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Student Shadow Kristen Thornton-De Stafeno on Spring Conference: Take the Opportunity to Attend Regional Conferences!

Student Shadow Kristen Thornton-De Stafeno on Spring Conference: Take the Opportunity to Attend Regional Conferences!

Kristen Thornton-De Stafeno attended UNYSLA’s Spring Conference as a student shadow and authored the following post commenting on her experience. Kristen received her Bachelor’s Degree in History and English from Binghamton University. She worked in the Pleasant Valley Free Library for two years before starting coursework for her M.S.I.S. at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where she is currently employed as a student assistant at the Dewey Graduate Library. After graduating in May 2017, she hopes to go into public libraries.

I had the pleasure of attending UNYSLA’s April 22nd conference, “Career Development, Plan Your Future” as a student shadow. Such a topic seemed perfect for my first professional conference as I knew the variety of guest speakers would address various issues relevant to my interests such as perfecting your resume and CV, managing projects early in your career, and interview advice. As a first-year Graduate student, I knew such input and an opportunity to network with various information professionals would be highly beneficial.

Our first guest speaker of the day, Lisa Norberg, Principal at K | N Consultants and co-founder of the Open Access Network discussed her career journey and she touched upon how career planning very rarely goes according to plan. As someone who has already experienced a shift in my original career plan, hearing someone such as Norberg – with a compelling wealth of experience – speak to this issue was reassuring. Norberg spoke more on the skills you can put to use to ensure your success, such as “copping a positive attitude,” playing well with others, giving change a chance and occasionally leading that change.

Following Norberg’s presentation, Susan Kendrick, of Cornell University, reviewed some common mistakes to avoid, and areas to highlight when creating and submitting a resume. This portion of the conference was both comforting and informative as I realized that I had managed to avoid mistakes such as “boilerplate” cover letters and the “hard sell” while I succeeded at focusing on experience relevant to the specific positions I applied to.

After a short break I got to introduce the next guest speaker, Tyler Dzuba, Head of the Physics-Optics-Astronomy Library and Interim Program Coordinator for the Carlson Student Research Space at the University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries. Dzuba’s positivity even when addressing issues such as ‘Saying No” to tasks was both uplifting and inspiring as he explained that some projects aren’t worth the effort you will put in and that the mindset that we can’t afford to say “no,” to new assignments and tasks isn’t always true. Dzuba’s tips on achieving your goals through gradual steps were the perfect advice for anyone who has difficulty visualizing and putting a plan into action.

Continuing with the theme of job applications and interviews, Susan Kendrick returned with advice on what questions interview teams will likely ask, and how to respond. As someone who in the past didn’t have questions of my own prepared for interviews, Kendrick’s suggestion for questions the interviewee could ask the interview team is advice I know I will apply to my next interview.

Following a lunch where we split into groups of corporate, public, and academic libraries, I had the pleasure of introducing Jenna Mayotte, the Associate Director of the Portland Public Library in Portland, Maine. Mayotte gave a presentation titled “I Do What I Want!” in which she discussed how you can change careers as long as you plan well. Some of her planning tips included keeping track of your roles in various topics to assist you in telling and selling your “story” in future interviews. Mayotte noted that you don’t have to stay in a bad job forever, but that you should learn skills and lessons from every job you have.

Our last topic was a panel on “The Art of Negotiation” with Linda Galloway, Allison Perry, Jenna Mayotte, Zari Kamarei, and Elaine Lasda-Bergman. The consensus among the panelists was to always push for a pay increase prior to accepting a position as that is the time to get your largest pay increase. As fellow student shadow Laurie Dreyer pointed out, we often think about these negotiations in terms of salary, but there should also be attention paid to what the benefits will be. A great tip Kamarei and Mayotte gave was to ask for different types of increases if your salary can’t be raised: two examples were a one-time payment for re-location or a laptop. Finally, Allison Perry’s suggestion that applicants who decline health insurance coverage from a tentative employer – due to being covered under a spouse’s policy – negotiate for a pay increase was a thought that never crossed my mind previously.

