Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Courses that may help you find a library job

There are some courses that you may have taken, as part of your undergrad or just for personal interest, that you may not have thought to mention when you were applying or interviewing for a library job.
  • Have you taken a budgeting or personal finance class? I'm not thinking about applying your skills to the library budget, but there may be an increase in programming in libraries toward helping people deal with tightening household budgets. You would have at least the basic vocabulary and, possibly, contacts, to assist with collection development or programming in those areas. Take a look at this article from the Consumerist and see how many ways library programming and services can help people during an economic downturn. (Yes, we do it all the time, but people notice it more during tough times.)
  • Did you volunteer to help people fill out their taxes? Again, similar to the finance class, you may know of resources and books that could help patrons. Make sure that you are not giving advice, but that you know where to find the best advice.
  • Done any photography or videography? Many libraries are increasing their use of YouTube (or other educational video sites) and Flickr to create innovative book talks or instructional materials for their staff and patrons. 
  • Know your way around an application form? People need to get student loans, they need to take tests to get accepted into certain professions and occupations, they need to write application letters, personal statements and conduct informational interviews--kinda sounds like an application to library school. More than that, what books did you use, who did you talk to, and use your experience to help others.
  • You can search the Internet. Like a fiend. Can you find job postings? Use a vertical search engine? Find out about small business loans? Find free e-books and resources on a particular topic? It's still magic to a lot of people.
Think of some of the "survival" skills that you have that would assist others, and I am sure you can come up with some innovative ways to help a new library employer.

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