Phew what a title, and something of a departure from my usual blog posts but I hope you’ll bear with me.
Semester two of my Masters in Library and Information Studies has started back and it’s time to get focused Focused not just on my classes but also to get focused on getting a job when I finally have to re-enter the real world. With that in mind some of my friends and fellow students and I attended the LAI CDG Open Day. The LAI CDG is the Career Development Group of the Library Association of Ireland. Their Open Day 2013 focused on alternative careers for librarians and information professionals and was a really great event.
The day kicked off with Edel Kelly from INOU (Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed). I hope I won’t be an unemployed librarian for too long once I finish the course, but realistically this is inevitable. Edel explained how the social welfare system works in Ireland and also some of the services available for those looking for work. I was also delighted to find that once we have finished our full time lectures we will be available for work and will hopefully be eligible for social welfare, as well as JobBridge internships if I don’t find work within 3 months.
Next up was Tina Byrne from Arcline, a company that specialises in archives and records management. She explained that librarians with cataloging skills would be very useful to them for many of their projects. These projects can last from 2 weeks to 2 years. From my point of view this kind of project work, while not the ever sought after permanent job, would give me the opportunity to work on a range of projects and with a range of people. She said they were looking in particular for librarians with MARC21, AACR2, LCSH and experince in various LMS. They would also look for an interest in rare books and historical collections as well as those with language skills, particularly Irish . Once classes finish in April I will definitely be contacting Arcline with my CV.
The day ended with a talk from Brian Donovan, the CEO of Eneclann Ltd. He spoke about digitisation, publishing and management of archives. He also referred to the extent of the genealogy market and of making various data sets (e.g. the Petty Courts records) available to the public. He spoke of the importance of digitisation in the coming years in this field. This is an area that I have a particular interest in, as well as the technical background that (I hope) will stand to me when it comes to looking for a job. Although librarians don’t need to be programmers they do need to have a good understanding of what the possibilities of the various systems are, as well as the ability to produce clear specs for projects.
I have to say that I left Pearse Street Library on a bit of a high. So much of what I heard about resonated with my own personal interests, as well as with my Capstone project on Open Data. The Open Data movement strives to make data sets open to the pubic and giving the public access to these records. It was great to see that there are non-traditional roles for librarians and that there are commercial companies looking for people with these skills sets. It has helped me think about my skill set and how I can position myself when it comes to looking for a job from April. Right now, back to the books. This stuff isn’t going to learn itself.