When trouble strikes, head to the library. You will either be able to solve the problem, or simply have something to read as the world crashes down around you.
If nothing else, the CCLS controversy has served to illustrate the vitality of seed libraries as a national community, eager to advocate for, or debate, issues that arise.
“What this moment is, is figuring out how to have this balance,” said [Ken] Greene, who now operates his own farm and seed company. “On the one hand, we shouldn’t lose our right to share. We should be able to share our seeds with one another. … Seed libraries do bring in whole new groups of people. They’re really awesome for libraries. But they need to be awesome for seeds also.”
Some of you might know that I moved to San Francisco recently. Two days ago, really. My lease in Chicago was ending at the end of August so in early July I had to decide whether good stuff in my personal life warranted big professional risk, i.e. unemployment. I decided it did, and submitted my resignation with out my next job lined up. I had about 7-8 applications out at the time and I was in early interview stages for a few. By the time I accepted the position I’ll start September 8 (more details on that forthcoming!), I had heard back and interviewed with all but one of the positions I applied for—I also received two offers. As tempted as I was to chalk up this job hunting success to “omg this totally means I was supposed to move to SF and cohabitate and be wildly happy 4evr and evr” (I DO feel this way, too), it was also very clearly the result of much job search practice and a few key maneuvers I’ll detail here.
1) Do you want a (new) job in 2-3 years? Start applying and interviewing now. Practice, practice, practice. Practice writing letters, updating your resume, fussing around with your references, puzzling over job requirements. I’ve been applying to jobs here and there for almost the past two years. There was never a sense of urgency, but I know I wouldn’t have been able to push through this process without all that practice behind me. Most important of all, practice interviewing. Especially the damned phone interview. I firmly believe I couldn’t competently pass an initial phone interview until my 5th try. It’s hard. Bring three solid stories (a time you led a project/change, a time your failed, a time you worked with a team) and three solid questions to every interview. Know your shit—about them and about yourself.
2) I DON’T CARE HOW TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT IT YOU ARE, IT IS ALL ABOUT THE COVER LETTER. UNLESS YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN OR OTHER PAL PRONE TO NEPOTISM RUNS THE LIBRARY YOU’RE APPLYING TO YOU BETTER HAVE THE BEST DAMN COVER LETTER EVER FOR EVERY. SINGLE. JOB YOU APPLY TO. FLATTER THEM. TELL THEM WHAT YOU’LL DO FOR THEM. DON’T TELL THEM WHAT YOUR RESUME ALREADY TELLS THEM YOU DID ONCE AT SOME OTHER JOB. TELL THEM WHY YOU’RE THE BEST PERSON TO WORK FOR THEM. FIND A FRIEND WHO WILL TEAR THAT SHIT UP AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND WTF A COVER LETTER IS ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE. NO TYPOS. NO WHINING. WRITE THE BEST COVER LETTER EVER, EVERY TIME. YES THESE ALL CAPS INDICATE MY SHRILL HARPY TONE ON THE SUBJECT.
3. Stalk down some one, anyone who can pass your materials along. This is no guarantee, but it’s better than a stick in the eye. Once again, tumblr got me a job. Through a URL/Tumblr friend, I was able to connect with a wonderful woman who works for my future employer. Every person I interviewed with (all 4 of them) noted the fact that my resume had been passed along by this woman. This women who I have NEVER met. But, as we have a mutual friend thanks to the Internet, good human nature and trust prevailed, and I had an in on other candidates. Connections matter, from URL to IRL. If you’re in the hunt, remember this at all time. Yes, LinkedIn DOES come in handy. It’s a way to share/see connections and keep control of your professional profile. Don’t neglect or delete it—you could be one connection away from a dream job.
