|Image [cc] leesean|
I wasn’t sure if dusting off the old Elephant Post idea would work, but I’d have to say that we had a lot of people step up and answer the call. Nina Platt threw out the challenge to Law Librarian Bloggers, and like the true delegator I am, I asked all of you to step up and answer that challenge. There are still many outstanding questions, but this was a good start.
I will have to say one personal note about the challenge, from the standpoint of a blogger. I blog, and many of those that I know that blog, do so simply as an outlet for our own personal ideas and experiences. We sometimes stumble upon a suggestion that helps others, but we tend to ask more questions than we answer. All of our situations are unique, and we all have the ability to step up and solve most of our own problems.
Blogs like this one create a quasi-community. However, most of the conversation in this community is one-sided. It helps with getting the idea out there, but it takes someone on the local level to actually do something. In order to make that happen, I suggest that we all go beyond the writings found on a blog and find someone that you can bounce your own ideas off of. That might be a peer within your firm, a peer or friend outside your firm, or even a consultant if the issues are really tough. The key is to find someone to have that conversation and will act as your sounding board.
It was fun bringing back the Elephant Post idea for an ad hoc issue like this. Hopefully, we’ll have additional reasons to do it again in the near future. Now, enough of my waxing nostalgic, here are the answers that you provided:
Brian L. Baker
Better Treatment and Help for Those Laid Off in 2009
- Better prepared librarians who were laid off, with survival skills. I was adrift, and I know many others went through the same thing.
- Be more open, when hiring, to older applicants who used to make a lot of money. We just want a chance to prove ourselves. We would reward that chance with loyalty, because, no matter what the salary cut would be, it is better than unemployment, minimum wage, or spending retirement money to survive.
What skills will librarians need to have that they don’t have now?
I have two years post MLIS experience in special libraries, but no experience in law libraries, nor do I possess a J.D. Would someone like me have a shot at a future working in a law library, or is the existing barrier too difficult to breach?
- Start/restart conversations with the firm’s leadership with the goal of identifying knowledge gaps that would help bridge the firm’s business solutions.
- Educate yourself on technology issues by staying current on new tools/services.
- Keep your finger on the pulse of various practices by dropping in on meetings and organizing CLEs.
legal profession. We cannot stand alone as an isolated profession. ILTA is a
good example where IT, KM, Librarians, Records, Conflicts and lawyers all come
together. Below, is a white paper I just published based on research
underwritten by Lexis but independently conducted by a research firm. In order
to understand how we can be valuable to the practice and business of law, we
must be intimately aware of the pain points. Lack of research skills is one of
the pain points. This white papers seeks to address these pain points and
provide an opportunity for law librarians to fix the problem. Our clients will
no longer pay for training our young lawyers.
How Will Library Eduction Need to Change?
Many experienced librarians who are back in the job market are seeing jobs requirements they never had to learn on the job and for which training is rarely offered by association programs.
Change the basic library degree to a four year undergraduate BS, with graduate degrees in library management, law, medicine and others I can’t think of.
The economics don’t support requiring a librarian to get an undergrad degree in something else, then a Masters (and in many cases a JD, Masters in Biology, or other discipline) just to land a job that might start at 35K.
Besides, I think there is a lot more to learn to be an effective librarian these days, enough to fill four years. Multidisciplinary stuff like accounting, IT, communications and marketing, effective writing and presentation. Stuff that will make a librarian valuable right out of the gate.
Library schools should offer continuing education courses to librarians in the field. Much of what I see in library school curricula and in job requirements these days don’t match what many librarians have been able to learn on the job or in association programming.
Close the gap between library schools and the profession. In my experience, the twain never meet once a librarian has graduated. The schools rarely make an effort to interact with practicing librarians, at least not in the law library world. Maybe it’s different for public and academic libraries.