Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Comps Notes Spring 2009

• Logistics of exam:
o Exam is put together by an exam committee, made up of 3 faculty members;
 Soliciting suggestions for questions from entire faculty then structures exam. Sometimes, editing what faculty submits for comprehensibility and does not assume knowledge you would not have unless you took an elective.
 The committee is the official committee that the graduate school appoints to oversee the exam
 However, the exam is evaluate by entire committee, double blind read: two people are assigned to read the responses of each of the 5 questions
• 6 people will read your exam
• The 2nd reader does not know what the assessment was of the first reader; no marks, no grades. Two independent judgments for each of the 3 questions you would answer.
• The graduate school sets parameters for what you would do and how you would do it. The school allows you to repeat the exam once if you fail, but no third options.
 The exam’s purpose is for you to integrate everything you know and have experienced in the program. We take an issues oriented format, for example, a current issue or problem and use that as a launching pad to talk about other issues related to it.
• We often allow you to approach the exam from the perspective of a particular emphasis, i.e. public library vs. academic library.
• Generally, the questions do not have a single answer. Instead, they call for your informed opinion or to argue a side.
• To prepare:
o You know more than you think you do.
o You can review class notes
o Good way to study is to review the past exams; if I got this question, how would I approach it
• The most common errors people make when they do not pass it:
o The exam does not assume that all you have taken are the core classes.
o Exam is not pro forma
o Respondent did not answer question; wrote on the subject
 Pay attention to the verbs and do what the question asks you to do
o Length and Depth; not enough there
 How long should an answer be? About an hour per question
• Do not have to be highly detailed but be specific
• Typically, you do not have to cite anyone
o Exception: ALA documents
o Dr. Sineath: I can count on one hand the number of people in 30 years who have failed twice
 You do not have to be registered as a student to take exam over
 You receive feedback from the director, face to face, why you failed the exam
 If any of the 6 readers says any question is not passable, then the 3 member exam committee reviews the entire exam and gives final say
• They can overturn a single reader’s fail mark
• Best approach to taking exam:
o Take a past question and outline it; map it
o During exam, you will be provided scratch paper
o Be precise and clear; no long eloquent writing
 i.e. no story intro; tell 3 or 4 main points you are going to address
 Transitions are key; several paragraphs over one block of text
 If there are 3 distinct questions (in one answer) use subject headers within your response.
 Content is what matters!
o Do not sit down and starting write; take time to think
 Gives you a more coherent response and improves the way you use your time during the exam
• Not attached to exam or considered in grading essay
 The exam is self managed; starts at 9am and ends at 1pm
 Blue book are an option for taking; word processing not mandatory
• Essays saved to desktop, then printed out
• Everyone is given a tracking number for anonymity; only chair committee has that list.
• During process of writing, make sure to save often. No way to recover and there are no backup procedures.
o Word Processor: MS Word 2007
• Results in 2 weeks, though department has yet to take the full two weeks. We may be pressed this time because this is the largest group to sit.
o You will receive a letter from DGS with results
 Will Buntin has them that day in his office; email will follow
 Not allowed to give results over email

• You can refer to laws or names to identify, but you do not have to document in the style of a footnote. But don’t assume your reader knows that person’s contribution – do state/explain that process.
• If you approach from a specific setting, do not go as specific as to an instiution.
o What is ok: school library, public library, urban public library, rural public library, academic library, small academic library, large academic library
• Management and issues; do you take one broad issues and apply to all functions or one issue per function?
o One issue per function; cannot put one issue over all of them.
• What specific theories, other than Zipf's Principle of Least Effort, would be helpful in studying the search behavior of users?
o Kulthau’s Information Seeking Process, Dervin’s Sense Making
• As I studied the old comp questions from the Comps WIKI site I noticed a principle mentioned when creating privacy policies called the "Fair Information Practice Principle". Could you describe/explain it...would it be a good principle to draw upon?
o Confusing two things; professors do not what this is referring to.
• My final question has to do with a previous question from 2007. It asks:
Library collections, commercial databases, and the Internet are among the basic avenues for information retrieval. Describe the typical scope and contents of these information sources and compare methods for retrieving information from them. To what extent do they overlap? With examples, illustrate when (under what circumstances) and how (with what particular search strategies) each of the avenues can best be used.
I would be very appreciate of an article or resource journal suggestion to help answer the many questions that should be addressed.
o Scope:
 What does the library have?
 What is that database about?
 The internet – everything!
o Retrieval:
 Subject Headings (Library)
 Thesauri and Controlled Vocabulary (Database)
 Natural Language or Limited Metadata Searching (Internet)
• Issues with attempts to catalog the internet
o Overlap:
 Keyword searching
 Boolean searching
o Examples:
• Public library has mediators (librarians!) to help…
 Commercial databases
 Internet Search Engines
o Questions is asking you to compare and contrast
o Article or Journal Suggestion: 601 and 602 notes
• A public library board in a Georgia community where one in 6 residents are Hispanic recently decided to stop purchasing Spanish language material. If you were a library director, how would you handle this directive? What professional What ALA guidelines would you use…
o First sentence: you do not have to know anything about this case. It is simply providing a vehicle to trigger an idea about something broader.
o 4 questions need to be answered:
 What would you do as library director?
• Speak to public, garner public support in changing perspective of illegal immigrants
 What professional ethics and issues does this raise?
 How would you address them?
 What ALA guidelines would you bring into this discussion?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

