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Tips for Interviewing: Your Best Self

I saw a lot of discussion about this blog on a couple of the listservs I subscribe to -- and then a SI student sent the link to me. There is some great advice here about writing cover letters and interviewing, especially that of your search should be not about how great you are but about what you can do for the organization. Its a bit quirky, a bit irreverant, and I don't agree with everything that she says, but it gets you thinking. Enjoy!

Your best self Part of: Librariana

“Be your best self,� I told my students about job interviews. Two elements to that: being yourself (not somebody else), and putting your best foot forward.

Why on earth does this seem to be such difficult advice to follow? I am irked at what some librarians think is sufficient and acceptable behavior on the job market. People, I am gonna tell you this stuff once, and I don’t ever want to have to say it again, okay? Don’t make me go for my stompy boots.

If you cannot write a business letter, you have no business being hired as a librarian. That means the fiddly little bits like finding an actual name to write to, and putting a colon (a COLON, not a COMMA, and if you don’t know the difference you have no business with a baccalaureate degree, never mind a master’s) after the letter salutation. If I am on the search committee, damn straight I am not your friend. I might like to be your friend someday—but for now, I am a professional acquaintance and you’d better treat me as such. There are books and websites about business letters. Read and ponder.

The question you are trying to answer in your cover letter to me is not “Why are you awesome?� It is triply not “What do you want?� I don’t care what you want right now. (I will care once I decide to interview you, but I’m not there yet if I’m just staring at your application package.) The questions you are trying to answer are “Why should I hire you? How will you solve my problems?� You had better speak compellingly to that, and “I am awesome!� is not a compelling answer by itself. How do you know whom I want to hire, and what my problems are? I told you in the job description I wrote. This is why your cover letter needs to repeat as many of my buzzwords as possible.

In other words, your cover letter is all about me. No, that doesn’t seem quite fair, but it’s what will get you an interview. Look, I’ll tell you a secret, okay? I’ve been on search committees. The way we do the first cut on applications is to sit around a table with a grid in front of us. Across the top of the grid is a list of the skills we asked for in the job description. Down the left is a list of applicant names. We sit there and we check off boxes. If you don’t have enough boxes checked when we’re done, you’re chucked. Get it now?

The other thing that will get you chucked is telling me why I should chuck you. I should not have to say this. It is common sense. But some cover letters I’ve seen go all-out to “aw, shucks� me into dumping the app into the garbage. Don’t do this. It is not charming, not endearing, not amusing, and (worst of all) not helpful to either of us. It is inane, people. I don’t want to hire somebody who focuses on their faults. If nothing else (and there’s a lot else wrong with that attitude), they’re depressing, and I don’t come to work to be depressed.

(I even know of one or two people who bring this behavior into interviews. Well, look, if you don’t want the job, why are you bothering exactly?)

It’s simple. If you have a skill I want, highlight it. If you don’t, look for experience or education that will transfer over well, and highlight that. If that comes up short, look for something that speaks to your aptitude, and highlight that. If you’re completely at sea, shut up about it. Maybe the rest of your skills will cover for that one area. Maybe not. Maybe we’ll see a transferable skill that you didn’t think of. Maybe not. But pointing out the deficiency will get you chucked, every time.

(When backed into a corner at interviews, mention transferable skills, say you’ve been reading the literature and are rarin’ to go, talk about how you learn fast—just do not say “I don’t have any idea how to do this� or “I’m scared of it.� Ever. Do not. Chucksville.)

Believe it or not, I understand the cold feeling in the pit of the stomach from feeling whole leagues out of one’s league. Been there, done that. I have never been so intimidated in my life as I was facing a roomful of scholarly-publishing muckety-mucks in London. I was lucky to have a sprained knee to distract me from stone-cold terror. But there are two ways to respond to that. You can hunch your shoulders, turtle up, and mumble self-deprecating mumbles, which only makes you look foolish—or you can go for broke. Maybe you’ll still look foolish; there are no guarantees in this life. But there’s a chance you won’t. A chance, against a certainty.

New MLS holders tend to put their education first on their résumés. I get that you’re proud (I do!), but this is greenhorn behavior. Don’t do it. Lead with experience. Why? Because everybody in the pool has a bloody MLS, okay? That doesn’t set you apart, and you want my eyes to light first on what sets you apart. The only time your MLS coursework is going to count is if you’re short on experience and we have to test for aptitude instead. So put education later, except perhaps in the (somewhat rare) case where you have another advanced degree (master’s, professional degree, or higher) that is directly on point for the position. For example, if it’s a business bibliographer or liaison position and you’re an MBA as well as an MLS, by all means put education first. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Nothing guarantees you a job in this field, sad to say. Some things, however, absolutely guarantee that you won’t land one. Please avoid them. Please. Source.

Posted by kkowatch on March 24, 2008 at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

Post ASB - Library of Congress Article

The Site Coordinator at the Library of Congress for SI-ASB 2008 provided me with this article that is going to be published in their employee magazine!


