Facebook is again in the news, this time over opening the site (which was once only open to .edu addresses) to a wider community. As with the news feed fiasco, some students are up in arms. Protest groups have formed; two big concerns seem to be mommy checking up on them and stalkers. I confess to not having an account on Facebook and not knowing much about it, but it certainly seems like they’re making their users very angry.
I think that most people would agree that the first few weeks of any new job are a little stressful and nerve-wracking; I would. New co-workers, policies, agendas, and responsibilities have kept me busy for the initial weeks of my new job as the Public Services Librarian at a small liberal arts college. Before starting, I was nervous about my first afternoon at the Reference Desk and the first instructional session I was responsible for planning. At the same time, I was very excited to meet the rest of the staff, see my new office, and joining the ranks of other professional academic librarians. Settling into my new role started with overviews and explanations of the daily functions of the library. Staff members took time to go over their areas and how I would interact with them on a daily basis and for what reasons. I also took time to settle into my office, go through notes the previous librarian had left for me, figure out how to get through all those emails (that just keep coming), and begin to establish a routine. I also pulled out my philosophy of librarianship that I developed in graduate school and stuck it up on my bulletin board. It will serve as a reminder of why I personally chose this field and the challenges that accompany it. I would also like to thank ACRL for the opportunity to report on my first year experience and I hope that you check back for updates and comments.
Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki authors the blog Signum Sine Tinnitu, a popular blog that often delivers good ideas and solid advice. He has some great tip lists on things like schmoozing and presenting with PowerPoint. Just recently he offered some interesting advice for students in a post titled “Ten Things to Learn This School Year“. The essence of the post is advice for workplace survival, from how to communicate with the boss to surviving meetings to explaining things in 30 seconds. It’s an interesting set of skills, none of which are really taught in our institutions but are valuable for workplace success.
Kawasaki lists one skill in particular that struck me as one that the academic library should be teaching students. Number four on his list is “how to figure out anything on your own”. I think that many of us are making an effort to teach students to research independently, as well as how to effectivey evaluate information that they find. Here Kawasaki says “armed with Google” students need to force themselves how to learn to figure out anything. Being able to find information independently is great, but it can also be a huge time waster when it’s done poorly. Kawasaki says “There are no office hours, no teaching assistants, and study groups in the real world”. Unfortunately, he doesn’t point out that there are libraries and librarians, some providing special research resources for alumni, out there waiting to help. We should help our students develop the independent search skills that will enable them to figure out anything on their own – but they should also understand that there are times when doing so will cost more time than it is worth. Our students also need to know when it makes good sense to consult a professional.
The ACRLog blog team is excited to offer a new feature for this academic year. We told you about the ACRL member survey , and its demographic data leads us to believe that a fair number of years have passed since many of our readers spent their first year as an academic librarian. Well, we hope to take you back to those halcyon days (excepting perhaps those who landed the first job from hell) with reports from our first-year academic librarian, Lauren Jensen. I asked Lauren to share with me some information about how she came to choose a career in academic librarianship. Consider her response your introduction to Lauren:
I spent my undergraduate time at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL. While I was there I started working in the library while pursuing History and Political Science and had planned on working as a legislative aide or within a museum. By the end of my junior year, I decided that the library was a place that I enjoyed and I was encouraged by the staff to pursue this. Julia Dickinson, Public Services Librarian, now at Berea College in KY, was both my supervisor and mentor. Our discussions, along with others on the staff, made me realize that libraries were the place to be. I graduated in May of 2005 and started my Masters of Science at the Univesrity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall of 2005. I planned on completing the program in one year, and then secured a Graduate Assistantship position with the Government Documents Library there under Karen Hogenboom, Mary Mallory, and David Griffiths. While finishing up school, I started looking for jobs and found an opening for a public services librarian at the Hewes Library at Monmouth College in west-central Illinois. I was hired at the end of May, finished school end of July, and started here mid-August.
We look forward to Lauren’s occasional reports from the field, and we hope you will as well. Look for Lauren’s first post sometime next week.
The Wall Street Journal (free) reports that students are “outraged” over two new features in Facebook called News Feed and Mini Feed. The features “track users’ actions on the site and then keep all of their friends apprised of those developments.” Students are angered that information that they thought was private became public overnight. This adds to the evidence that privacy is only mostly dead and not completely dead.