4) If you find yourself needing advice, or trying to decide between more than one offer, seek counsel from someone who could be your boss in your NEXT next job. Yes, I was lucky enough to have two offers in my lap. And I was badly torn between the two. They were wildly different in almost every aspect, but both appealed to different areas of my strengths and potential (there’s a lot to be said for taking the job that will develop your potential, btw). I asked everyone I trusted, personally and professionally, for advice. I was up at night worrying. One person I asked, which gave me a really unique perspective on my ‘problem,’ was a librarian in a leadership position in a library I would love to work for one day. I asked of the two jobs, which would set me up in the best position to transition into the NEXT job I think I would like to have. I got the answer I suspected, but it was reassuring to get the opinion nonetheless. In the end, the answer came to me after some more self-examination and salary negotiation—but the advice stuck with me throughout the process. Oh and by the way we can repeat this all day and it still should be said again: humans are nice and helpful and you CAN reach out to them whether or not you’ve met in real life. Own your career and your path and ask questions. Someone is likely to help.
If you have any more questions for me on the process, please feel free to reach out. I’m happy to help, too. I’m so excited to begin my next professional adventure and I can’t wait to bring you all along, too. Your support has been immeasurable. Tumblr comes through again and again. All my thanks.
Unless you are in what you KNOW will be your last job (as in, you plan to retire in the next 12 months), you should read this.
Connections matter, from URL to IRL.
True & beautifully put. Nice work, Tkacik. And congratulations!
I thought it would be worthwhile to round-up and share some of the great book lists and discussions I’ve seen centering around good reading for those interested in discussing and thinking about the situation in Ferguson. The bulk of these resources are geared toward children’s and young adult lit, though some posts go a bit beyond than, as well as a bit beyond books. Topics include race, civil rights, social activism, and privilege.
There are countless angles working here, but they are all important and worth thinking and talking about.
I can’t add anything new or thoughtful to this discussion, but what I can do is give space to those who are generating much-needed and valuable resources and elements of conversation. If you know of additional book lists or topical guides worth mentioning, please drop them into the comments/feel free to reblog and add. I’m happy to continue revisiting this.
- Ebony, who tweets @EbonyTeach, put a call out for kidlit about social justice.She’s rounded up the responses on Storify. The titles include picture books through young adult books.
- Left Bank Books in St Louis put together two excellent lists featuring titles across age categories. The first is their book list, which focuses on race in America. The second is their compilation of poetry, articles, and other online work that explores race in America today.
- A Twitter hashtags worth digging into: #FergusonSyllabus. This should offer up an array of readings and discussion topics relating to Ferguson. There’s also a Storify roundup.
- Speaking of syllabi, here’s a massive teaching syllabus with ideas, reading, timelines, and more from a pile of social studies educators.
- Rich in Color pulled together a reading list of social justice and activism in YA lit.
- Lyn Miller-Lachmann talks about two YA titles — one out now and one coming out this fall — and the ways that writers and artists respond to social justice. I’m including this post specifically because I cannot get Kekla Magoon’s forthcoming How it Went Down out of my head these last couple of weeks and hope it shows up on your to-read lists.
- At Book Riot, Brenna Clarke Gray suggests 5 good books about race in America. These are all adult titles, but teen readers who are interested should be able to read and think about them.
- The LA Times built a list called Reading Ferguson: Books on Race, Police, Protest, and US History. The focus is on adult titles.
- School Library Journal has a wealth of suggested reading on protest, non-violent resistance, and Civil Rights.
- This list is limited to 2013, but that makes it no less important or valuable (it keeps it quite current): African American Fiction for Teens. I put together a timeline at Book Riot earlier this year, too, that traced black history in America through YA Lit.
- The Nerdy Book Club has 10 picture books for social activists in the making.
- “Reading Helped Me Overcome A Racist Upbringing" by Susie Rodarme, cuts straight to why reading books on topics like racism, social justice, activism, and more matters so much.
- Though not a booklist, the recommended reading from Lee & Low’s blog is solid. This is a great primer and resource, perhaps, for generating discussion from and beyond the books.
- Amy’s post, “On Ferguson and the Privilege of Looking Away,” doesn’t offer reading, but it does offer immense food for thought on privilege.
I was starting to put together a post on this topic and then thought, “wait, I bet castigator already has something at her blog.” Of course she did! And it’s way more comprehensive than what I was putting together, so, you know. Read it! Use it! Share it!
This Is How We Do It: Instagram
Great news! LibraryLinkNJ is now on Instagram. We will mostly be using it to regram, or share, photos of what member libraries around the state and other exemplar libraries elsewhere are doing, but it will also be useful for documenting our own events, conferences we attend, and libraries that we visit.
