So far, my master’s program has been a surprise and exactly what was expected. I know those seem like two opposite feelings, and perhaps they are. I guess, I knew what I was getting into, but at the same time, I had no idea.
I think the part that is to be expected is as such. I feel that I had a firm grasp of what was to be expected from me. I have a general idea of what was going on in the field. I even knew what I wanted to do and generally how I was going to get there.
The part that is surprising is how in depth it can go. My sister told me once that you do not learn anything until you have reached your master’s. I did not know what she meant until I started my own. I feel as if I an engaging with material in a way that has never been required of me. Think Tanks allow me to actively engage and discuss with my peers, but scholarly reading allows me to actively engage with people who really know what they are talking about. In a lot of ways this is exciting, but it is also intimidating. Eventually, these people will be my peers and these will be the people I will discuss and engage with.
As far as blogs goes, engaging with ideas I would not have otherwise engaged has been the most valuable aspect. The job analysis was particularly important, especially as I pick my classes and set up my POW. It made me stop and consider if I was on the right track, what track I should go down, and how I should change my perspective as I go on. It also makes you think of things in a career oriented way. This program is the start of my career, not two years from now. If I think of it like that, than my take away, my focus, should all be on how will this progress and overlap into a future job? How will this overlap with my next step?
The second half of the semester, I honestly have no idea. I guess, I see myself just trying to make it through while learning as much as I can. I cannot learn everything, I’ve learned that much, but I can try. I guess my takeaway from the first half is to try to focus as much as possible and learn as much as possible.
For my future job, I think a good, if not starting place, then first couple years, would be a position with qualifications and responsibilities such as this:
Job Duties and Responsibilities:
- Anticipate and keep colleagues abreast of library user needs, preference and trends, including trends related to user-centered design, digital library interface capabilities, website enhancement, and usability in libraries.
- Design and conduct qualitative and quantitative user needs/usability studies utilizing various methods (including, but not limited to online surveys, card sorting, interviews, focus groups, and observations) to assess user needs, preferences and trends.
- Collaborate with the Emerging Technologies Librarian, the Web Services Librarian, the Libraries’ Website Team, and any other entities involved in user assessment activities to analyze the Libraries’ web presence and provide input for user-centered enhancements and user assessment processes.
- Create and coordinate library advisory groups representing the various library stakeholders.
- Utilize user input to collaborate on and contribute to the creation, development and implementation of innovative projects and services available through the FIU Libraries’ websites, content management systems and digital repositories.
- Stay abreast of trends related to user-centered design, the development of digital library interface capabilities, website enhancement, and usability in libraries.
- Participates in providing information services including reference, library instruction, and serving as a liaison to an assigned disciplinary area.
- ALA-accredited Master’s degree.
- Excellent interpersonal skills.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills, with demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in multiple formats and to diverse audiences.
- Minimum of two (2) years demonstrated experience with creating and implementing user assessment tools and conducting user experience and/or usability studies.
- Demonstrated experience in addressing usability issues, ADA compliancy and with user-centered design in libraries, educational institutions, or other knowledge-based organization.
- Knowledge of and experience with current and emerging web development technologies as they relate to digital library services and the user experience of all library patron types.
- Experience providing reference and instruction services.
- Project coordination experience
- Experience working in an academic library.
- Experience with library statistics collection and analysis.
Currently, I only have part of the skills, but will have attained a lot more by the end of my masters schooling. Currently, I have the ability to work with HTML 5 and Jacascript. I have the ability experience with reference instruction. I have strong communication skills, as demonstrated by my degree in English and my many years working in customer service.
I would need to develop a lot though. I would need to gain experience with project work. I have some from my internship working with an after-school program, I still would need to find an entry level position or internship that lets me actively engage this specifically and develop those skills. I would also need to take more technology classes. I would also want to find some position that allows me to learn to work with and analyze library statistics in an active way. I think the best bet would be to find internships and to take more technology classes and user engagement classes.
As far as jobs go, I am aiming for the future here. Where do I see myself when I graduate? If I am being honest, probably working an adjunct position, maybe two (if I am lucky!) working towards that heavenly full time job! Ten years from now, fifteen years from now, who knows where I will be? Maybe I will not even be working in a library. If my career path shoots where I want it to (I say want, not knowing really where I will be ten years from now), I would love to be a director of an Academic Library. Dream big, right?
