a centre will remove $1 from your account.

Of course, these are programs that can only be implemented at a public library, but this is a way to generate enthusiasm towards paying fines and supporting a good cause.

Volunteering at WILU 2014

Western, from May 21-23, hosted the annual Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU).

I volunteered on the 21st and 22nd. I was a runner and directed people to certain rooms where workshops were hosted. I can’t emphasize how easy and repetitive it was and I encourage all library students to volunteer at future WILU conferences. I simply greeted and pointed people to specific rooms.

Here are the perks of volunteering:

  • It’s an opportunity to meet your colleagues in the program and ask them about their experiences and recommendations for courses. I was paired up with a recent MLIS graduate and she had great advice for which courses to enroll into and how to prepare for co-op applications. You will also work with other librarians. My experience in the  field is that many are eager to know about your progress and provide you with advice.
  • Volunteering was a short commitment; my two shifts totaled 6 hours.
  • You can attend some of the talks. Though I did not take advantage of it because of my schedule, it would have been great to attend.
  • You will get swag. Lots of it.

Not featured: The food I consumed.

Here are some tips for future volunteers:

  • Bring a phone/watch with you. It’s important to keep track of time if assigned with short shifts.
  • Know your surroundings. You may be placed on an unfamiliar part of campus. Make sure to know what’s immediately around you, such as the closest restroom, as you will definitely be asked that.
  • Keep a copy of the programme. The pamphlet will provide important information that you will need, such as the location of workshops and when they take place.

To get involved, just wait for an email calling for volunteers and respond.

Book Printing at the TPL

The Toronto Public Library is offering a new book printing service!


I will always be a writer first and an information professional second, so it’s exciting to know that as a Torontonian, if I decide to self-publish, I can print it at the library.

This is a great opportunity to have a book printed at a reasonable cost. Books can be between 40-800 pages and it can be anything from a cookbook to a dissertation.

I can see the makerspace/DIY trend going strong in the TPL, as they continue to offer other opportunities such as training you to use a 3-D printer among other things. Though I will not be entering public librarianship, I admire the initiatives by its staff and will definitely take advantage of what they offer.