Thing #14: Zotero/Mendeley/citeulike

I finished my Master’s degree in December of last year.  I’d heard about services such as these, but I didn’t take the time to explore them and did all my citations the old-fashioned way.  Now that I’ve looked at these sites, I feel like I could have saved myself a lot of work, especially since I primarily used articles from online databases for my research and writing. 

Having explored all three of these websites, I think Zotero seems the most functional for students.  In my mind, the biggest benefit is its ability to cite everything correctly and in different styles.  In almost every class for my MLS, we were told to use APA style.  One class required MLA style.  A tool such as Zotero would have made this much less painful; I wouldn’t have had to adjust to using a completely different style. 

As I think of my library’s patrons, I can see recommending these sites to college students.  To be honest, though, even having them stick around long enough to show them one online database is a feat.   I hope my academic library counterparts have a higher success rate.

About Nebraska Library Leadership Institute

In 2011, I attended the Nebraska Library Leadership Institute at the St. Benedict Center in Schuyler, Nebraska.  Thirty people from public, academic, and school libraries across the state were selected to attend the five-day Institute led by Becky Schreiber and John Shannon of Schreiber Shannon Associates.  Participants were divided into four learning groups and each group had two mentors, experienced librarians that observed, guided, and advised the groups.

Each day, we completed interactive learning activities, listened to presentations by John and Becky, and participated in group discussions.  Every evening, we learned about our mentors during Mentor Moments.

Highlights of the Institute:

  • Learned about our personality/leadership types using the Enneagram model
  • Identified strengths, weaknesses, ability to take risks, reactions to change, and self-limiting behaviors
  • Developed personal action plan to overcome weaknesses and develop strengths
  • Created vision statements, strategic goals, and funding proposals
  • Participated in learning group to complete strategy game, case study, problem solving exercises, and creative skit
  • Developed connections with people from libraries across the state
  • Presented to a group of 40 people in a simulation of requesting for funding from city council and library board

Thing #10: Librarianship

I started working in libraries by accident.  It was never a career that had crossed my mind.  I grew up in a small town that didn’t have a library, so I never spent much time at the library.  I wanted to be an elementary teacher.  After college, I moved to Aurora, Colorado.  I worked as a paraprofessional for Denver Public Schools for a year, then began applying for teaching  jobs.  I sent out dozens of applications with very little response.  Feeling defeated, I started looking for other jobs.  I saw an opening at the public library and applied there as a backup.  I finally landed an interview for a 3rd grade teaching position.  The same day, I was called to interview for the library assistant position.  I interviewed at the school one day, the library the next.  A day later, I was offered the library job.  (I was later informed that they chose someone with experience for the teaching job.)

As I learned the library assistant job, I realized that it had the fun parts of teaching (helping people, research, teaching classes) without the bad parts of teaching (politics, standardized tests, angry parents, disciplining a classroom of 35+ kids).  I worked there for almost two years before I moved to a new city and a new job.  As an assistant librarian in the young adult department of a suburban library, I discovered my passion for programming, outreach, and marketing, as well as working with teens. 

I moved back to my home state of Nebraska after almost three years working in YA.  I’m now a part-time library assistant for Lincoln City Libraries.  Working at a branch library means doing a little bit of everything.  However, working part-time means I miss out on doing special projects and programs. 

From 2009 to 2010, I worked on my MLS online through Clarion University.  I graduated last December.  Now I’m looking for that elusive full-time professional position.  I would love to work in youth services and do programming and outreach.  But with tight budgets all around, library positions are few and far between.  In a year and a half, changes will take place in my personal life that will allow me the flexibility to move.  In the meantime, I will continue to work as a library assistant and participate in professional development activities to keep my skills sharp and my options open.

Library Scavenger Hunt

Sometimes middle school or high school classes, homeschool groups, or groups such as Boy Scout troops would ask for a tour of the library, specifically the Teen Zone.  In preparation for a school visit from a 7th grade class, I prepared a tour and short tutorial of relevant library resources.  After the tutorial, students split into groups to do practice exercises and a scavenger hunt of the Teen Zone.

Click below to view the practice exercises and scavenger hunt.

Practice exercises and scavenger hunt