One position I found (I won’t post the link, because it will probably be filled by the time someone reads this) is Director of Salt Lake Community College Libraries (full description and requirements listed on the bottom of page). To make it to this job would be a difficult route. I would have to concentrate my career on furthering my own education (acquiring a doctorate), increasing leadership and management skills, perfecting communication (both written and verbal), working in an academic library, and honing my skills with technology and other academic library needs. It would require focus, dedication, and a very real desire to further my career.
I would love to do this and I would love to do this within ten years. With that said, I would also love to get married, have a family, and maybe pursue other passions. I question if I have the desire to progress my career in such a short amount of time. Perhaps a more realistic goal would be fifteen or twenty years. That way I can still enjoy other aspects of my life outside of my career. I also wonder if perhaps I am putting too much emphasis on the difficulty of attaining a position like this. It does require the effort, but I feel I am naturally good at duties such as the ones listed.
If anything, I need to get my feet wet in the field to see how it would work out and where I would go. This post has really made me consider the amount of dedication it takes. I would love to be a leader in the field and make a significant change. To do so, my career has to be a focus. The question is how much of a focus and in what context? Can I focus on other things too?
|Director, Salt Lake Community College Libraries
Responsible for strengthening the SLCC libraries through engaging leadership and management, and upholding the libraries as strong partners in teaching and learning at the college.
Similar to a Dean position, provides leadership, vision, and advocacy for the multiple college libraries at SLCC. Primary emphases are related, but not limited to, information literacy instruction, resource allocation, collection development and alignment with college curriculum, planning, staffing, program development, evaluation of library resources and services, and advancement of the library in teaching and learning at SLCC.
Essential Responsibilities and Duties:
- Develops and advances the vision, mission, and long-range plans for the libraries as they relate to the college mission, vision and policies.
- Collaborates with colleagues across SLCC to ensure effective learning resources programs and services, and an effective and consistent library experience across the system.
- Provides leadership that reflects current needs and future trends in libraries, including scholarly communications and assessment of operations and services.
- Markets and promotes utilization of library resources and services to the college and the community in general.
- Fosters cooperative relationships with libraries and other external agencies that enhance the resources and services provided to the library constituency.
- Provides leadership and expertise in the effective delivery of services.
- Communicates objectives and plans for collections, services and facilities; includes staff members in the planning process for library operations.
- Provides effective professional development for library staff.
- Supports staff participation in external professional organizations, and internal professional development activities provided by both SLCC.
- Develops, manages and administers the budget.
- Complies with external guidelines (e.g., those of various subject centered accrediting agencies) and local, state and federal laws and regulations.
- Assures representation of the library in college planning, task forces and committees.
- Evaluates and reports on programs, collections and services as and when required.
- Responsible for other reasonable, related duties as assigned.
- Other duties as assigned.
- Masters Degree in Library Science (MLS/MLIS) from an ALA-accredited institution, or Masters degree in (or related to) Curriculum, Instruction, or Administration.
- At least two years of administrative management.
- Five (5) years of progressively responsible library or learning resources experience.
- Doctorate degree.
- Experience in an academic library.
- LIS related administrative experience.
- Experience supporting eLearning curriculum.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
- A clear understanding of emerging trends and issues and the vision, energy, and creativity to address them;
- Understanding of the role of librarianship within teaching and learning;
- Ability to lead in a collaborative environment, including the ability to lead and engage staff through the process of organizational improvement and change;
- Understanding of information technologies, eLearning, library integrated information systems, and patron services in academic libraries;
- Vision to translate traditional library services into online learning environments;
- eLearning course design and delivery;
- Apply leadership principles and human relations, strategic planning, problem solving, and team building skills;
- Lead in developing and creating teaching and learning environments for faculty and students;
- Represent the SLCC Libraries and its associated learning resources in the learning and eLearning contexts;
- Understand college operations, policies and procedures within a multi-campus environment;
- Excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills;
- Accounting practices and financial and budget planning principles;
- Ability to demonstrate effective fiscal and budget management skills.
Civility and urbanity are essential attributes of the successful candidate.
Special Instructions: Salt Lake Community College will conduct a background check on the successful candidate.