Exploring careers: Community College Opportunities

I will preface this post by saying that I went to a traditional, four-year college for my undergraduate degree. I didn’t consider going to my local community college and with the exception of a six-week course on photography that took place at a community college, I haven’t spent much time in this type of academic institution.

With all that being said, I know many people that have benefited from what community colleges provide. Which is why I’ve found myself intrigued by the idea of maybe working in one. Plus, there are many reasons why librarians can find far more satisfaction at a community college library than they might at traditional academic library.

Community colleges are a key part of the academic landscape in the U.S.

Community colleges are a key part of the academic landscape in the U.S.

Here’s the deal: Wherever you live, you are likely to live near a community college. That means that they need to be included in your job search, especially if you are looking to gain the sort of experiences only community college libraries can provide. Here’s what these two-year institutions bring to the table:  Continue reading


Dream jobs: Online Librarian

This post is part of an ongoing series about interesting and exciting job prospects in the field of library and information science. Join me as I explore the evolving roles librarians fill.

My recent research, as well as my experience as an online student, has led me to believe that online students should be treated as another user group, with their own distinct behavior and needs. I’ve even tried my hand at making an online information literacy session for my information access course. You can view it here, if it interests you.

Armed with this knowledge, it’s no wonder that I’ve begun seeing job postings for “online learning librarian.” Like this one, from East Carolina University’s Joyner Library:

Reporting to the Head of Research and Instructional Services, the Online Learning Librarian plans, implements and assesses the delivery of library services to the university’s distance learning students and other remote users; collaborates with campus faculty and staff in the marketing and integration of online learning materials into course curricula; investigates and applies new technologies to integrate information literacy and research skills into online courses; and provides online library instruction, virtual research assistance and online consultations.  The Online Learning Librarian will help shape future library services to distance learning students and should understand the evolving needs of nontraditional students.

Distance or online learning is not necessarily new, but it’s popularity is. Once relegated to suspect institutions, online degrees can now be gained at even the most respected universities across the U.S. And with this new-found popularity comes an exciting opportunity for creating new services. As the above listing says, the librarian hired will be in charge of shaping the future of the library. That definitely sounds like a creative and challenging job. And I think someone who received their MLS in an online environment would be uniquely qualified to “understand the evolving needs of nontraditional students,” as the posting requires. Definitely a job title to add to my list of future career possibilities!

Dream Jobs: (Not) A Librarian

This post is part of an ongoing series about interesting and exciting job prospects in the field of library and information science. Join me as I explore the evolving roles librarians fill.

I may be getting a degree in library science, but that doesn’t mean I have to work in a library. In fact, there are a growing number of people that want to see “librarian” stricken from the dictionary of words used to describe what we do. With that in mind, I’m sharing two interesting job posts that ask for people hold library science degrees but that don’t work in a library.

Exhibition Research Assistant

When you think of alternative jobs for information science professionals, “researcher” definitely tops the list. Jobs like this one are exciting because you will be able to do some in-depth research on a particular topic that interests you that will benefit a lot of people. As the officials behind the 9/11 Memorial Museum round the bend in their plans for opening the exhibit, researchers are needed to help supplement the available information. While temporary, the job could offer some great experience and allow you to be a part of something everyone in the country will probably one day see.
While I’m not applying for this job, I can see working for a nonprofit could be a very rewarding job.

Science Informationist

If you’re looking for a job title that has zing, look no further than “informationist.” Part of the growing trend of embedded librarianship, informationists perform many of the behind-the-scenes duties of a librarian (research, data management and collections  management). The key here is that they do it outside a library and as part of a team of experts. This particular job is for a biomedical firm (and requires an advanced degree in a field such as neuroscience), but look for more and more use of the “informationist” title as everyone from research labs to corporate America realize the benefits of having an information expert on staff.

What I am learning is that getting a degree in information and library science right now means that the sky is the limit. Wherever you want to work there will likely be a niche you can carve for yourself. What about you? What’s the most unique, interesting job title you’ve seen listed? I may want to be a librarian, but I know that that word won’t always mean a stern lady in a shrine to books shushing the patrons. I’m excited to see how the meaning of this word and the definition of my future field will evolve.

Dream Jobs: Journalism and Mass Communications Librarian

This post is part of an ongoing series about interesting and exciting job prospects in the field of library and information science. Join me as I explore the evolving roles librarians fill.

In an effort to begin narrowing down the types of jobs I’m interested, I plan to start a new feature called “Dream Jobs.” Right now I’m not completely sure what I want to do with this degree. To combat this uncertainty and to really get a feel for how huge this field is, I’ve been reading job boards in my down time. It’s a little early to seriously apply for any these jobs (I won’t have a degree until August 2014 and the degree is generally the required quality for most of these employers), but it’s nice to see what’s out there. So for now, I’ll be gathering descriptions of jobs that immediately make me say “Hey, I would really love to do that!”

First up is a job that would make a wonderful bridge between my past and my future. According to the post, which came to me through UMD’s iSchool listserv, the Journalism and Mass Communications Librarian for the University of Florida “provide reference assistance, instruction, outreach and collection management to support the large faculty and student populations and academic programs in this discipline.” The position will have a focus on “new technology to access and deliver information to library users,” which is becoming more exciting for me as I discover how many exciting online tools there are out there.

For me, the idea that I can use the last 10 years of my educational and professional life to help young journalists in my new role as a librarian is truly exciting. That and (except for that pesky MLS) I am fully qualified, including the wish that the candidate would have direct experience working in the field of journalism.

I must admit that I am already considering working in an academic library, but because I went to such a tiny school for my undergraduate degree, it never occurred to me that academic librarians might only focus on a single academic area. Knowing this broadens my immediate definition of the role of the academic librarian and gives me new hope that the last 10 years haven’t been a complete professional waste.