A Beginner’s Guide to Library School

This past weekend the OR-12 cohort had orientation. As OR-10 moves from library school and fully into the world of information professionals, it’s time to let the new kids take over, but not without some parting gifts. Those gifts: lots of links and information to help you out as your journey begins!

Congratulations! You’re in library school. And if you’re with Emporia’s School of Library and Information Management (SLIM), you are very lucky indeed.  It can be very overwhelming after orientation. There’s a lot of information (appropriate as Information Overload Day is in August) and two years can seem like a long time. First things first: it’s okay to be overwhelmed. There’s a lot coming at you all at once. Recognize it for what it is and then start to parse things out. Once you get into a rhythm, it becomes much easier.

Now some tips and tricks.


  • Get a Twitter account. Right now. And follow us @SCALAoregon. There’s a ton of information out there and Twitter is an amazing way to get a lot of information in small and easy to digest pieces. Are you stuck looking for a topic for a paper on reference? Tweet to your followers and get some feedback. Find out about events and goings-ons in your neck of the woods or follow live tweets from conferences and events you couldn’t get to.
  • Start a blog (like Turner). Or at least start following a lot of blogs. Share your ideas with the world, get involved in the comments, and connect with your community. I follow the Public Library Association (PLA), the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) blogs because I am interested in public youth librarianship. Where are your interests? Find the association relevant to that and start following their blog. Other great blogs to follow include:
  • Be like Jim Carrey in the middle of this movie. Say yes to every opportunity even it seems like you maybe don’t know how to do it (thanks to Rachel Bridgewater for this advice). Go to that conference. Speak up in class. Present that paper. You can do so much more than you know and even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, there are learning opportunities at every turn. This is how you start to network.
  • Listen to your adviser (especially if it’s Perri). She knows the system, knows how to help you, and can get you to the end. In fact, she is what will get you to the end and you’ll feel a sense of pride on graduation day when she calls your name.
  • Get a library job or a volunteer position. Like yesterday. Volunteering is a fantastic way to find out what you want to do with your degree or maybe what you don’t want to do. Libraries love volunteers and they love library students. Multnomah County’s Volunteer Services has a number of options for those who want to work in libraries. Go ahead and ask around.
  • Sign up for list-servs. Your school one, a job list, one for your state. If you’re in Oregon, Libs-Or is invaluable. You may want to filter them into a different folder so it doesn’t overwhelm your in-box, but this is a great way to get information about conferences, articles, what’s going on with your school and state.
  • Back up your work. Save it on your computer, then again on a jump drive or external drive (or both). Load it up into Google Docs (which changes the formatting, but the content is still there) or Dropbox (which doesn’t change formatting). As an aside, these last two are great ways to collaborate with your classmates on projects.
  • Read Turner’s advice for new students.
  • Join your student organization. Want to do more than attend events? Lead them! Gain leadership skills! Make friends! Learn how to fund raise and do it some more! (PS: Elections for the new SCALA Oregon board are on Saturday. More information will be posted soon).
  • Join a national organization. As a student you get a great deal with combo ALA/OLA memberships.


  • Bemoan group work. You’re going to have a group project nearly every semester and likely one per class. Librarianship is about collaboration and what you do in library school is great practice. It teaches you how to work together, how to lead, and how to present. You will get very comfortable with your classmates and they are the easiest audience you will every present in front of. Cherish this time.
  • Freak out if you can’t do any or all of this in the first semester. Give yourself time to figure out how to organize your life. You’ll get there.
  • Forget your friends and how to have fun, but “I have a project due” is a great way to get out of anything. They’ll understand.

Good luck to OR-11 as they move into their final year and to OR-12 as they plunk away at the first months of library school life. You’re now a member of an amazing community. Welcome!

Rebecca Chernay is a member of the recently graduate ESU’s OR-10 cohort and specializes in children’s and youth librarianship. She is the current Web Presence & Social Networking Coordinator for SCALA, but is excited to hand the post off this Saturday.

Free Library Science e-books!

In support of National Library Week, April 13-19, e-content provider ebrary announced that it will provide librarians as well as students and faculty in library science and related programs with complimentary access to its Library Center for one year. The Library Center includes more than 85 full-text e-books covering topics such as digital library development, general collection development, and the history of libraries and librarianship, as well as illustrated guides from the Library of Congress….

Here’s the link to more information:


The Future of Web 2.0

The third and last installment of this series by Michael Baird (OR-7).

Web 2.0 has been around for longer than most of us think. It has been labeled and made popular over the fast few years, but it’s nothing new. Blogs and online journals and ezines have been around for quite awhile. I think the basic guts of Web 2.0 are content that is shared and social. This happened back in the days of BBS (bulletin board service) via good ol’ dial-up modem at whopping 2400 baud.

I see the huge surge of web 2.0 technologies (see The Complete Web 2.0 Directory ) dying out and consolidating. Everyone and their mother have a widget or social networking site. It’s just too much. A lot of these are going to quickly die out when the advertising that funds them is withdrawn. I see a lot of mergers or go-betweens for the larger companies. As an example: MySpace and Facebook. Why can’t they play nice together? It’d be so handy to do all of the same things in one place and not have 80 different and overlapping friend sets online. Standards are being developed to facilitate this very thing.

