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Library Usage on the Rise

I grew up in a pretty small town -- about 600 people in the "village limits" actually -- so when I think about using the library, I remember it being pretty much me and Mrs. L, our town librarian as the only people in the library on some days. (Mrs. L was also the wife of the Mayor, Assistant Football coach, and my 5th and 6th grade teacher and varsity softball coach. Funny side note: Mr. L now coaches the softball team at my high school rival, which is where SI Careers associate director, Joanna Kroll, went to high school). Okay.. I've digressed... but isn't that what blogs are for?

Back to topic: When I was meeting with the staff of the different libraries of New York City for Alternative Spring Break, I must admit, I was surprised that people were lined up outside the libraries in the morning waiting for the libraries to open (it wasn't exactly warm out, either!). These places were busy! And they were busy all the time! Although, New York City isn't exactly Small-Town, USA, still, with that thought in mind, I was not surprised to see that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted an article on the rise of libraries in the United States (Source). Between 1994 to 2004, the number of visits to the library increased 61 percent! There were 2 billion visits in 2004 to libraries in the US!

The article states that the use of the Internet is one of the causes of this increase, contrary to what many say as a reason for decline. I completely believe this; how many of us, when we have recently moved and need to use the internet because our home connection has not been set up, go to the local library? And think about all of the people in our country that do not have computers at home -- or Internet connections? When they do need to use the internet, for homework, for job applications, for looking up something they need to know, they go to the local public library. With libraries doing much more than providing access to books and computers these days, I don't think that it’s unrealistic to suggest that the increase in use of libraries will continue to rise.

So, it looks like a pretty good job market for our SI future-librarians! I just thought I would pass on the good news that you are needed and will continue to be needed. ~Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on May 21, 2007 at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

UM Librarians Forum -- What A Librarian Needs to Be

This morning, I attended the Librarians' Forum, which was a great event in which I got to hear updates on the new core curriculum, the new specializations, and the upcoming undergraduate program in Community Informatics.

The last speaker on the panel was a UM Libraries Employee. Kathleen Folger is the Electronic Resources Office at the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. She spoke briefly on what it is that they look for in the upcoming generation of librarians and I thought it would be nice to share this information with you.

The following are the characteristics identified as important in being a successful librarian:
*The ability to change and evolve with the pace of change -- Things seems to change around here pretty rapidly and its important to be able to stay in touch with what's going on in and outside of the library.
*Intellectual curiosity -- This is a must for a librarian; you must care about the questions that need to be answered and want to solve them
*Comfort with ambiguity -- Comfort may not even be the best word; embracing ambiguity might be more like it. This is a must for a career in which new questions and unlikely situations can arise everyday and the tools to solve those issues are evolving at an even faster rate
*Embracing change – (Are we seeing a trend here? It sounds like librarians are doing a lot of hugging these days!) SI students need to be prepared for a career in Library 2.0, not for working with all the stereotypes that exist now. It wasn’t said, but I would also assume that having initiative would go right with this desired skill; its one thing to say, “Everyone’s using a wiki; let’s use one too!? It’s another thing to be the person to implement the most popular new technology to reach out to users – and know about it before the users even do
*Excellent communication skills – This one doesn’t need any explanation… or does it? Communication can cover a variety of medias… blogs, email, person-to-person, management, team work, etc…. in all those forums, communication – and the ability to adapt to the different user types – is key.
*The ability to collaborate -- It's so important to be able to work with your users, but also to be able to collaborate and communicate with different divisions and also across distances.
*The ability to learn how to learn -- It was expressed that having certain skills are important; but those skills are not as important as the ability to able to learn new skills and technologies

Overall, what was expressed is that UM Libraries don't want a "boxed librarian" that came out of a boxed library program for their next generation of employees. They are looking for people that have great personalities and skills, and strongly value and appreciate the profession -- and acknowledge it as a profession -- and a very important one at that!

Posted by kkowatch on May 16, 2007 at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

The 100 Smartest Companies of 2007

Today, as I was perusing the internet doing some "research" on our new specializations, I came across a most unique list: The 100 Smartest Companies of 2007 (Source: eWeek.com.) Now, this list isn't measuring IQ or the most degrees per employee; it's just a little bit different that what you might think!

Baseline, an (internet) magazine/professional publication or sorts, calculated the "average value that has been created by a company's workers—everyone from the chief executive through middle managers to the lowest-paid staffers. Baseline's underlying assumption is that the smartest companies must necessarily be skilled at managing information."

I recommend that you check this list out -- you will probably be surprised at the top companies. Travelzoo is the top technology company, at number 5. Marvel Entertainment (yes, of the comic book fame) is in the top 25. You might find that you see some interesting employment possibilities through this list -- in industries that you never even considered to be top information users and managers.

Posted by kkowatch on May 15, 2007 at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

SI Alumni, Incentive Centered Design and Other Miscellany

I have to admit, before I applied to work at SI, I had never really heard of an information school. When I saw the posting, I thought, hmmm... information systems and programming, etc... that doesn't sound so very interesting. Boy was I wrong! I am fascinated by what everyone is studying here -- from library services (I wish now that I had taken advantage of my alma matas' librarians when I was doing research papers, etc) to the technology oriented stuff. I use the geni.com tree and del.icio.us and everything else that you guys are working on and and inform others about because its so cool!

The other thing that has been surprising for me is the great alumni and related employees that I keep meeting! A friend of my husband's family whom I have met several times, a former Media Specialist, is an alumnus. My ceramics teacher, now a full-time potter, is an alumnus of SI and spent years working at Proquest and Thomson Gale. Also in my ceramics class are two E-Commerce Consultants who work at Foresee Results. I asked these two girls what they do for a living the very day that I was doing some intensive research on incentive-centered design and I was struck by the coincidence of meeting not one, but two people who work in that very field. What they told me in our conversation is that Foresee Results is hiring! I looked at their website, and they are right: Satisfaction Research Analysts (SRA) and Team Leads, J2EE Programmer, Implementation Services Specialist, Business Systems Analyst/Project Administrator are all posted as open positions right now. My ceramics colleages said that they are lucky because the do really love what they do and they really love who they work for. I suggest you check it out -- the positions all sound interesting and they recruit from a variety of backgrounds, so there is something for everyone.

(ForeSee Results is the market leader in online satisfaction measurement and management. They utilize the methodology of the country’s most respected, credible and well-known measure of customer satisfaction, the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)."

Posted by kkowatch on May 11, 2007 at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

MSN's Best Non-Traditional Jobs for Men

I receive a weekly email from MSN Careers about up and coming jobs, etc and one of this week's topics was Non-Traditional Jobs for Men.

Number three on the Non-Traditional job list: Librarian! Check the article out -- you can find it at this link and the part about the librarian is pasted below. (Other Non-Traditional Jobs for men are Nurse, Dental Assistant, Teacher, and Receptionist.)

3. Librarian
Men make up 18 percent of all 110,000 credentialed librarians, according to the American Library Association. Public libraries, along with university and K-12 school libraries are the predominant places of employment for these workers.

Posted by kkowatch on May 07, 2007 at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

SI Careers on Facebook

We did it -- we took the plunge and created an SI Careers Facebook profile. We're the first SI office to do so and we are excited about who's going to be our "friend" and how this works in getting information out to you all in better way! Log on to Facebook now and join our group! Have a great weekend, everyone. Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on May 04, 2007 at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)