The Library of Congress has hosted interns from the University of Michigan School of Information during their Alternative Spring Break since 2005. The University has linked with a number of institutions to provide work experience for future information brokers. This February, ten graduate students chose the Library to work on week-long projects offered by various divisions. Judging by the many enthusiastic accounts, the experience was very positive on both sides. Associate Librarian for Library Services, Deanna Marcum, both welcomed and “debriefed� the interns during their stay. The many mentors did a superb job providing among other things a behind-the-scenes view of the stacks and visit to the Members Dining Room in the Capitol.

Tiffany Chao’s most memorable experience was the scanning and processing of a rare Chinese atlas from the Ming Dynasty (Da ming yi tong shan he tu). She worked with the Digital Team at the Geography and Map Division whose Chief, John Hébert, noted that Tiffany was also responsible for 225 images on the American Memory display, JumboScanner and Digibook Scanner training, creation, entry, and maintenance of Microsoft Access databases, caption texts for use in the American Memory display, as well as learning and using G&M Safe Handling practices. See Tiffany's project.

Other interns were equally busy. Prints and Photographs as well as the Science, Technology and Business Division hosted two interns each: Megan Cooney and Katherine Goodwin at P&P, Angelique M. Richardson and Cheryl Whitfield at ST&B. According to Megan, P&P staff made her feel like “employees for the week� while she was learning about the Library’s Name Authority File and the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials.

Being able to view such diverse items as “photographic prints by Edward Steichen, engravings by Albrecht Durer, and Japanese woodblock prints, was extremely rewarding.� Katherine Goodwin enjoyed her access to the National Photo Company Collection.

Angelique Richardson said: “I loved working on my project in the Business Reference Section. The staff in my section and in the entire Library have been nothing but helpful and friendly. Everyone is always willing to help you find your way or to answer your questions. This experience has definitely made me more interested in business reference and in the Library of Congress as a place to work one day.� Among other things, Cheryl Whitfield created a question for the Everyday Mysteries in the Science Reference Services and then researched and answered the question suggested to her by her ten-year-old son. The answer, “your heart does not stop beating when you sneeze.�

The papers of Albrecht Weber, a prominent 19th century German orientalist, received intense scrutiny from Jennifer Henderson who worked in the Asian Division on archiving the collection and creating a finding aid. “This project was my first real hands-on processing project. Allen [Thrasher] gave me permission to decide my own method of organizing everything, which was great (and at times slightly overwhelming). I tried to organize the materials so they would be easy to use as a researcher based on various research interests. This opportunity was amazing, and throughout my future career I know I will look back on this internship with fondness,� said Jennifer whose German skills came in handy for the task.

Rebecca Welzenbach received many thanks for her survey of the uncataloged volumes from the Berman Haggadah Collection Project. The collection consists of a wide variety of Passover Haggadahs from a number of sources.

“After losing my way in the LoC corridors multiple times this week, finally, on the last day of my internship here, I found the AMED offices with no problem!� said Rachael Dreyer w ho spent her time with the African Section Pamphlet Collection.

Katherine Swart updated one or two of the Read More About It booklists, compiled a new list to accompany the Abraham Lincoln papers, and began work on the Thomas Jefferson list. Additionally, she answered two online reference questions and learned about the chat reference system.

Wenbo Wang is not a library major, but now after working with Judith Cannan and IDTD staff, “as an inspired semi-librarian,� he is thinking of switching his major to library information services.
“Energy, Library of Congress is full of energy,� he says.

More information about the University of Michigan School of Information Alternative Spring Break may be found at http://asb.si.umich.edu/2008/index.shtml.

by Taru Spiegel, (program coordinator)

Posted by kkowatch on March 18, 2008 at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

ASB Internship: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

More internship opportunities associated with ASB Sites:

National Museum of the American Indian Internships

Complete listings can be found at http://www.nmai.si.edu/collaboration/files/NMAIProgramGuide_ENG_interns.pdf

The Internship Program provides educational opportunities
for students interested in the museum profession and related fields. Interns complete projects using the resources of the National Museum of the American Indian (nmai) and other Smithsonian offices. Internships are an opportunity for students to learn about the museum’s collections, exhibitions, programs, and methodologies and to meet professionals in the museum field.

There are four internship sessions held throughout the year. Each session lasts approximately ten weeks and interns will receive hands-on experience through a variety of assignments. Most assignments provide interns with museum practice and program development experience; some may be more research oriented. Interns are expected to work from twenty to forty hours per week. Some interns choose to find a part-time job to help pay for expenses during their internships. Internship application deadlines* and ten-week internship session dates:

October 10
Winter: Starting first full week of January

November 20
Spring: Starting third full week of March

February 6
Summer: Starting first full week of June

July 12
Fall: Starting last full week of September

Internships are offered at the following locations:
 nmai Cultural Resources Center in Maryland
 The National Museum of the American Indian in
Washington, D.C.
 nmai George Gustav Heye Center in New York

NMAI Cultural Resources Center
4220 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746-2863
Located just outside of Washington, D.C., the Cultural Resources Center houses nmai’s collection of more than 800,000 objects, representing indigenous cultures throughout the Americas. Internship opportunities are available in the Community and Constituent Services, Conservation, Collections, Photo and Paper Archives, Photo Services, Registration, and Technology departments.

