By BRIAN C. JONES
Rhode Island Library Report
KINGSTON, R.I. (March 17, 2013) – These are tough times to get a job in any field, and landing a position at a library is no exception.
So students at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island have decided to take matters into their own hands, organizing a jobs conference this Saturday, March 23, at URI’s Kingston campus.
But job hunting is not the only goal of the conference, according to Stefanie R. Metko, president of URI’s student chapter of the American Library Association (ALA). She hopes the conference also will promote collaboration between participants when graduates are working in the community.
“I wanted students to have valuable networking opportunities that could later translate into collaborations between future professionals and seasoned professionals,” she told the Library Report in an e-mail exchange.
“Some of the best ideas are brought forth by the most unusual collaborations,” Metko wrote, “and I thought that by bringing together librarians, at all points in their careers and from all different types of libraries, it could be the beginning of something really great.”
Still, a job after graduation is a major concern, which is why the conference is called “Catapult Your Career.”
So far, 40 students have signed up for the conference, which will include representatives of 25 libraries, four of them in other states. Student attendees thus will have a valuable head start in speaking directly with those already in the field.
"Library jobs are scarce right now," Metko said, explaining that the employment outlook for the 35
One concern, said Metko, is that as libraries contend with tight budgets, some may not be filling vacant positions, and, instead, they might be considering hiring more part-time librarians as a way of cutting costs.
Experienced librarians share in the concern for newcomers, and Metko said the idea of the conference came from Carina Cournoyer, a 2008 graduate of the GSLIS program, now scholarly resources librarian for social sciences at Brown University.
Cournoyer initially had suggested a career day, and Metko asked if she would help in planning a larger-scale event, so Cournoyer enlisted another graduate of the 2008 class, Edward Garcia, director of the Cranston Public Library.
Garcia, who joined the Cranston library system in 2008 after serving as an assistant director of the Central Falls Free Library, was named an American Library Association “Emerging Leader” in 2010 and is a member of the Library Board of Rhode Island.
Also helping to organize the event were Dr. Lauren H. Mandel, assistant GSLIS professor and advisor to the student ALA group, and Renee Hobbs, founding director of URI’s new Harrington School of Communication and Media, which encompasses six URI departments, including the graduate library program.
Scheduled as keynote speaker is Peter Bromberg, associate director of the Princeton Public Library in New Jersey, who was named as “The Transformer” by the Library Journal, when that ALA publication also selected him as a “Mover and Shaker” in 2008.
Bromberg’s topic will be “influence when you have no power or authority,” according to the advance program materials.
* Exploring career paths in librarianship.
* Interactive mock interview session.
* Publishing and Presenting 101, which will explore avenues for publishing scholarly work.
* A Professional Field Experience and career networking session.
* Wikipedia: friend or foe.
* Situational leadership: why this is important in all libraries today.
* How to build a professional network and maintain a good social presence online.
* The role of (the) leader in implementing Common Core state standards.
Students on the planning committee, in addition to Metko, are:
Katherine L. Boden, student ALA secretary/treasurer; Sarah Naomi Campbell, student ALA vice president; Rhodes Elliott Stevens, student ALA member; Dominic J. LaFlamme, student ALA webmaster; Christina M. DuFour, student ALA social media coordinator; and Kelly A. LeMeur, student ALA member.
Sponsors include the Rhode Island Library Association and RILINK, the school library collaborative. ASK RI.org, the state’s information and research service, will have a booth.
The “Catapult Your Careers” conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Swan Hall, on the URI campus, with some sessions at the University Club. Metko said registration will be open until the day of the conference, although those planning to go to a “networking lunch and leadership workshop” are asked to enroll by Wednesday, March 20. Fees for members of the student ALA chapter are $15, and $25 for others.
Here is the registration link: