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ALA Think Tank

Question I am interviewing for a full time librarian position even though I am still in library school. My director at my pt job recommended me. However I'm not sure how I feel about the library or if it's the right fit. On the other hand, ft librarian jobs in my county are few and far between. I should be very grateful for even an interview before I have the mls. How picky can I afford to be? Would I be stupid to turn down an offer here?

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Question Hello, I want your opinion on something. If you did not have an office and you sat in the middle of a learning commons type arrangement. That is your spot for when students come to see you, that is your spot when you have to do administrative work and strategize for your library. It is a small one room library and basically you are like you are in a fish bowl. You put your ear plugs in when the noise level is high to block out the noise/for webinars/ for music. Is anything wrong with doing this?

Answered on ALATT


Question I love all the discussions the anonymous questions generate... but I want to know what happens after too! Can you encourage question askers to write back via this tumblr to tell us the outcome/their decisions? Please?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Posted to ALATT


Question My friend's library is being targeted by a pair about filtering policy (they don't, and no policy explicitly forbidding porn) Pair has caused chaos at all board meetings since & initiated legal action over perceived slights. Targeting on FB and blogs individuals at the library and attacking personally (clothing, etc) All critique of their posts is blocked. Now made a fake FB page using my friends photos. Anyone else experienced this? Afraid to support friend- don't want them after my library.

Answered on ALATT


Question Have an interview for a Youth Services Manager position, while I have plenty of experience. I haven't had a traditional managerial experiences but plenty via overseeing volunteers and running committees. I have never interviewed for a management level position before...what questions should I expect at this level? Can anyone provide me some sample questions and/or resources?

Answered on ALATT


Question I accepted my fate to go through a particular SLIS program because it was the only SLIS within miles of me, it offered the option of continuing the program online (because I knew I was going to move out of state), and I got a full-ride scholarship. Now I'm one year in and I hate it. I look at other schools and feel envious of the course offerings in youth services - my school offers barely any courses in YS. I feel trapped. What can I do besides transfer and lose all of my credits?

Answered on ALATT


Question I am applying for a position and have been told, after interviewing, it is between me and another applicant. They have now asked me back for a two hour true or false survey. This will be taken in the HR department in the city hall, and I will not be meeting with anyone in the library. Has anyone taken something like this? Tips or advice are welcome.

Answered on ALA Think Tank


Question I recently (a little over a month ago) began volunteering at a public library. I just finished my Masters degree. I have volunteered nearly every Saturday except for a few. I enjoy volunteering, but with my full-time job and job searching for a librarian position, I am getting worn down. I am afraid that if I stop volunteering now I will leave a bad impression with this library, which is close by and could potentially be a future employer. Thoughts/Suggestions?

Answered on ALATT


Question Is there such a thing as a counselor/therapist for librarians? Ideally, some kind of combination of career advice and moral support, with online/email access and confidentiality guaranteed....Even better would be someone who can speak to working in different types of libraries/environments especially for new grads who are feeling rather lost *cough*. (Would be a great job for someone with decades of experience!) But really, does this person exist?

Answered on ALATT.


Question Is there a librarian suicide hotline? Not that I'd have the courage to do it, but I get so depressed about my current employment status and the amount of rejection letters/emails that I receive that it keeps appearing in my mind.

Oh man…  If you’re trolling and not serious, please stop cuz it’s not funny. 

If you are serious, then you need to get some help that ALATT and I can’t give you.  I would love to truly help (this is PC BTW) but I’m not qualified so I can only give you advice from my own personal experience. 

I’ve been terribly personally depressed before and it sucks and its indescribable and I understand that there is nothing that I can say to change it and I’ve watched family members get completely destroyed by depression.  The only thing I will talk about though are a couple of things that have helped me through my slumps and profession specific depressions. -

1) So many of my librarian friends get depressed about the state of our profession, you wouldn’t be alone.  I’ve had so many conversations with librarians about our mutual and  slumps depressions.   Having that network has helped a lot and it’s a big part of the reason why I say that networking with your colleagues is so important for things besides just finding jobs or career advancements. I don’t know what I would be doing if I hadn’t met a couple of the librarians that I met early in my career but it sure as hell wouldn’t be librarianship.

2) What has worked for me and some of the other librarians I talk to is to take on a big project.  That’s a huge part of why I do so many things like the write-out, or everylibrary, or the story sailboat, or ALA Council.

3) While librarianship is great and we are so passionate about it, we also need to realize that it’s just a fucking library and not the be all end all to the entire world. It helps me to realize that a couple of times a day!

4) I’ve personally found that hobbies and other outside interests help. Something beyond the profession.  It’s really helpful for me to realize that there is so much more to the world than what I do to get paid. I love going to non-library conferences for example.  There is just so much out there!

5) Writing about it has helped me a lot.  When I feel down and depressed reaching out through my blog has done a lot of good.  It’s good to know that I’m not alone and a lot of people feel like I do or have felt it before.

6) Starting a group is great! I’m on a couple of groupme chats and secret FB groups that are a lot of fun and make me happy about being a librarian again.

I know that when you’re depressed, none of this advice really matters that much.  I can only speak to my experiences and I probably can’t give you the advice that you REALLY need.  But I will remind you that people are rooting for you, we all want you to succeed, and we are all here to support you even when it looks like we’re being assholes (as sometimes happens on ALATT).  Please don’t be afraid to ask for help or to talk to people or take the step of getting some professional help for your depression.  That first step is huge and it’s the most painful but after that it gets better. 

Here is the national hotline and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it! - 1-800-273-8255