Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Connie's Top Ten Ways to Find a Law Library Job (for students & new librarians)

This afternoon I attended one of the "teas" held at the Faculty of Information Studies (FIS) at University of Toronto. The focus of this tea was alumni contact with students, and I was playing for the alumni team. 8-)

It put me in mind of some things a library student or someone just finishing a library degree might do to network and hopefully bag a good starter position. Here is my "top ten" suggestions, in no particular order:

  • Join associations related to your area of interest. Some have student or new member rates. This will open up some further opportunities for you (see below). For law, Canadian students should join the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD) and local association if there is one, such as Vancouver Association of Law Libraries (VALL) or Toronto Association of Law Libraries (TALL). Read their e-mails and newsletters about the latest changes and trends in your industry. Take advantage of member directories when targetting resumes. Attend social and educational events.

  • Write an article. You might rework a course paper or ask a newsletter editor for an assignment. This will get your name known among association members.

  • Join a committee. If, as a student, you can't become a full committee member, they will still likely love to take you on as a volunteer. This will help put you more in the centre of the industry, and make you better known at least among committee members and the association executive. Not too shabby for contacts.

  • Read and post to listservs. Read the lists for job openings and changes to the industry. Also, you might be able to put your educated opinion in now and then. People will remember someone who has said something particularly intelligent or helped infuse some tasteful levity into an otherwise dry discussion. Take care not to dominate the conversation when others want to speak, or to make off-colour comments.

  • Attend conferences in your area of interest. You may be able to volunteer to obtain free admission, and some associations even provide some funds for attendance at conferences for students or worthy members.

  • Contact a library or librarian and ask for a "behind the scenes" library tour or informational interview. Cold-calling is difficult, but librarians are usually open to networking and assisting colleagues. You might say something like: "This is Mary Smith. I am a library student at FIS and am interested in law librarianship. I am wondering if you would be willing for me to meet you and have a tour of your library?" Don't be put off if you get turned down--for every one librarian who turns you down, there will be others who would be pleased to meet you. A phone call works better in this case since many people distrust e-mail with spam being so prevalent.

  • Apply for positions, even if you don't have the exact qualifications. If you don't get an interview, invite the employer to pass your resume along to other organizations that may be interested in you.

  • Watch the job "domino effect" to anticipate where jobs will be coming open. That is, watch who fills a position since their last job will come open, which then will be filled by someone who may have come from might be able to time your resume to be in the right place at the right time.

  • Attend events that involve alumni. Mingle and get their wisdom. When you finish school, you will be a member of the alumni association yourself.

  • Some work is better than no work, especially if you don't currently have experience specific to your field. Accepting a part-time or contract position is a great idea. This will give you a feel for the industry, whether it is really what you want to do. As well, these positions sometimes turn into permanent full-time work, especially if you impress your employer.

You can mix and match these approaches to what suits you. Some people are more comfortable cold-calling, and others are more comfortable writing and sending e-mail. The more you do, the more contacts you will gain and the better you will become at networking. And it may not seem like it when you are first starting out, but this can actually be fun!


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Brownstone Publishing sold back in August 2004

This is a bit late, but perhaps will help others: I came across an invoice from the mystery vendor "Vendome Group" . They appear to have purchased all the real estate and leasing titles from Brownstone's back in August 2004. I found this brief note about it.

Education products appear to still be published by Brownstone's as a subsidiary of Vendome.

HCPro purchased Brownstone's health titles in October according to this notice.

Good of them to tell their customers! Vendome and Brownstone's can be contacted at 1-800-519-3692. Remnants of Brownstone websites still exist on the web if you google their name.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Happy Birthday Little Blog!

Well, I missed the big day--March 21st I was officially blogging for a year. Thanks to everyone who have given me ideas, comments, and general support. Or just quietly read along as I explore this great big fuzzy legal research world!

To be honest, I am personally impressed I've more or less kept with it for a whole year. And I feel like I am just getting started since there is so much more to learn! So, this little blog should be around for a while yet.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Factiva now has RSS Beta Feed

Factiva is now testing a new RSS service for subscribers. See the info sheet. Just in time for them to drop many of their legal customers. But I'm not bitter.

If you give it a whirl while you still have a subscription, I'd be interested in hearing how you like it. I haven't tried it out myself yet. Thus far they are "feeding" articles selected by the editors with the view to expand this service in the future.

