1st Week at the New Gig

As I announced a few days ago, I received a full-time Library Assistant position at Career Point College-Austin! With that, I just wanted to share my experience as an academic library assistant for an accredited vocational school.

My Likes-no my LOVES:

  • Setting: I adore the library itself. When I first took the job I was expecting a very plain room with dim lighting; however, I was fortunately wrong. Although the library is on the small side (I’m talking less than four full aisles of books!), it is such a warm place within the small campus, decorated with warm earth tones and funny ecard-esque signage geared toward our LVN and RN students.
  • Safety: I also appreciate the comfort and safety of the campus. Again although it is small, at CPC we are equipped with a security guard during all business hours. Typically most folks wouldn’t care, but with working mostly night shifts ending around 9 pm it’s nice to know that a security guard checks on me every once in a while.
  • Workload: The workload is incredibly light! So much so that I’m able to dedicate some work time to blogging and then come late August, school work as well.
  • On-Boarding: CPC’s hiring and training process was as smooth as a baby’s bottom! Throughout my entire work experience in various settings (local businesses, a large university, a small college, and a major retail store) I’ve never encountered such flawless on-boarding.

Concerns:

  • The Appeal: Now, even though this is a WONDERFUL start which I am beyond so appreciative of, I am concerned that working in a vocational school library won’t make me as appealing to potential academic libraries in the future due to the size and the duties assigned.
  • Ideas: As this post title explains, I am very new to the position but since starting I have a bunch of ideas to provide more for the CPC students. Right now the library primarily serves as a testing center and then a printing place since CPC gives free printing to all students and instructors. Eventually I would love for it to take the form of a full blown library where students check out books, utilize the databases we offer, and hopefully a place where we can offer some informative events.
  • Potential Busyness: This must be the silliest of my concerns especially since the concern before this was about incorporating more ideas, which translates into more work. However, I am concerned that once I incorporate my ideas it’ll get too busy and I’ll lose the ease of the job when school roles around.

Solutions:

  • The Appeal->Experience: Even though this isn’t a huge job, it still offers plenty of experience. Although we have a small amount of students, it is just the head librarian and I that run the library. With that said, I am basically doing all duties that the head librarian does and that says something, right?
  • Ideas->Convincing: After speaking with the College Director I am fairly certain that she’s open to new ideas and I think if I present my ideas in a clear and detailed manner she’d really help me see these ideas through.
  • Potential Busyness->Time Management: Before taking the position I took the time to plan out my day from start to finish and accounted for all study time while at home. Since I never counted on my work time incorporating my study time, if work does get too busy I should still be golden!

Weirdness:

  • Attitude: I’m sure it’s like this in most libraries, but there is an immense amount of attitude from students. I’m honestly surprised most of these students’ heads are still attached to their neck after all the eye rolling I see!

Goals:

  • Expansion: Right now the library serves a great purpose as it supplies students with their immediate needs; however, I would love to also help them with their future! Some ways I can see us helping students include:
    • Acquiring materials to help them in their job search after CPC.
    • Acquiring more scholarly journals and magazines.
  • Communication: Currently students just use what’s right in front of them like a few of the reference books that they look at for about 30 minutes and then return. I think if we can show them the online databases they have access to, it can most likely help them broaden their studies. Additionally, I would love to hear from them! As I just mentioned students walk in and walk out without saying a word. While I appreciate quiet in the library I would love to have the problem of students oversharing with questions, comments, concerns, and suggestions. I feel once that begins I can and will be seen as a trusted staff member whom they can confide in.
  • Events: To me the best libraries are those that offer various resources that help the community grown. Right now these LVN and RN students are working incredible hard to do what they love and with that, I think it’s important to provide them with some fun events every now and again that would also allow the staff to get to know them. Here are some catchy ideas:
    • Donuts with the director (or some other healthy food that starts with a D): This idea stems from my alma mater, Cal Poly Pomona’s, “Pizza with the President” where there was an open forum with the CPP President along with-you guessed it, pizza! Even though many students were there for the food, it was also a great way to ask the questions you’ve always wondered and never even thought to ask. I think this would be a great mixer for students and a chance for us to make any special announcements and answer any questions students may have.
    • Alumni speaker series: As a somewhat newly accredited program I’m sure there are some alumni who can lend some of their time and share their experience whether it’s the good, the bad, and/or the ugly. This would be a great opportunity to speak with someone who’s gone through the program and beyond.
    • Resumaniac: Ok, I’m totally stealing this name from Cal Poly who probably stole it from someone else, but how great would it be to get a professional in here to give resume and cover letter tips?! I think this would especially help those who are on their way to graduation.

For all you experienced academic librarians out there, what do you think? What are your opinions on vocational academic libraries? Any advice for a newbie like me?

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5 thoughts on “1st Week at the New Gig

  1. historianlibrarian says:

    Congrats on your job! I am aspiring to be an academic librarian. I imagine the road will be tough but it is something I really want. I working in a academic library for 5 years as a cataloging assistant. Best 5 years of my life! I’d still be there if it wasn’t part-time!

    Like

    • The Burgeoning Bibliothec says:

      Thank you! That’s wonderful to “meet” another aspiring academic librarian! Yes, I’m sure the road will be tough, but with our drive and passion nothing can stop us! Best of luck in your endeavors. I look forward to following you throughout your journey!

      Like

  2. Jeffrey says:

    Congratulations on your new library job. I got my first (and only) full-time library assistant position 8 years ago and I’m still in the same job — for better or worse. You seem to be in a great position to do some good for yourself, as well as your patrons. I wish I worked in a place that was as open to new ideas.

    My experience with library school was surprising, in part, because of the large number of students (of all ages) with NO library experience. Some people graduated with only their degree and practicum on their resume. So, from my standpoint ANY library experience is better than NO library experience, and it sounds like you’ll be doing so many different aspects of librarianship that the type of institution won’t matter, especially if you are staying with the academic track. Don’t let the notion of being employed by a VoTech school worry you.

    It can be hard to switch between academic/public/special/school libraries, but people do do it. I haven’t cracked that particular nut, myself, yet, but I do try.

    Good luck. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Burgeoning Bibliothec says:

      Thank you Jeffrey! What sector of librarianship are you in?
      It is pretty comforting to hear that any library experience is better than none and that I’m heading in the right direction.
      Thank you for reminding me how others have accomplished transitioning between one field of librarianship to another. It’s something I’ll definitely remind myself when that overwhelming feeling of helplessness rears its head.
      I’m really looking forward to reading your blog as you chronicle your library experience!

      Like

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