Services will need to become more transparent and intuitive. What does this mean? I want my Facebook and MySpace photos to be derived from my Flickr account. Why should I have to maintain 3 sets of the same photos?

Keeping up

Subscribe to these blogs, skim through them and read what interests you. Do it every day.

Infodoodads (I contribute to this blog)

Tame the Web: Libraries and Technology



43 folders (not necessarily very web 2.0, but it will improve your life, I guarantee it)

My Favorite Web 2.0 Tools

This week Michael Baird (OR-7), talks about a few of his favorite web 2.0 tools. Please feel free to post your favorites in the comments!


Use Flickr to store and share digital photographs. I have a few thousand on my personal Flickr account. Whenever I’m watching a movie or TV I’ll log in and tag/title photos. Some people knit, I tag. Organize your photos into sets, collections. Join groups with folks that have similar interests, have discussions about those interests. Set privacy settings on your photos so your friends can see your crazy party pictures but your mom can only see those that are public or tagged for family.


This is an online productivity suite. For those of you who may have delved into Google Docs & Spreadsheets you won’t be straying too far from home but instead get a massive remodel. Zoho includes a word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, conferencing, a notetaker, database creation, and a few more fun things I can’t remember at the moment. The notetaker is pure gold. It’s like Microsoft OneNote, but web-based. Feature packed with more options than Google and just as collaborative. I’ve used this for my last several presentations.


This might be a little basic for some of you, but I think it’s just important enough to cover anyway. A lot of sites out there have the little orange buttons to subscribe to their RSS feed. If you like the site and want to keep up with it, but not navigate to it every day to check if something new has happened, you’ll want to subscribe to their feed. Bloglines is what we call a feed aggregator. It keeps track of your RSS feeds and shows you which ones have new content available for viewing. There are a ton of these aggregators out there, some are programs you install on your computer, others are web-based like Bloglines. Instead of navigating to 60 different websites each day, I just open up Bloglines and take 20 minutes to get updated in all of the things I care about. It’s that easy.

Part 1: Web 2.0 Tools/ Web 2.0 for Libraries and Librarians

This is the first part of a three-part series on Web 2.0 tools written by Michael Baird, (OR-7), Evening Reference Coordinator at the Oregon State University Valley Library. Michael is one of five librarians who post on Infododads, a blog which “reviews and discusses existing and new tools, services, and technology for finding information on the internet.” He will be the lead presenter discussing “Information Discovery for Librarians – Keeping Up with Web 2.0” at the Online Northwest 2008 Conference on February 22nd.

Two great introductions to Web 2.0 are a youtube entitled The Machine is Us/ing Us and this article by Tim O’Reilly entitled “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software”.

Subject Research Guides / Website Guides –

Use the del.icio.us linkroll feature for lists of links maintained in subject research guides or website guides. You don’t have to edit the webpage to change/edit/add links, just edit that group of links in your del.icio.us account. Look in the Other Suggested Resources section in the the Chelmsford Public Library for an example.

For a (relatively) small investment, Libguides is an amazing service that offers branded custom “widgets” that may be used as subject guides or portals for users. These widgets can pull in all sorts of information: RSS feeds, embedded video or podcasts, del.icio.us tag clouds and a lot more. Some even have live chat widgets (Meebo, Chatango, etc.) embedded. Here’s an example from Boston College University Library.

The Catalog –

What if you could rate items in the catalog? Comment on them? Leave recommendations for other users? Not possible? Sure it is. Check out this link for “A thread of grace” by Mary Doria Russell at Hennepin County Library. Note that the book has comments as well as tabs for summary, reviews, and excerpt.

Hennepin is also a great example of another web 2.0 technology in library catalogs. Is there a search you repeat on a regular basis? Do you have a favorite author? Add an RSS feed for your search and be notified when new items for that search are added to the catalog. Here is the RSS code for a keyword search on Miles Davis. Just copy and paste it into your feed aggregator (Google Reader, Bloglines, etc.).

Announcements –

Instead of updating text on your library homepage for each new event, service, or news update, use a blog. Again, this really opens the arena for any user to have the skills to create and publish the content. Aside from the initial setup, web skills are not necessary. Here is an example from Western Oregon University Library using a blog to feed news items to their home page. This library has two blogs feeding to their homepage: one for featured databases and one for announcements. The way these display is completely customizable so they “fit” the look and feel of the existing page and blend in.

Next week Michael writes about his favorite Web 2.0 tools.

Free Access to The New York Times

The New York Times‘s Op-Ed and news columns are now available to everyone free of charge, along with Times File and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archive is now free back to 1987.

This is the reason that the editors gave for implementing this change.

Readers find more news in a greater number of places and interact with it in more meaningful ways. This decision enhances the free flow of New York Times reporting and analysis around the world. It will enable everyone, everywhere to read our news and opinion – as well as to share it, link to it and comment on it.

Open Library or Information Wants to be Free

Open Library is an online tool for finding information about books.The basic framework is being done by Aaron Swartz, who helped create RSS in his early teens and developed Infogami, a tool designed especially for the clueless to set up their own websites.

Open Library, funded by the Internet Archive, is especially useful for finding titles that are on obscure topics or which are out-of-print.If the text is available digitally, there is a link to it.It also includes citations, excerpts from reviews, and cross-references to other titles on related topics.

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