National Museum of the American Indian
Fourth Street and Independence Ave., SW
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012

Opened on the National Mall on September 21, 2004, the National Museum of the American Indian is a major exhibition space for Native art and material culture as well as a center for educational activities, ceremonies, and performances. Internship opportunities are available in the Collections, Cultural Arts, Exhibitions and Public Spaces, External Affairs and Development (which includes development, public affairs, membership, special events, and product licensing), Graphic Design, Information Technology, Public Affairs, and Visitor Services departments.

National Museum of the American Indian
George Gustav Heye Center

One Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004

The George Gustav Heye Center opened in 1994 in the newly renovated Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in lower Manhattan. The Heye Center features temporary exhibitions and a range of public programs. Internship opportunities are available in Cultural Arts, Education, the Film and Video Center, the Resource Center, and External Affairs (which includes development, public affairs, membership, special events, and product licensing) departments.

Posted by kkowatch on March 13, 2008 at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

ASB Participant Blog

Another ASB Participant (Chenedy Schioperay) sharing their SI-ASB 2008 Experiences...

Project: Scanning Invertebrate Illustrations and Maps
Location: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Intern: Cheney J. Schopieray

For the SI Alternative Spring Break week, I worked under Molly K. Ryan, scientific illustrator, in the Invertebrate Zoology (IZ) division of the Smithsonian Natural History museum. My labor comprised the tail end of a larger effort to digitize the entirety of the IZ original illustrations – most of which had been previously published (1902-c. 2004). The work itself – as expected – was slightly repetitive, though entirely worth the effort for exposure to particular scanning equipment (e.g. the Zeutschel OS10000TT) and to have a glimpse at the Smithsonian’s digital reproduction standards.

The staff of the Smithsonian went out of their way to provide tours to non-public areas (the “mummy vault� and the Rare Book Room). In addition to the work, I was able to attend a meeting at the Library of Congress regarding the Congressional Research Service division, led by Jan Johansson, Angela [ ], (both SI alums) and Robert Newlen. This was a fine opportunity to hear about the CRS and the sort of work they do. And I am officially well over the suggested 100 word target.

Posted by kkowatch on March 13, 2008 at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

ASB Internships: The Paley Center for Media

Another internship opportunity that resulted from SI's ASB program... this one is with The Paley Center for Media in New York City.

If you are interested in this opportunity, apply via the instructions provided, but please also let me know (kkowatch@umich.edu).

The Paley Center for Media
DEPARTMENT: Research Services

Description: The Research Services Department creates and maintains a wide-ranging archive of information on all aspects of television, radio, advertising, and communications. Interns help organize the extensive amount of information received daily and may be assigned to special projects as well.

Interns assist in the processing of this growing information archive by selecting, clipping, and photocopying daily newspapers and periodicals. They also help answer research queries from the Center's patrons and staff, documentary filmmakers, directors and producers, television networks, fact-checkers, and the general public.

Qualifications: A broad interest in television and communications and an interest in research methods. Interns should be very organized, able to work on several projects at once, and have knowledge of microfiche research techniques. A willingness to handle clerical tasks is required.


All interested applicants should send a completed application, résumé, and two letters of recommendation (either academic or professional) addressed to:

The Paley Center
Internship Program
25 West 52 Street
New York, NY 10019

Additional internship descriptions and the appliction can be found at this link. I've also pasted the additional internship listings in the Extended Entry...

The Paley Center in New York invites qualified students to take part in the ongoing Internship Program, a structured and rewarding program designed to provide unique insight into the worlds of network, cable, and international broadcasting, as well as valuable experience in museum administration. Credit may be available through the student's school. This is not a paid internship.

Interns assist the Paley Center's staff members in nearly every phase of daily work, as well as on special projects geared to the student's skills and interests. Interns are assigned to specific departments for a semester or a summer. The departments include Curatorial, Library Services, Public Relations, Creative Services, and Research Services. At times, the Vice Presidents' Office may need an intern for a special project. It is recommended that applicants have basic clerical and word-processing skills, as well as any other specified knowledge required by the individual departments.

Listed below is detailed information on the nature of the internships within each department, including a description of duties, qualifications, and an application form. A completed application and personal interview (which may be done by phone in some instances) are mandatory for all internship candidates.


All interested applicants should send a completed application, résumé, and two letters of recommendation (either academic or professional) addressed to:

The Paley Center
Internship Program
25 West 52 Street
New York, NY 10019

Click here to download the application (PDF format).

For additional information, please contact the Internship Office at (212) 621-6615.