LISSO Elections!

Attention SLIS students:

LISSO needs your help! In order to continue offering fun social events and informative professional development opportunities, LISSO needs new officers for the 2009-2010 school year. The following positions will be available:


Vice President


Other positions may also be available. Please contact Krista King if you are interested. Also, please try to attend the next LISSO/ALA joint meeting which will be held in the SLIS student lounge on 3.31.2009 from 5:30-6:30.

Thank you for your consideration!


Monday, March 16, 2009

professional references tips

Professional References Tips:

 Make sure that people know you’re using them as a professional reference. It doesn’t look good when a person on your reference list has no idea you were using them as a reference.

 Don’t assume that someone you’re on good terms with is going to be a GOOD reference. Ask first if they would be able to provide you with a GOOD reference. There is a huge difference between just “being a reference” for someone and being a good reference. You want to make sure people will say positive things about you.

 Use as many supervisors as possible from past jobs. Even if most or all of your job experience is not in libraries, potential employers will want to know what kind of employee you were. Supervisors are in the best position to provide this information.

 So, the kinds of people who should be on your list of references, in order of importance.
o Supervisors, even if it was a non-library job. Supervisors for your assistantship are good, too
o Co-workers
o Librarians whom you worked with, but who didn’t necessarily supervise you. (i.e. if you had an assistantship in some department of a library)
o Library school faculty whom you’ve worked closely with. Comments like “I had Jane in my Cataloging class and she was a thoughtful, diligent student” are good to have in a pinch, but do not say much about you as an employee.

 Avoid using fellow library school students as references, if at all possible. It’s better to use professional references from non-library jobs instead.

 Don’t use anyone with whom you’ve had disagreements or ongoing interpersonal conflicts, unless you have patched things up with the person and are now on excellent terms with them. If you aren’t sure where you stand with a possible reference, ask them. (See above.)

 Make sure your professional reference’s basic information is correct. *(Exact job title, and the correct address, phone number, & e-mail.) Don’t make the search committee have to hunt for the correct information!

 It’s OK to provide one more reference more than the job announcement calls for.

 Keep in touch with your references a couple of times per year to let them know what you’ve been doing. Thank them profusely after they’ve been contacted by a potential employer. Put them on your Christmas card list. Keeping in touch with them can include:

o Give them examples of professional development experiences, projects you’ve taken on, etc.
o Let them know what kinds of jobs you’re applying for.
o Send them an updated copy of your resume before you begin sending it out to employers.

 Don’t send your list of references along with the resume and cover letter unless asked. It’s perfectly OK to have a section at the end of your resume that says “References provided upon request.”

Compiled by Mark Shores
Assistant Director/Regional Campus Librarian
Miami UniversityHamilton
Hamilton, OH