By the way, according to the backgrounder up to 5% of U.S. internet users actual read RSS feeds daily. That would be quite a lot of people, with lots of room for increase.

Database of Registration Info for Canadian Charities

I thought this to be interesting, both on a personal and professional level: List of Canadian Registered Charities. It is a database that allows you to search for charities by name, city, province, postal code, designation, category and registration number.

Records pulled up have links to annual filings for registered charities, including basic financial info. I thought this might be a good way to research a charity for the purpose of personal giving.

Think about it: you get a knock at the door, someone pleads for money, you politely close the door then run and turn on your computer to check out the charity's annual filing....

Opening at the International Criminal Court Library

They are looking for a Technical Services Librarian at the International Criminal Court in The Hague: position description.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Where Has the Time Gone?

Well, I've been woefully lax about posting. Then again, I'm on vacation until Tuesday. I did actually spend some time one day trying to post, but Blogger was working only intermittently and I finally gave up trying to make my post after a good half hour. Instead I forwarded my cool find for the day (a Globe and Mail article about making audio posts to blogs) to Sabrina Pacifici and she posted it on her page .

Today I've been enjoying my St. Patrick's Day by following the NCAA March Madness (go Gonzaga!).

Also, I'm talking about this blog at the upcoming CALL conference in the "Cool Things" session. So, some of my time has been spent pondering what exactly I will cover during that session. If there is something in particular you want to know about, do let me know.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Law Weblogs- Blawgs

This pathfinder from the School of Law at the University of Akron was pointed out in yesterday's beSpacific links: Law Weblogs- Blawgs.

Monday, March 07, 2005

UK Media Librarians' Newsletter

I found this index for the publication Deadline from the Association of UK Media Librarians. I notice the December 2004 issue includes an article by Astrid Lange, Toronto Star Librarian, called "Canada dry". Lots of interesting things here.

Friday, March 04, 2005

This looks cool - - The world's largest online marketplace for freelance talent. I don't see a category for librarians or researchers--perhaps a place to start for someone wanting to do freelance work?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Another Law Librarian Steps into the Ring....

Law firm communications librarian Michel-Adrien Sheppard has just started up his own blog, tentatively called Library Boy. He is including a mix of postings, both of personal and of professional interest. Some great things here. I see he has picked up on some items I have missed; it never hurts to read more than one blog on a topic!

Best of luck, Michel-Adrien!

C-SPAN: DIGITAL FUTURE - Lawrence Lessig tonight

Okay, I keep running into this everywhere today so if you haven't already seen this I better tell you about it: the C-SPAN: DIGITAL FUTURE series is featuring Lawrence Lessig tonight. He is law professor at Stanford, celebrity-status law blogger, and helped found the Creative Commons. His talk is showing on C-SPAN, but for those of use without access, there appears to be livestreaming available at 6:30 ET. I dunno...I'd really like to watch it but I may need my trip to the gym by that time. Looks like they also have a java audio clip of past talks, so perhaps it will be available later.

Hey, I just noticed Brian Cantwell Smith, dean of the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto, gave the talk on January 31st. Will have to go back and explore some of this later....

World Book Day 2005

Today is World Book Day 2005. As far as I can tell, it is mostly based in the UK and is meant to encourage reading (well, it is better than using those books for holding up tables I suppose...). I had fun sending out one of the postcards to a few friends.


ReadMyDay is a web log project for elected and other government officials to encourage them to blog and thereby stay in contact with their constituents. Based in the UK.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Blog coaches & memories of Cafe Utne

Sabrina Pacifici pointed out in today's beSpacific column an article in the Wall St. Journal that happens to mention blogging coaches. She also happened to link to blog coaches Wigley & Associates. I was quite excited to happen upon this. The principal, Griff Wigley, helped Utne Magazine start up Cafe Utne about 10 years ago.

I was one of the original volunteer hosts for Cafe Utne so, in effect, Griff was my "boss" at that time. It was an extensive discussion forum on all subjects behind a passworded area. It was a lot of work since we had to keep up with how to use the software on an advanced level, keep existing discussions going, keep people "playing nice" with each other, and plan new subjects for discussion. I remember the book club especially being a large time-consumer as there was a book to choose and read, proper questions to pose, and the need to keep people interested in the discussion.

It is great to see Griff has leveraged on that experience. I wanted to blog this so I could go back and look at his blog a little more closely later.