Below are brief descriptions of the various departments and the qualifications needed to participate in our Internship Program:

DEPARTMENT: Curatorial: Television, Radio, and Advertising

Description: Responsibilities of the curatorial intern may include assisting department staff in completing paperwork for incoming donations, conducting research on programs in the collection, viewing and/or listening to collection programs for content, preparing clip tapes for public programs, and writing descriptions of programs for use in the Center's literature. Interns are also expected to help with basic administrative work. Past interns in the department have tailored their internship to match a specific area of interest within their academic background, professional skills, and career goals. Responsibilities can be designed to meet student needs.

Qualifications: Strong research and writing skills, as well as professional office demeanor required. Candidates with a background in media or museum studies are desirable.


DEPARTMENT: Information Technology

· Answer telephone calls and e-mails from end users requesting technical support for desktop problems
· New PC installations and moves
· Log support calls into tracking system
· Hardware upgrades: memory, hard drive, CD-ROM, PCI cards
· Software installation of Windows 2K/XP, MS Office Suite
· Keep inventory of computer hardware and supplies

Qualifications: Good telephone and writing skills, ability to work independently

Days and Times:
Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 p.m.

DEPARTMENT: Library Services

Description: Interns summarize television and radio programs, and use the Center's and external reference sources to supplement information about programs listed in the Paley Center's Library Database. They add data about episode titles, series run, running time, and prominent production and cast credits, as well as nuances about program content. Interns also undertake significant research projects which lead to data updates for the Library Database.

Qualifications: Interns must have strong writing and analytical skills. Accurate computer skills are essential.


DEPARTMENT: Public Relations

Description: Interns assist the public relations department in all aspects of PR and audience development including organizing mailings and mailing lists, compiling information for press kits, updating press lists, writing press releases, and assisting the publicists in coordinating the media for all screenings, seminars, and special events. Interns assist the department in identifying marketing and audience development opportunities through various local outlets and via the Internet. Interns also interact with other departments throughout the Paley Center, including curatorial, special events, education, registrar, development, and others, in order to help the department achieve its objectives.

Qualifications: Strong verbal and written communication skills, creative thinker, good telephone etiquette, computer skills, and interest in public relations and marketing.


DEPARTMENT: Research Services

Description: The Research Services Department creates and maintains a wide-ranging archive of information on all aspects of television, radio, advertising, and communications. Interns help organize the extensive amount of information received daily and may be assigned to special projects as well.

Interns assist in the processing of this growing information archive by selecting, clipping, and photocopying daily newspapers and periodicals. They also help answer research queries from the Center's patrons and staff, documentary filmmakers, directors and producers, television networks, fact-checkers, and the general public.

Qualifications: A broad interest in television and communications and an interest in research methods. Interns should be very organized, able to work on several projects at once, and have knowledge of microfiche research techniques. A willingness to handle clerical tasks is required.


DEPARTMENT: Special Projects: Vice Presidents' Office

Description: This internship will occur on a project basis. Projects vary in scope and need and might not always be available as a choice for an intern.

Qualifications: Strong verbal and written communication skills, ability to work without constant direction, good telephone etiquette, and knowledge of word-processing.


DEPARTMENT: Visitor Services
While Visitor Services does not offer an internship, we do offer the possibility of part-time employment and volunteer positions following a mandatory visit to the Paley Center and an interview process.

Description: The responsibility of a Visitor Services Representative is to assist the Paley Center staff in providing information directly to the public concerning both the Center's activities and television and radio in general. Visitor Services Representatives assist in all public areas of the Paley Center, including the Paley Center's screening rooms and theaters, library, and front desk, and they work closely with the Librarian in answering public inquiries concerning radio and television by using the Paley Center's collection and printed reference materials.

Qualifications: Employees must have good communication skills, a professional appearance, and a willingness to approach visitors. Previous customer service experience is preferred.


DEPARTMENT: Creative Services: Graphic Design, Web Design

Description: The Creative Services Department is seeking highly motivated interns to help lay out Quark templates such as ads, postcards, and pamphlets, scan photographs, archive files, make comprehensives, and perform general typesetting. We are also looking for individuals to assist with the programming and layouts of web pages: create Flash animations, update web text and images, and render illustrations. Your hard work will be rewarded with recommendation letters and an association with a prestigious institution.

Eligibility: Third- and fourth-year college students whose academic and/or professional experience combines graphic design and web programming are preferred. Communications-related and computer programming students are also eligible. If you expect to earn credit for the internship, you must include a statement from your school to that effect.

Length: February to April; September to December. Eight hours per day and at least two days a week.

Qualifications: Candidates should have working knowledge of hand-code HTML and related web technologies. Intermediate knowledge of Adobe ImageReady/Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXPress, Macromedia Flash.

To apply: E-mail your résumé and state in your cover letter the following: the days you are available, the maximum hours to which you can commit, and an area of general interest in your studies to the Design Director. Also, please submit three design JPEGs and/or at least two web URLs via e-mail. For this internship you do not need to fill out the general application. (No phone calls.)


