deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
[personal profile] deborah
I've been seeing occasional resumes from librarians who've paid more attention to whuffie than to skills. Conference presentations, published papers, and frequent contribution to mailing lists and bulletin boards -- but an inability to answer direct questions in an interview. Candidates who are excited by the potential offered by new technologies and Library 2.0, but who can't talk about the practicalities of library work, even after several years work in a library. The whuffie might get a foot in the door, but it doesn't get anything after that. If it's clear there's no substance to a candidate, we don't continue with that individual.

I find this fairly reassuring, as I've been thinking lately about my own career and what I'd like to do with it. I've been given the opportunity to have a shift at the university's reference and information desk -- a fairly low-profile opportunity, as such shifts generally are. And I love it. Today I helped two students find the resources for semester-long projects, while showing them how to recognize from a citation whether something was a journal or monograph, how to read our catalog system to see whether or not we have the resources electronically or in print, how to find government documents... It was fantastic.

I know many people who are loaded up on social capital are *also* people of substance. But it's good to remind myself that the relationship between social capital and substance isn't 1:1, and that it's fairly easy to see when there is nothing behind a good dose of social capital.

Date: 2006-11-13 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wordy McWord. 'Nuff said.

(actually, daren't say more because really mustn't discuss search committee I was on that just resulted in a hire, thank $DEITY because I didn't want to go through that again!)

Date: 2006-11-14 02:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
For all the flash and glory of showing off to one's peers, I really get a lot more satisfaction out of putting stuff in hands at the reference desk. If I miss anything about my old job, it's that.

Date: 2006-11-14 02:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I *heart* reference librarians! Have since I was a wee kidlet trying to figure out the big bad library. :)
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