Aside from the variety of guest speakers and topics covered at the conference, getting to sit down and have one-on-one conversations with public library directors and other students interested in the same field was extremely eye-opening. As someone who only has experience with working in New York State libraries, I had little knowledge of how unique our Civil Service requirements were in comparison with other states such as Connecticut and Maine. Jenna Mayotte was quite helpful in explaining how the job application process differs when library boards are not restricted by test scores.

Even if the day’s presentations hadn’t touched upon topics relevant to my career, getting the opportunity to network with information specialists from a variety of backgrounds would have been motivation enough to attend such a conference and I would highly recommend others take the opportunity even if they are unsure about their interest in the conference’s topic.

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Student Shadow Laurie Dreyer on Spring Conference Lessons: Encourage a Love of Learning

Student Shadow Laurie Dreyer on Spring Conference Lessons: Encourage a Love of Learning

Laurie Dreyer, a graduating MSIS student, attended the UNYSLA event “Career Development, Plan your Future” on Friday April 22, at the University at Albany’s Science Library as a student shadow and authored the following reflection. Dreyer hopes to join an academic organization in an instructional or reference capacity upon her graduation in May.

The day started with keynote speaker Lisa Norberg, a principal consultant at K|N Consultants, emphasizing the non-linear path that library careers often take. Norberg laid out eight steps that early and mid-career librarians can take to help plan the course of their careers:

  1. Define Success. It is important to define success for oneself – how do you want to spend your time? It is also important to help others succeed too, as this will add to your own feeling of success. This definition will likely change often.
  2. Do your job well. Don’t lose focus on what your key tasks are. Instead, take responsibility for your work and do it well. It is important to pay attention when you start to get bored. It can be an opportunity for change, but don’t use that as a reason to stop doing what needs to be done.
  3. Cop an attitude (a positive attitude!). Much of your success at work is based on your positive attitude, even more so than your skillset and knowledge.
  4. Play well with others. Being nice at work is going to make everyone’s life much easier. Learn how to disagree amicably. This skill alone will make you a valuable employee.
  5. Fear no data. Rather, collect the data, analyze the data, and act on the data. Don’t forget the act part; it is the most important!
  6. Give change a chance. It is the one constant of the information world and can take on many forms, so learn to expect it.
  7. Better yet, lead change. This can be done from any position, not just department/organization heads. Leadership and management do not mean the same thing and it is important to learn the difference.
  8. Work unafraid. Explore new areas of your discipline, speak your mind, and research what interests you.

Many of these themes were repeated throughout the day, illustrating to attendees how full of opportunities the world of information can be. Norberg was followed up with some practical advice from Susan Kendrick, a Business Research and Data Librarian at Cornell University. Kendrick reminded us that applicants have very little control over the pet peeves of those hiring. She emphasized that being ‘boring’ was the smartest thing an applicant can do in their application packet. The ‘wow factor’ comes more from the things you have done and the types of opportunities you have sought out, rather than the font that you use to tell people about it.

Tyler Dzuba, the Head of the Physics-Optics-Astronomy Library at the University of Rochester, graciously pointed out the career strengthening that joining professional organizations, like SLA, can do for those early in their careers. Jenna Mayotte, Associate Director of the Portland (ME) Public Library, dispelled the myth that it is impossible to move from academic to public libraries, and even showed us how doing so can make one a more appealing applicant. Four guest speakers agreed during the last session’s Q & A that salary negotiation is one of the most difficult things you can do and shared some valuable tips.

Here are some of the lessons that I took away from this event:

  • If you aren’t excited about the position being offered, don’t apply. When you find one that you are excited about, emphasize what part of the job you are excited about in your application.
  • Figure out what about librarianship makes you LOVE what you do and then find a position that allows you to do that (it might take a while, so have a plan for how to pay your rent in the meantime).
  • Keep reevaluating what your goals are and how you define success for yourself.
  • Don’t accept the first salary offer, it is not going to hurt to ask for more money even if the answer is no, you’ll still get the job (if you want it) and you will be happier that you asked.
  • Pay attention during interviews, you are going to get a very good idea of the culture in the place you are applying to during the interview – use that as your opportunity to interview them!