DEPARTMENT: Creative Services: Editorial Assistant

Description: The Creative Services Department is seeking an enthusiastic intern to help in many aspects of production for a variety of projects, including website, postcards and flyers, and gallery spaces. Responsibilities include administrative support, copyediting and proofreading, making accurate corrections in computer files, help with photo research, assisting with galleries, and editorial maintenance of our website.

Qualifications: Candidates must be highly organized, have an excellent knowledge of grammar, and be able to pay close attention to details. Must be able to work on many projects simultaneously; knowledge of Quark, Word, and HTML is preferred.

To apply: E-mail your résumé and availability to the Managing Editor. For this internship you do not need to fill out the general application. (No phone calls.)

Posted by kkowatch on March 13, 2008 at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

Non-Profit Job Resources -- from Idealist.org

I received this message from Idealist.org -- they have developed a new book on nonprofit careers which might be a good resource for those of you that have targeted that industry for your job or internship search.


I am writing you from Idealist to tell you about a new resource we just launched to help people understand the nonprofit sector, and the range of opportunities within it.

This free book, the Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers, is written for everyone from first- time job seekers to experienced professionals, and includes chapters on:

- Nonprofit Speak 101
- How to Find a Career or a Nonprofit That Is Right for You
- Networking: Is It Really All About Who You Know?
- How to Make Yourself a Stronger Candidate
- Evaluating Organizational Culture

And much more. The whole thing is online at http://www.idealist.org/careerguide

Click on the link to see the table of contents and to download each chapter separately, or the whole book as one PDF file.

If you have any questions or comments about this guide, feel free to write us through this link: http://tinyurl.com/yto65m

I also want to take this opportunity to tell you about our upcoming series of Nonprofit Career Fairs. Coming up this spring, with between 50 and 150 organizations tabling in each city, are:

- Minneapolis, March 31
- Washington , April 2
- Indianapolis, April 8
- Philadelphia, Apr 10
- Los Angeles, Apr 15
- Atlanta, Apr 22
- Chicago, May 20

For more information about any of these fairs, and to sign up, please visit:


And if you have a question about these fairs, please use this link:

Lastly, we've recently collaborated with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Meyer Foundation, and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services to conduct a survey about the future leadership of the nonprofit sector. The results, with a full report about them, are now online at:


We hope you find all these resources useful, and we really appreciate your help in sharing them with friends and colleagues in your networks.

Thanks, and all the best,

Steven Pascal-Joiner,

Posted by kkowatch on March 11, 2008 at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

Consulting - McKinsey & Company Discovery Weekend

McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm with nearly 8,500 consultants in 89 offices across 50 countries, is holding an exciting summer program for students working towards advanced professional degrees: Discovery Weekend.  This program will give non-MBA advanced degree students an insider's look into management consulting. The comprehensive seminar will cover a range of topics important to those who are exploring alternative career possibilities.  Agenda for the program will include an overview of management consulting, an introduction to the type of work we do, a management consulting case study, and an opportunity to interact and network with colleagues and participate in social activities. 

Chicago, Illinois
Friday, August 22 - Sunday, August 24, 2008 Application deadline: June 15, 2008 http://www.apd.mckinsey.com/jump/discovery.asp

Qualified Applicants for Discovery Weekend should be:
pursuing a non-MBA advanced degree (Ph.D.s, Post-docs, J.D.s, Masters*, M.D.s, and Medical Interns, Residents, and Fellows) Completion of degree program by 2010 Residing in the United States or Canada Available to attend the entire event starting Friday evening, August 22 through Sunday afternoon, August 24 African American/African or Hispanic/Latino students are strongly encouraged to apply

No business experience required. All expenses will be paid by McKinsey & Company.

*Eligible 1 - 2 year Masters degree students must have received a Bachelor's degree before July 1, 2005.

Learn more and apply at www.apd.mckinsey.com/jump/opportunities

Posted by kkowatch on March 11, 2008 at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

Post-ASB Internships... here they come!

I've been following up with the ASB sites to talk with them about internship opportunities. Many sites indicated that they were very interested in having at least one SI student back at their organization this coming summer to help them out with their organization's initiatives and programs. Here's the first of what I hope is many internship updates resulting from ASB. This is a result of our partnership with Cabrini Connections - Tutor/Mentor Connections in Chicago. You can also find this at this link and I'm going to post it on iTrack.

In late February an intern from the School of Information at the University of Michigan spend a week working with Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection. Here's a blog post about that internship.

We're now recruiting interns from different colleges and universities to support our information and collaboration strategies. Below is a description of this process. If you would like to intern with Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection in one or more of the work categories described below, just email tutormentor2@earthlink.net and we can explore ways for you to get involved.

