Posted in election, officers, professional experience

Getting Involved

First off, a warm welcome to the new SCALA board, a solid team of OR-11 and 12 students ready to serve the SLIM-OR students. There was an amazing turn out of new faces to the elections, most likely curious to learn the raison d’etre of the organization, but definitely showing an interest in getting involved with the student chapter.

As my time as a SCALA board member comes to a close and my career as an information specialist begins, I cannot help but reflect on the importance of getting involved with professional associations as a graduate student. I was drawn to SCALA as a means to meet other students. I quickly learned that it was much more; an opportunity to network with librarians in the community, to explore the different types of libraries, and to provide learning opportunities for my peers. I enjoyed being part of SCALA, both as the event coordinator and president, as I gained new skills in communication, collaboration and leadership.

As a graduate student, I explored other local organizations. I went to the events hosted by the Portland Area Archivists and the Oregon Chapter of Special Library Association. Because of my involvement in these groups, I was able to make connections with the professionals in the field. Ultimately, I was hired for internships and jobs by the people I meet at these meetings. Getting involved was important for me, as it demonstrated my passion for the profession and allowed me to network with my future colleagues.

SCALA represents just one of many opportunities for SLIM-OR students to get involved. There are a myriad of professional library and archives associations in the Pacific Northwest that welcome student members (often at a discounted rate). In addition, there are conferences and other events that invite student volunteers. I recommend that students take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about the profession, meet people working in their field, and possibly build new skills. Below is a list of some of the organizations and events that are located in the Pacific Northwest.

Library Associations

Oregon Library Association

Oregon Chapter of the Special Library Association
Washington Library Association
Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Special Library Association
Downtown Librarians (a Portland group, emails sent via Libs-OR listserv)

Archives and Records Management Groups

Portland Area Archivists (operating through Google Groups)
Seattle Area Archivists
Northwest Archivists
Oregon Chapter of ARMA

Northwest Conferences and Events

InfoCamp Seattle

Northwest Archivists/Oregon Heritage Conference
Archives Crawl
Code4Lib Northwest
Interlibrary Lush (Facebook page)

Plus, there are many more local events and national conferences that happen in the Pacific Northwest area. Join listservs and local association chapters like Libs-OR to receive general announcements about these events.

Feel free to contact me with questions about getting involved with local associations: mjkeyser@gmail.
Signing off as SCALA President and wishing an amazing year to the new board!

Jennifer Keyser

Posted in professional experience

Gain Professional Experience Without Getting a Library Job

Erica Findley SLIM-OR SCALA President shares ways to obtain experience in the field:

When I began my MLS program I had no library experience. This lack of experience was making me nervous. Would I be able to get a library job after graduation without ever having the experience?

I waited for announcements regarding volunteer opportunities, internships, projects etc. I waited and waited for an announcement that fit my schedule, personal goals and level of experience. I work full time so I felt like I had to turn down everything that I suspected would require daytime hours.

I was not presented with a perfect opportunity so I decided to change my game. I started to say yes to things that were slightly outside of the small box I had created. Since then I have accomplished many things that have me recognized in the professional community.

If you want to get some experience under your belt I would suggest you do some or all of the following:

Find out what opportunities your school or program offers. I am on a student to dean council. This has helped me get to know students in my program and, most importantly, get to know our dean. Your school may offer student council positions, mentorship opportunities, workshops and/or career planning assistance.
Look to the professional organizations. ALA and SLA have student chapters. Become an officer. Chances are this will help you meet professionals. If your school doesn’t have a student chapter then start one. I beefed up our student organization and I tied it in with a class project to secure myself some hours to devote to the process. There is a lot of advice on how to do this on the association websites.
All libraries need volunteers. If you cannot easily find out how to become one then call the library and ask. I did a lot of this and now I am doing a project that has lasted for over a year. It is something I can do from home and I have developed a great relationship with the librarian. You would be surprised at what you find. Some libraries need help with special projects and this could translate to independent study credits or an internship for you. Sometimes these things even lead to permanent positions.
If your program offers a for-credit practicum or internship don’t miss the opportunity. This experience is invaluable. Emporia-SLIM will coordinate their students with placement in a library based on their interests. Again, doing this for school credit secured me some free time that I otherwise would not have had for this.

The bottom line is that almost none of these things will present themselves to you under a spotlight with loud music. You must make an initial time and effort investment. There is not a to do list for something like this. You will have to brave a little uncertainty to end up with the right opportunity. The payoffs are large. Don’t miss your chance!

Please leave a comment with questions or let us know about your experience with any of the above.

Posted in professional experience, volunteer opportunities

Help PPS

Here’s a wonderful opportunity to get some experience with cataloging and help out Portland Public Schools!

Portland Public Schools librarians could use your help. Many of us have books in our back rooms that need the holdings to be entered into our catalog. We also just received a large donation of books from Powell’s that need to be entered. It would give you a little experience using the Innovative system. The librarian in the professional library has offered to give a training session for any interested volunteers. The books would also need processing (spine labels, stamping etc.) which I can show you how to do. I will probably start you off in my library and then if you are still hungry for more, I will send out a message to other librarians in PPS. It really is a great opportunity to make some overworked librarians very grateful, get books into the hands of kids, and learn a little about how Innovative works. No original cataloging, I promise!! :)If interested or if you would like more info, contact Stacey Kobe at skobe[at]pps[dot]k12[dot]or[dot]us (email obscured to foil spambots – you can figure it out). Please include contact info and days/hours available so that I can set up a training time that would accommodate the most people.Thanks!
Stacey Kobe


The training will be held on Friday, Nov. 2nd at 2:00 at the BESC, 501 N Dixon. It should last no more than 2 hours. Still interested in attending, but have not yet signed up? Please contact Stacey Kobe at skobe[at]pps[dot]k12[dot]or[dot]us before Friday (November 2, 2007) so that we are sure to have enough training materials.