Friday, November 7, 2008

Professional development for librarians

Once you've left library school, where do you go for additional professional development, especially courses for library skills development? If you're already in library work but are getting that creepy, uh-oh, was I supposed to know this? feeling, this is a Sign that you need some PD.

Professional development can help with transitions: if you are an academic librarian who wants to leave the academy but not the library, you can take professional development to help you transition to public or special libraries, or into self-employment. It's harder to get your employer to pay for that type of development though, so you need to look for reasonable-cost options, or know that the investment you are making is the right one for your career. This post explores PD options for people who have their Masters, though there are many great programs for skills-development for people who work in libraries who don't have their graduate degree.

You can start with Web Junction, which has a wide variety of professional development options, from technical skills, like XML, to customer service skills. You can also try Simmons School of Library and Information Science. I mention these two because I have personally taken classes from them that I have liked, they were affordable and I was able to take them at a distance.

Your state or provincial professional library association may also be of assistance, but I have not found many online courses, or courses that include a certificate for completion, from my local library association. This is an area that I think requires further exploration by regional library associations. The ALA does offer a professional development centre that you can use to begin exploring options and rounds up some of the professional development options offered by different ALA divisions.

I could mention conferences, but the problem with conferences is that you can say you went and talk about what you learned, but you didn't get certification (as far as I am aware) for attendance at sessions. Sometimes skills-building professional development requires a certificate. Some employers won't pay for training unless a certificate is involved, or at least a demonstration that these skills are necessary for your work at their library.

We all could use a refresher, or exposure to new ideas, since libraries are just one of the many industries that are subject to dynamic change, whether technical change, or the librarians need to acquire new soft skills to deal with their day to day work.

Gladwell on meaningful work

Thursday, November 6, 2008

WowJobs Canada Salary Search

WowJobs is a vertical search engine for the Canadian marketplace. It has already done cool stuff like search for results in Craigslist, but now, based on the information in the job postings that it skims, the search engine can provide a salary search.


As shown above, you can also compare salaries between types of jobs or by location. I went Canada-wide to get an idea of the basic salaries, but you can--and should, if you are asked to provide a quote--search geographic-specific.

Where do they get the numbers? From job postings that supply salary information. It is not clear, when a range is used, if they use the bottom of the range or the top of the range to create their calculation. Not every job provides salary information, so it isn't taking data from all of the postings that the engine has scraped. To ameliorate this issue, WowJobs is supplying a confidence level: how sure are they that the numbers are accurate? and including this with the results that you receive for your search.

This service is currently in beta, so we can expect more improvements as they get more sophisticated with the enormous amount of raw data supplied in a posting. Maybe they'll run a map mash-up that will let us see where particular jobs are concentrated, based on their historical data? For example, more postings in Toronto in June or October?

You can use this search engine to supplement the salary information that you find from other professional library sources.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Many newspapers are moving their University ranking special reports online: GlobeCampus, from the Globe and Mail, is another runner in the rankings race. If you want to know a bit more about a campus--but not a whole lot more--you can take a look at one of these ranking and reviewing services.

Tomorrow, GlobeCampus is sponsoring an Online Universities Fair, complete with webinars and advertisers. It is one way to explore campuses without leaving your desktop.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

ReadWriteWeb launches jobwire

ReadWriteWeb has launched a new service called jobwire which asks people with new jobs to send in a message about their new job, a kind of tech Movers and Shakers. These services are a great way to stay on top of the industry, find out where some of your contacts have gone, or do some brush-up research on a person's career prior to an interview with them. If you work in the tech field and have just scored employment, this might be one way to boost your personal google juice, and get some free exposure for your employer.

ReadWriteWeb, if you aren't interested in writing in tech, is a blog about web technology news and reviews, a very accessible site for people who are looking for information and how-to in using technology in knowledge work. If you have ever considered a career in information services, IT, wired journalism, subscribe to ReadWriteWeb.