Role of Summer Intern with Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection

Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection (CC, T/MC) is a small organization with a big vision. We live this quote every day in the way we collect and share information intended to help build more and better tutor/mentor programs in low-income inner-city neighborhoods. We lead an innovative strategy that works on three levels:

• we mentor hundreds of organizations in Chicago and around the country that provide tutoring/mentoring services to thousands of inner-city and at-risk youth

• we mentor and coach business, philanthropy, media, and other institutions to help them be more strategically involved with mentoring programs that aim to help youth move from poverty to careers

• we mentor teens and volunteers at a Cabrini-Green area program called Cabrini Connections

While the Cabrini Connections is a single, site based tutor/mentor program serving 70-80 7th to 12th grade teens from the Cabrini Green area of Chicago, the T/MC has been developing a comprehensive marketing/distribution strategy to support the growth of volunteer based programs like CC in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago. Through the Internet, we are learning from people from around the world, while sharing ideas that can be duplicated in other cities.

The T/MC has been creating a library of tutor/mentor program information to support this strategy since 1993. It began piloting marketing/pr actions to draw attention to this information and encourage idea sharing and collaboration among tutor/mentor programs in 1994. However, the T/MC did not begin to integrate the Internet into its actions until mid 1997. Since then, the T/MC has developed a variety of innovate, Internet-based strategies to mobilize public involvement and to distribute essential resources into tutor/mentor programs in every poverty neighborhood of Chicago. A search on Google under the key words "tutor mentor" results in T/MC web sites appearing in the first listings.

Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection (CC, T/MC) seeks the support of interns from the School of Information to “quicken the pace of its progress�.

These interns will support project management, knowledge collection and analysis, programming, software and hardware acquisition and will help the T/MC stretch the application of these technologies in its on-going commitment to expand the availability and quality of comprehensive mentoring-to-careers programs in Chicago and in other major cities. T/MC will share its learning and innovation with its corporate and university partners and the non profit community, making them available to tutor/mentor programs, community networks, and education, health and human service networks, throughout the nation.

Depending on the skills and experience level of interns, these are projects that a summer intern might work on:

· On-line Tutor/Mentor Learning Network – Knowledge is the T/MC's greatest asset. We are creating an internet based learning and information sharing system that draws from the best technology of businesses that are already building “knowledge libraries� and creating “just in time� access for any user. Interns will help collect and organize this information, maintaining data already on the http://www.tutormentorconnection.org site, and creating visual tools to help users know what information is available to them, and why it is important to a city, a business or university, or an individual tutor/mentor program.

· Collaboration - The T/MC has used its knowledge of tutor/mentor stakeholders to create an information sharing system that encourages the transfer of good ideas from one program to many programs, while encouraging stakeholders to connect in face-to-face and virtual forums with each other, and with the T/MC's library of "best practice" information. T/MC has built social networking sites and seeks to add state-of-industry collaboration tools to its technology offerings, along with staff to facilitate the interactions of organizations and information. Interns with knowledge of social network analysis, or with collaboration and communications skills would work in this area.

· Geographic Information Services (GIS) – The T/MC has piloted the use of maps and charts to create a visual information system that speeds understanding of complex issues and leads to a more consistent distribution of resources to all places where they are needed. T/MC seeks interns to work with this GIS platform to create a library of maps that can be used by business, universities, volunteers and donors to decide where to get involved, based on the location of a program, or a poverty neighborhood, in relation to a business, church, hospital or university. Interns working with the GIS project will create map view on demand to map current events, such as media stories about inner city violence or poorly performing schools.

· Public Awareness/Volunteer Donor Response – The T/MC has grown from an idea to an organization that recognized throughout the world as a resource for tutoring/mentoring leaders. This is the result of an on-going public awareness strategy that uses the knowledge and maps the T/MC creates to draw visibility, volunteers and dollars to all neighborhoods where tutor/mentor programs are needed. Interns who can create on-line video, flash, and other visual communications of T/MC messages will create media for distribution via Internet channels to increase the number of visitors to the Tutor/Mentor Learning Network and draw an increasing number of volunteers and donors to every program in the Chicago area.

· EVALUATION - T/MC has piloted on-line documentation and journey-mapping tools that show the impact of a virtual network such as the T/MC, as well as the long-term impact of tutoring/mentoring on youth and volunteers who participate in such programs.

At Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection we've piloted this thinking on two levels. In 2000 we began to create an Organizational History and Tracking System (T/MC OHATS) to document actions the T/MC takes to achieve its goals. You can review this at http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net/svhats/default.asp . At http://www.pflaws.com you can review a new version of the T/MC OHATS with a METRICS page that summarizes the data being collected. We seek an intern who can work with this data to help create better understanding of the impact the T/MC is having.