Many of our colleagues at libraries around the Garden State have been leading the way. Here’s a list of NJ libraries we’re already following. If your library is on Instagram and we’re not following you yet, let me know!
- Atlantic City Library Teens
- Bernards Township Library
- Bernardsville Library
- Cherry Hill Public Library
- Haddonfield Public Library
- Hamilton Middle School Library
- Hoboken Library
- Kinnelon Public Library
- Library of the Chathams
- Long Branch Public Library
- New Brunswick Free Public Library
- New Jersey State Library
- Nutley Public Library
- Parsippany Public Library
- Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers University-Camden
- Piscataway Public Library
- Princeton Public Library
- Roxbury Public Library
- West Caldwell Public Library
If you’re thinking about launching an Instagram account for your library, there’s an annotated list of the tools making it work for us in the next section. Bear in mind, I’m running all of these apps on my phone. You can view and link to accounts and photos in your browser, but most of the work of Instagram is mobile, so you’ll need a smartphone, tablet or iPod Touch.
Instagram - this is the main app, of course, and I’ve connected the LibraryLinkNJ Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook Page to it. We can cross-post directly to Facebook and Tumblr. Twitter is activated only as a back-up, because of the next piece of the puzzle:
IFTTT - IFTTT stands for If This, Then That, which is a free service where you set up algorithms called recipes. Each recipe is based on the idea that IF you take a specific action in one connected app, THEN that triggers another action in another app. Because Twitter won’t post images from Instagram as images (it only posts them as links, which force people to click out of Twitter, which is annoying), I set up a workaround through IFTTT so that when I post an image to Instagram tagged #tw, IFTTT shares that post to Twitter with an embedded image, not a link out to Instagram. People are more likely to see our photos this way. This is a Set It And Forget It feature. I just have to remember to use #tw when posting photos!
Repost - Unlike Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr, Instagram doesn’t have a native sharing feature, so to share photos from other accounts, I need to use a third-party app to share other libraries’ photos. Repost is free & easy to use.
I’m fortunate to have two devices available to me - one for work and one of my own, so I don’t have to log in and out of Instagram every day. Before I hit on this right-for-us strategy of using Instagram primarily to share what other libraries are doing, I occasionally would share my own Instagrams with the LibraryLinkNJ Tumblr and Facebook Page. If your library doesn’t have a dedicated device for their social presence, and you’d like to give it a whirl using your own device, these instructions should help you connect your Facebook Page to your account.
Here’s how I decide what to regram: I scroll through all our follows on Repost, or just search the #tumblarians, #libraries, or #librarians hashtags there. When I choose an image to post, Repost automatically takes me back to Instagram & I can post from there, adding filters, if desired. (I don’t add filters over whatever filters are already there, because I want to honor the original poster’s aesthetic choices.) I then update the caption to highlight why I’m regramming the image.
You can’t schedule Instagram posts like you can on FB, Twitter & Tumblr. This inflexibility is a little bit annoying, but it also makes for spontaneity, and of course, that’s why we have the hashtag #latergram (you know, for photos you post, well, later). We haven’t posted any videos to Instagram yet, but I’m sure that’s something we’ll get to.
We hope you enjoy what we’re posting! For now, we are following libraries and other learning-related nonprofits. If you are using Instagram as an individual, but mostly on behalf of your library, let me know so we don’t miss out on your great photos!
Can’t help but smile at this. Good for you, young man.
UGA football player Malcolm Mitchell loves reading. After growing up not being super-interested in reading, he has grown to love it and is happy to try pretty much any book. In this video (which will be the most charming, heart-warming thing you see all week, guaranteed), you’ll see him talk about how he came to join a local book club in Athens, where he is the only male, and where most members are older than his mom. Librarians & booklovers nationwide, rejoice, as false dichotomies are smashed and we enjoy this reminder to imagine others complexly.
Thanks to Deadspin for bringing this delightful story to our attention.
May we suggest that the americanlibraryassoc consider booking Mr. Mitchell posthaste for a READ poster?