I walked away with a sense that careers in librarianship are constantly evolving. That the trajectory for library careers is not the same as it was a couple of decades ago. Finding one job and working there for 30 years is no longer the ideal. The ideal now is to affect change, to foster and bring new ideas into the world, to encourage a love of learning, and to spend as much time learning for and about ourselves as we can.

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Jennifer Jeffery: If You Can’t Go to the National Conferences, Go to the Regional Ones!

Jennifer Jeffery: If You Can’t Go to the National Conferences, Go to the Regional Ones!

Jennifer Jeffery, an atendee at our recent spring conference wrote an excellent article on professional development in library school and included a section discussing the value of attending regional conferences. We are thrilled that she was willing to let us share it with you!

Jennifer writes:

“If you can’t go to the national conferences, go to the regional ones. I recently went to the conference Career Development, Plan Your Future hosted by the Upstate New York Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (UNYSLA). The presentations were extremely informative and helpful. What was even more interesting was the perspectives of the different types of librarians there, including a number of science librarians, two librarians who worked for the State of New York in the labor and tax departments, a librarian who had worked for a vendor and is now the librarian for a law firm, a couple of public librarians, a librarian whose primary job is as a researcher, and a few others. When you go to conferences or talks, make sure to mingle afterwards. I was complementing a presenter on what he shared and said I noticed in his talk that he had quoted someone’s blog who used to work at a university that I am applying to. I expected that he would just say, “Yeah, I really like that person’s blog.” Instead he said he went to library school with three people that work there and offered to connect me with the one he was friends with if she wasn’t on the search committee. Wow!”

Be sure to read the entire article on the Syracuse Library Blog.

 

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A Look at Library Spaces Presentations

The presenters from UNYSLA’s recent action packed conference entitled “A Look at Library Spaces” have agreed to share their presentations. The conference was held April 17, 2015, in the VISTA Collaboratory at the Carlson Library on River Campus at the University of Rochester, NY.

 

Vision for Library Becoming a Hub of Innovation
Mary Ann Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

 

[gview file=”http://uny.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Vision-for-Library-Becoming-a-Hub-of-Innovation.compressed.pdf”]

 

History and Tour of VISTA Collaboratory
Zari Kamarei, Tyler Dzuba & VISTA Staff, Carlson Science & Engineering Library, University of Rochester

History of VISTA Collaboratory

[gview file=”http://uny.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/History-of-Vista-Collaboratory.pdf”]

Tour of VISTA Collaboratory

[gview file=”http://uny.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Vista-Collaboratory.pdf”]

 

Architectural Design of New Irondequoit Public Library
Peter Wehner, Associate and Senior Architect, Passero Associates
Terry Buford, Library Director, Irondequoit Public Library

[gview file=”http://uny.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Design-of-Irondequoit-Public-Library.compressed.pdf”]

 

Overview and Future of Library Space and Collection at AMRI
Wendy Quinn-Decatur, Associate Librarian, Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI)

[gview file=”http://uny.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/AMRI-Corporate-Library-Space.pdf”]

 

Impact of Marriott Student Learning Center (a Social Learning Space) on Library Services
Ken Bolton, Research Librarian, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University

[gview file=”http://uny.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Library-as-a-Social-Learning-Space.pdf”]

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Student Shadow, Will Sheppard, Summarizes “A Look at Library Spaces”

Student Shadow, Will Sheppard, Summarizes “A Look at Library Spaces”

Will Sheppard attended UNYSLA’s most recent conference as a student shadow. Here is his tale:

I recently attended UNYSLA’s spring conference “A Look at Library Spaces” at the University of Rochester. The changing nature of libraries is something that concerns information professionals of all types and the large, diverse group of attendees hammered home both the importance and universality of the topic.

Mary Ann Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester got things started with her keynote speech discussing her vision for transforming the iconic Rush Rhees library into a hub for innovation on campus. She noted that with the growth of collaborative spaces in the business world it is becoming critical for academic institutions to prepare students to function in group environments post-graduation, and that libraries have an opportunity to fill this need.