A second version of the OHATS, focused on the student and volunteer journey in the Cabrini Connections program, SVHATS, was started in 2003. An intern might work with the current SVHATS to add automated information aggregation and reporting features. The initial SVHATS was developed by an intern during fall 2003. While he was able to build the information input systems, funds were not available to continue fine-tuning the system to encourage youth and volunteer use, nor to add the aggregation and reporting features, or survey features, that would enable staff and evaluators to more easily view the data in report form, thus increasing uses of the information for analysis and process improvement. We feel that in a one-week internship, some of these components could be developed and added to the system. SVHATS was developed as a web interface using Microsoft technologies that allow students and volunteers to document their interaction/experiences and day to day activities.

Interns working on this project should have competence in: Programming Languages: ASP (Backend), JavaScript (Frontend) Databases: Microsoft Access 2000 Editors: FrontPage 2000/Dream Weaver Images: Photoshop, Fireworks Server: IIS Server 6.0, Windows Server 2003 The technologies that it can be extended to include: Programming Languages: ASP.Net (backend), JavaScript(frontend) Databases: SQL Server 2005 Editors: FrontPage 2000/Dream Weaver Images: Photoshop, Fireworks Server: IIS Server 6.0, Windows Server 2003 GIS Technologies: Live maps (Microsoft), Google Maps This system is currently hosted by Brinkster.com

Summary: The technology strategy of CC, T/MC is broad, and constantly being improved by the talent and time of volunteers who work with us. Within this strategy there are a variety of different information-based projects. Thus, potential interns can align their own interests, and skills, with specific parts of this strategy, and thus have a significant impact on the work of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, as well as on their own learning.

Posted by kkowatch on March 11, 2008 at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

ASB Update: Cabrini Connections/Tutor Mentor

Now that I'm officially back from ASB, I'm getting lots of follow-up and positive feedback from the sites. They are sending articles and postings about the experience of ASB and the impact that it makes on their organizations.

Cabrini Connections, a tutor-mentoring program in Chicago, run by Dan Basil, was so pleased to have SI student Dawn Barton help him out during the week of ASB. He has many more projects that SI students can contribute to, so if you are looking for a summer internship at a non-profit, let me know! He's got a project for just about every interest, so if you've got something in mind, he can work with you.

Dan sent me the following link from a Cabrini Connections Forum in which our program is mentioned that I wanted to share: Link

The entry about Dawn and SI's ASB program is at the bottom. I want everyone especially to take note of Dan's comment, "Information and knowledge management is such an important part of any organization, yet non profits seldome have money to devote to having someone on staff focused on this. Thus, building partnership with a university where student manpower can meet the non profit's needs, and the non profit can meet the teaching and learning needs of the university, offers a great fit."

I totally agree with this statement and we hope to continue our partnership with Cabrini Connection in the coming years through ASB and internships.

Posted by kkowatch on March 10, 2008 at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

Career Resources for those Targeting Chicago

An SI alumnus working in Chicago that I met while visiting sites for ASB provided me with the following job search resources to share with you... These are focused on LIS jobs in the Chicagoland area. Enjoy!

Metropolitan Library System (one of nine regional Library systems: http://www.illinoislibrarysystems.info/ab_systemmap.html )

C. Berger:
(They post a lot of library temp jobs in the area).

SLA Illinois has some good links to job sites:

And it probably wouldn’t hurt to identify local area colleges, universities, museums and other related venues and see what kinds of job sites they sponsor (which you may already do).

These all skew towards library type jobs…not sure if there are additional resources for some of the more HCI and other more technically-focused or information policy type jobs.

Posted by kkowatch on March 05, 2008 at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

SI ASB 2008 Students on the Web!

The ALA in Washington DC posted an article about SI students and their experience: http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=382

Thanks to the ALA for providing our students with such a terrific experience!

Posted by kkowatch on March 04, 2008 at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

And More ASB Blogs...

DC ASB 2008 Tell-All Blog: Days 4, 5, 6, and 7

We're back in Ann Arbor. I'd intended to keep more of a running blog over the week but as I mentioned previously, this was a very, very busy week!

Still, for those of you who went on ASB this year and want to relive it or for those of you who are just curious about the experience, I'd like to cover some of the last few days in this final blog post.

One of the questions I had going into this was how much work we could really accomplish in a week. The answer is A LOT. I was fortunate to be working with a team of students (four of us in all) and by the end of our five days at the Smithsonian NMAH Archives Center, we had taken an incredible quantity of minimally processed photos and documents and given them the love they had been denied since their arrival at the Smithsonian 15 years ago. Through our efforts, researchers will soon be able to access (physically and intellectually) papers that document the experience of early 20th century Arab immigrants in the United States. In the process, we learned some incredible stories about the people whose papers we handled – and really, for an archivist, stories are what form the heart of our profession. I can't stress enough how beneficial this experience was to me in preparing me to work as part of a team of archivists.