cover letter tips

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

• Write a full letter. A few sentences or even one or two paragraphs are not enough. This is your chance to sell yourself—use the letter to market yourself.
• Proofread, proofread, proofread. And then have someone else proofread. Do not rely solely on the spell-check feature of your word processing software. Spell-check programs do not catch every mistake.
• Your cover letter is more than just a cover letter; it is a writing sample. Your potential employer will pay attention to how well you write because he or she will eventually need for you to write things such as grants, reports, proposals, board reports, newspaper articles, book reviews, etc. Your future supervisor will not have the time or desire to correct your grammar and writing errors.
• Do not begin every paragraph in your letter with the word “I.” Too many sentences beginning with “I have”, “I would”, “I am”, and “I will” are apt to make you look like a less than stellar writer.
• Your cover letter should not be all about you and your needs. Talk about what you can do for your potential employer. The employer wants to know how you can help make his or her library a better place.
• Do your research. Before you write your letter, do some research on the library you are applying to. You may find a way to work some of your newfound knowledge into your cover letter. For example: “From viewing your website, I noticed that your library is beefing up its outreach to the elderly in the community. I have a keen interest in services to this group; I planned and presented a program for seniors as one of my class projects.” Look for opportunities to demonstrate how your experience or skills match up with the employer’s needs.
• Your cover letter should not be a recital of your resume. It should offer an intriguing glimpse of who you are and what you can do. The cover letter should pique the employer’s interest enough that he or she will want to then read your resume. The cover letter and resume combined should provoke the employer to want to bring you in for an interview.
• Put it on paper. If you send a cover letter and resume via email or fax, be sure to state that you will also send a print copy. Then make sure you send the print copies promptly.
• Quality counts. Always use high-quality cotton bond resume paper. Yes, employers do pay attention to such things.
• Quality counts, again. Make sure the printer you are using makes clear, clean, crisp printouts.
• Make sure the font size is legible. The employer should not have to squint to see the font. Generally, a size 11 or 12 font will work well.
• Don’t be sloppy with the details. NEVER hand-correct (with pen or pencil) a typo on your cover letter. Make sure you have saved the document, then go back and make the correction and print out a freshly corrected copy. Otherwise, the employer might think you would turn in similarly untidy assignments if hired.
• Typewritten letters only, please. Do not submit a handwritten cover letter.
• Avoid over-using the same words throughout your document. This is a common mistake and it makes for tiresome reading. You want to impress your reader, not put him to sleep. Commonly over-used words: experience; opportunity; library; librarian; and position.
• Do not state in your cover letter that you will call to arrange an interview. While some interview books may advocate this approach, the risk of alienating your potential employer is not worth it. You will come off as pushy, and not many employers will want to bring someone like that on board.
• Make sure your cover letter and resume jive. Do not make a statement in your cover letter that conflicts with the facts on your resume, or vise versa. Accuracy and truthfulness are key.

Prepared by April Ritchie, MSLS
Adult Services Coordinator
Erlanger Branch
Kenton County Public Library

Resume Tips

Planning Process (once you have received interview)
Look at the organization’s website, mission statement/strategic plan
If you know names of interviewers, look them up, maybe even use Google
Ask them questions about their job and interests, but not questions that are readily available on the website – show you are engaged in position, that you have done your research, and you want the job
Is this the job you really want?
Research your general area – shows you are committed to professional development
i.e. mention an article you just read, or a blog
Bring multiple copies of your file: email it to yourself, bring it on multiple drives
Anticipate generic questions and practice your answers – don’t ramble and be an active listener
It is ok to ask them to repeat a question, especially if they are multipart
Ask for clarification if you don’t know what they mean; interviewers don’t always know what they are doing
Really pay attention to the people there; are they rigid, late, bad personality, bad questions? Do you really want to work there?
When you apply places, think of the setting? Do you want to live in the area?
Bring pen and paper for notes
Clothes – no cleavage, no sneakers, no jeans, wear a tie…: MAKE AN EFFORT
Look like you want to work there

Make sure they are clear and neatly typed
1-2 pages max.
Attach a real letter to the real resume and mail/bring in, in addition to the online application
I think I would be good for this decision because…
Shows lifelong learning willingness

Phone Interview as Screening

You will receive an itinerary ahead of time, usually a few days where you can look up names and positions of committees you are meeting with

Public Library Interview Process:
1 Hour
Sometimes a lunch or second visit if it is close between candidates
Look for people who can smile, make eye contact, and will look approachable on the floor – people skills cannot be taught

Academic Interview Process:
Vitas instead of a resume
List of presentations
Continuing Education Experiences (Conferences)
Usually requires a presentation
Use visuals
Practice time limit – will kill your interview if you go over
If you can, show personal examples (even if it is something you did in SLIS
Meet with search committee
Typically people from throughout campus; some will be faculty, some will be staff (7-8)
Meet with department
Meet with potential supervisor
Meet with the dean (if available)
Meet with promotion tenure committee
Extremely important
Ask lots of questions, especially about presenting and publishing requirements
Meet with Human Resources (benefits, tuition questions)
At least 1 day, sometimes 2
To show you are comfortable with public speaking
Tenure Requirements
Get to know your future colleagues
Can you socialize “appropriately”
They will take you to meals, maybe a happy hour J

Except when making arrangements for interview/travel, especially if a range is not published and you are moving to a new location
Days off/vacation
Benefits (unless with an HR person)
What are your challenges/future goals?