Mary Ann’s proposed master plan for Rush Rhees is an innovative approach – instead of focusing on renovating one area of the building, she approaches it much like cities do when creating redevelopment plans, designating broad usage categories but not specific contents (a ‘technology space’ instead of a computer lab, for example). This approach allows the plan to be implemented sequentially while allowing flexibility down the line, something that is particularly critical as technology and user expectations continue to evolve.

Terry Buford, Director of Irondequoit Public Library, and Pete Wehner from Passero Associates spoke regarding the challenges they faced in designing and constructing the new Irondequoit Public Library. One of the key design challenges they faced was how to create a building that both satisfied patron desires for interactive, collaborative spaces while preserving the rows of books and quiet spaces that other patrons feared losing. They designed the new building to provide spaces for both communities, using the bulk of the building (including sections of the stacks) as a physical buffer between spaces built for louder and quieter purposes.

In spite of all of this talk of dramatic change in the way libraries are physically constructed, Mary Ann’s remarks contained a reassuring note, emphasizing that accommodating user needs for collaborative and innovative spaces is something libraries have been doing for centuries. As Mary Ann said, the Great Library of Alexandria served as a hub of scholarly activity of all types – both the preservation of knowledge and collaboration leading to the creation of new knowledge. Libraries changing to incorporate more innovative and collaborative spaces aren’t abandoning their past – they’re getting back to their roots.

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Registration is now open for A Look at Library Spaces

Registration is now open for A Look at Library Spaces

Registration is now open for UNYSLA’s spring conference A Look at Library Spaces on April 17, 2015.

Join UNYSLA for lively presentations and a panel discussion on academic, public, and special library spaces!

Key note speaker and Vice Provost and Neilly Dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester Mary Ann Mavrinac will share her vision for an innovation hub in the library. We will also tour the VISTA Collaboratory. Our speakers include Ken Bolton, Research Librarian at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, who will talk about how the Marriott Student Learning Center (a social learning space that replaced book stacks and a reference desk) has impacted library services; Wendy Quinn-Decatur, Associate Librarian at Albany Molecular Research, Inc., who will give us an overview and look towards the future for the library space and collection at AMRI; and Peter Wehner, Associate and Senior Architect at Passero Associates, who will talk about the decision-making process and design plans for the new Irondequoit Public Library.

Date: Friday, April 17
Time: 8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Carlson Library on River Campus at the University of Rochester, NY (map)

For more details and to register visit: http://uny.sla.org/upcoming-events

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Registration Coming Soon!

Registration Coming Soon!

A Look at Library Spaces *

Date: Friday, 17 April 2015
Time: 8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Carlson Library on River Campus at the University of Rochester, NY (map)

Join UNYSLA for lively presentations and a panel discussion on academic, public, and special library spaces!

Key note speaker and Vice Provost and Neilly Dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester Mary Ann Mavrinac will share her vision for an innovation hub in the library. We will also tour the VISTA Collaboratory. Our speakers include Ken Bolton, Research Librarian at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, who will talk about how the Marriott Student Learning Center (a social learning space that replaced book stacks and a reference desk) has impacted library services; Wendy Quinn-Decatur, Associate Librarian at Albany Molecular Research, Inc., who will give us an overview and look towards the future for the library space and collection at AMRI; and Peter Wehner, Associate and Senior Architect at Passero Associates, who will talk about the decision-making process and design plans for the new Irondequoit Public Library.

Registration and detailed schedule will be available soon. We hope to see you there!

*Note the slight change in title.

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Save the Date!

Save the Date!

Save the date for

The Future of Library Spaces and Collections

Date: Friday, April 17

Location: Carlson Library on River Campus at the University of Rochester, NY (map)

Please plan on joining the Upstate New York chapter of SLA (UNYSLA) to discuss the Future of Library Spaces and Collections.

Our key note speaker and Vice Provost and Neilly Dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester Mary Ann Mavrinac will share her vision for an innovation hub in the library. We will also tour the VISTA Collaboratory.

Registration and detailed schedule will be available soon. We hope to see you there!

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