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No conference budget? No problem. Do this instead (and don’t spend a dime)

Hispanic woman using laptop on coffee table

Professional conferences can be a great LIS career booster – in-person networking, learning from cutting-edge presentations, immersing yourself in the dynamic energy of the profession or a new-to-you industry. There’s just one problem: conferences, including their registration, housing and travel costs, can be way expensive.

In addition, the broader your LIS interests and areas of expertise, the wider the range of conferences that might pique your interest. PLA, SLA, ALA, AASL, ACRL, and AIIP might just be the starters. Then there’s Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian, the Charleston Conference, KM World, ARMA Live, the ASIS&T annual conference, and dozens of other specialized information professional events.

Information professionals are even finding a home at theoretically unrelated events such as the music and tech festival, South by Southwest (SXSW), an indicator of the expanding range of information/library expertise and interests.

If you can only afford one, does that mean you miss out on everything else?

Not necessarily. (more…)

Conference proposals 101: what, when, and how to submit yours

As you grow your LIS career, one of the most effective ways to build your professional reputation and visibility is to present at conferences.

You’ll have a chance to share your expertise with colleagues interesting in learning more about your topic, and create credibility for your professional knowledge.

If you’ve never gone through the proposal process, however, it can be a bit daunting at first. Rest assured, it’s actually a pretty simple process. (more…)

Learning about data librarianship

One of the questions with emerging LIS career opportunities is how to retool your traditional library skills to bridge into these cool new career paths.

If you’re interested in data librarianship, I’d suggest your first move be to read Amy Affelt’s excellent The Accidental Data Scientist (Information Today, 2015). Consider Affelt’s book to be “everything you wanted to know about data librarianship but never would have had a clue to ask.”

Learning More
After you’ve read the book, however, you may be so intrigued that you decide it’s time to make a serious move in the direction of data librarianship. If so, you have several choices for mastering the requisite skill set. One way would be to try to find ways to learn on the job, if your current work situation lends itself to this option – is there someone who would be willing to mentor you or share their knowledge, and perhaps give you an opportunity to try out your developing skills on a volunteer or training basis? (more…)

Invest/Maintain/Kill: Awful Way to Treat Employees, But Smart Way to Manage Your Career

Yesterday-Todoay-Tomorrow

I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of Yahoo CEO Melissa Mayer, and the spate of recent articles about her stealth layoff approach (here’s one) remind me of one of the things I like best about being an independent information professional (i.e., no one’s going to lay me off).

But as I read the articles, I was struck by what a terrific approach the Invest/Maintain/Kill mantra could be for your career. If you’re the type who regularly (okay, at least annually) does a career review, sorting out your priorities along these lines can help focus your efforts in ways most likely to keep you moving toward your goals. What might the invest/maintain/kill approach look like? (more…)

Forget Resolutions, Focus on Your Dreams

Little girl looking through binoculars

A new year.

A blank slate to write on, experiment with, screw up, laugh about, and grow with.

An open space within which to wander and dream.

Why waste it on resolutions that don’t reflect those dreams? Instead, why not shift your focus on where you’d like your LIS career to grow in 2016. What do your career dreams look like? This coming year is the perfect time to start moving toward their realization. (more…)

Modeling Your Message, or What to Do When You Keynote PPT Goes Nuts

Plan A failed, we need plan B

Recently I had the amazing honor of giving the wrap-up keynote at the 2015 SLA conference. The conference itself was a pretty intense several days, as SLA is currently undergoing some very difficult but important revisions to its structure, vision, core competencies, and identity. But conference discussions also provided a vibrant, real-life example of how we all need to be able to meet changing circumstances head-on, even if the choices we have aren’t the ones we’d hoped for.

My wrap-up keynote carried the same message. Titled “Improvising Your Career: How to Not Freak Out, Run for Cover, or Have to Move In With Your Folks (or Kids),” it focused on the necessity of having, to quote The Start-Up of You (Hoffman and Casnocha, 2012), a permanent beta mindset when it comes to your career. In other words, consider yourself always in start-up mode, and assume that your most important core competency is your ability to adapt. To improvise. To tap dance as fast as you can….

(more…)