LISSO Resume Workshop Minutes

Resume Workshop Minutes
• The person reading your resume is not invested in you yet or even considering interviewing you – this is where you hook them!
• Is it graphically pleasing to the eye?
o Microsoft Word Templates are ok
o Make sure it is easy to read, clear, and consumable!
 That says more about your objective as a professional than a statement at the top of the page…
 It’s not a good time to be clever, cute, or funny!
o Spell Check!!! It is so basic, but spelling errors are always spread through resumes.
 Have friends review – spell check will not catch everything!
 When a couple of applicants are so closely matched, sometimes the only difference between who gets hired would be a typo in a resume.
 A resume with errors would show a lack of trust to write, for example, a grant or newspaper column…
 Don’t underestimate the importance of your writing abilities.
o Bullets
o Bold Points
o Lots of White Space
o Use high quality materials (i.e. laser printer, resume paper)
• Web Sites to Use:
o LIS Jobs
o ALA Wiki
• Don’t need an “Objective”; a waste of space and it sounds contrived
o Never read one that made a difference in a positive way, but always a negative way!
 Save career objectives or philosophical comments for the cover letter.
• Your resume is extremely valuable real estate! Don’t waste it!
o Action Verbs (and use same verb tense!): Organized, Administered, Planned, Developed, Evaluated…
o Numbers can be important and show an understanding, especially of management, but be wary and don’t inflate.
o Awards to pad if you do not have a lot of work experience.
 Even if it is just a student, campus specific award!
• Match your material to the position for which you are applying! Look at how the job is described (actions, verbs, etc…)
o Look at the organization as a whole and how you could contribute to their goals
 Do not go into an interview without doing all the research you can.
o Don’t put in your hobbies!
o Don’t include coursework…
 But do include conference presentations and publications
• Always send a cover letter!!!!!
o An email is not a cover letter… a paragraph is not a cover letter!
o No longer than 1 page!
o Standard Business Letter Template
o Content depends on your experience and your job.
o Extremely important to read job description; you must tailor as much as possible to the specific job to which you are applying.
o Don’t send out mass mailing and simply change the institution’s name.
• Do not use the “opportunity” to drop off a resume in person as a mini-interview/getting-the-foot-in-the-door. This is not appropriate.
o Ok to send an electronic copy first and follow with hard copy, but indicated in the electronic message that is what you are doing.
o Who do you send to if there is no name or who packet should go to?
 Greeting can be generic, letter content more important.
o Ok to follow up 1-2 weeks after application deadline to make sure the search is still on and everything was received.
 If it says no call or follow-up, adhere!
 Academic Libraries/Institutions move at a “glacier” place. Varies according to search committee sizes, schedules, etc.
 Public Libraries depend on library size, HR schedule, etc.
 Don’t worry if time passes, it doesn’t mean you are out of the running.
 Great to send a thank-you note, especially after the interview!
• Can go to search committee members and library directors; this shows how you see yourself in the larger organization picture. It is another way to sell yourself.
• Please type – do not handwrite.
o It is business correspondence etiquette.
• Bring a portfolio, even if you don’t get to show it all, and at least a pad of paper!
o This shows you have prepared for the meeting
• Have questions prepared – its looks impressive and like you have done your research!
o Your opportunity to glean as much information about the organization; do you really want to work there?
o DO NOT ASK ABOUT SALARY/BENEFITS until you are offered the job.
o 201 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview – J. Kador
 i.e. Why is this a good place to work?
 Ask about planning and evaluation
• How do you feel about the progress you are making on your strategic plan? How do you measure it?
• What are the biggest challenges facing your organization right now.
 If you could change one thing about this library, what would it be?
• If they are vague, that sends a red flag.

Monday, March 2, 2009

LISSO/ALA minutes from 2.25.2009 meeting

LISSO/ALA 2.25.2009 meeting minutes

• Comps
o Survey for Breakfast or Lunch/Dinner
o Prep Session/Dismiss official LISSO responsibility
 ALA and LISSO cannot be held to be responsible for its members academic advancement; we are purely “social” and “professional”. If anything, it is the school’s responsibility.
 If not for us, would Faculty do a comps review?
• Next Meeting, Early March/March Social Activities 1x Week
o More activities will make students feel more involved with online class disconnect
• Resume Writing Workshop
o If not March, then April
o Mark Shores – SLIS Alumni – U of Miami Ohio Librarian
• Tshirt Contest
o No submissions as of meeting.
o Collaborate on ideas over next two weeks and have something ready to send to Hands On Originals by next meeting
• 5 things about your student org – not discussed
• Faith &I’s meeting With Dr. Huber
o Issues with Comps
o Student representation to faculty board/meeting
 If not, there should be a time when the director meets with student org representatives; there needs to be a direct flow of information to stop the disconnect between faculty and students.
What does the faculty see as a worthwhile or successful student presence at a program?