This week was also about discovering the city. Washington DC, you might be surprised, is not warm in February! At least that was a surprise to me. I packed two pairs of shorts but I don't think the temp got much above 50 at any point. Weather aside, the city has many things to recommend it. I chose not to do any of the normal "tourist" things associated with a trip to DC (the contrarian in me) but I did a lot of walking around and eating out. The massive architecture of the federal buildings and monuments is impressive, but even the residential side streets have treasures hidden here and there. After a few days of never quite knowing where I was, the streets even started to make sense, and I began to understand the metro subway. It doesn't sound like much but you have to remember I was born in a barn. Unlike in some large cities, in DC, I never felt overwhelmed. By the end of a week I even felt somewhat at home despite the lack of barns. The Harrington, I'll say again, was phenomenal and did feel like a home away from home (especially since the entire second floor was "taken over" by SI students).

On a less positive note, there are some racial undercurrents at play in the city that don't show up in the tourist literature. We stopped into an Irish Bar one evening to get a drink. The bar was packed – several hundred people – 99% of them (from appearances, anyway) white. Outside the same bar were a dozen men of color, asking for money. This division was repeated in other areas of the city. DC has a very diverse population, but I wonder to what extent people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds have learned to live together there? I heard a report on the way back to Ann Arbor on NPR, pointing out that black residents of DC felt that they were being displaced as a direct result of intentional gentrification by city planners and real estate investors. Community centers were being turned into pricey lofts, schools shut down, and so forth, essentially forcing underprivileged segments of the population out of the district into peripheral areas. This type of "re-segregation" is I suppose not uncommon in large cities, but seeing it up close in our nation's capital was a little disheartening.

Back to ASB. Work and city aside, this was also an incredibly entertaining week socially. People I barely knew before we left were new friends by the time we got back, and I gained a deeper connection with people I thought I knew. The week felt a little bit like "The Breakfast Club." We were a diverse group of "misfits," (of the academic kind) each with our own peculiarities, thrown together for a time with little choice but to find out more about one another. Lack of sleep, a little liquor here and there, and an amalgamation of shared experiences inspired some truly memorable conversations and some nights to remember (or forget)!

I mention lack of sleep but at this point I'll confess, I went to sleep at 6:30 on Thursday evening and didn't get up until 8:30 the next day – 14 hours straight baby! Archiving is hard work. And I needed the extra sleep to handle Friday night's "going-home" party; don't ever, ever let anyone tell you that archivists don't know how to have a good time…

All for now, Bill C.

Posted by kkowatch on March 04, 2008 at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

ASB Blogs... Continued...

DC ASB 2008 Tell-All Blog: Days 2 and 3

I'm sharing a two-room suite here at the Harrington with 3 other gents: Tim V., Nathan T., and Greg G. We've been here three days and the rooms still smell pretty fresh even with all the things we've done to them. Credit the housekeeping. The tub doesn't drain in my room, so showers remain short (you have to get done before the water pours over the edge). Our temporary jobs all start around 9 and none of us in my suite has to go very far, so it's not uncommon for people to start getting ready around 8:30. It's still too early for me. I pushed it to 8:35 this morning for an 8:45 departure from the hotel.

I'm working at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History with Emily H., Megan E., Barb P., and Nathan T. Each morning we walk just down the street from the Harrington to the Museum, which is currently closed to the public. We get to dress casually -- a nice perk. The actual facility where we do our work is the Archives Center, which is responsible for an impressive variety of materials. The people there are treating us very well and our program coordinator bakes us cookies, cupcakes, etc. every day.

The focus of our placement is on processing a large collection of material known as the Naff Collection. The first day, we looked at the collection broadly and determined how it might best be arranged to be of value to researchers. We learned some good techniques for effectively arranging and housing photographs, and actually worked our way through the Naff Collection's boxes of photos. Lunch was PB&J and other down-home goodies, and was accompanied by a presentation about digitizing the Smithsonian's NMAH photo holdings.

On the second day we finished with the photos and transitioned into the other main component of the collection, personal papers. For me this was one of my first experiences carrying out formal document processing – it's not the most exciting thing in the world, but it really does require expert judgment and attention to detail in order to arrive at a product with archival "added value" in terms of organization, enhanced findability, and standards of preservation. We also learned how to construct "sink mats" to protect glass negatives. The lunchtime presentation was fantastic, as the Smithsonian NMAH's expert on musical holdings shared some great footage of Miles Davis, Benny Carter, and Frank Sinatra. None of us wanted to leave the jazz and food to go back to processing.

ASB is giving us some really great work experience, but it's not all work. The evenings have been an opportunity to get to know fellow students in a way we may not have back in Ann Arbor. Some people like to go out sightseeing, some get ambitious and go to shows or movies, and some just walk around the city. I've gone out for dinner (and drinks…) with friends each night and met some "new" people from SI that I have really enjoyed talking with. We've shared some good laughs so far. Last night, we celebrated Malisa L.'s birthday with a Chinese dinner and chocolate cake (and singing, of course) – Happy Birthday Malisa!

I'll address some "other" topics in my next blog post, but just wanted to give you a sense of what the days and nights are like for us here in Bush's shadow.

All for now, Bill C.

Posted by kkowatch on March 04, 2008 at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)