Monday, December 2, 2013

Join Me! A great (and free) way to connect with Patrons

Earlier this semester I discovered the wonders of Join.Me, a screen sharing service. For me, it was love at first sight, as I was able to see what a student that was not in the building was looking at to help them navigate their research issue. The free version of Join.Me allows you to invite up to 10 participants and also offers file sharing. Additionally, the invited participants still have access to the other information on their desktop. You can download Join.Me to your desktop with a short cut. When you open Join.Me, you will the option to Share your screen with others or Join someone's screen. If you are starting a session, you will be given a code to share with a person. Once you are done sharing, end the session. This is great for reference because you can share your screen with a patron or have the patron share their screen with you. For more information on Join.Me, check out their website.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Been a long time, I shouldn't have left you!/The Law Library Reference Interview

I lifted that from this song in case you are interested. It has been over a year since my last post, but I'm back! While I was a way, I served out my term as CRIV Chair and hired two new librarians. Though I was already supervising two employees, these hires were the first time that I was in charge of the interview process.

Last week I was part of a panel of librarians that reviewed resumes and cover letters for the North Carolina Central University Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. We went after Shannon Jones, Associate Director, Research and Education at the Tompkins-McCaw Library. Shannon provided a great presentation on getting noticed to get get the job. I may be an oddball because I love looking a resumes and cover letters, but either way, it inspired this post.

For the Interviewee
    Nothing I say here should be earth shattering. There are many great articles on the law library interview available to you. Read them!
  • Interview Tips from the SEAALL Placement Committee This tip sheet links to many great resources for the newbie and experienced librarians.
  • AALL also has a great Bibliography available.
  • Have an attractive resume that highlights your library experience. In this tight job market, it is especially beneficial to show you have experience working in a library, as you will most likely be competing against seasoned librarians for positions.
  • Not all people will carefully read your cover letter, but you should have a good one, especially if it is being uploaded to an HR database that may be looking for buzz words to decide whether or not your information will be forwarded to the library. Your cover letter should reflect relevant information found in the job description. By the way, read the job description! Read it before you apply, read it again if you get a phone interview, and read it again if you get an on campus interview. Know the difference between required and preferred skills/experience. A library is hiring based on needs, not your wants. They may already have someone in your "dream job" position, so know that the job description isn't usually negotiable for the main parts of the job.
  • Now that you have a great resume, cover letter, and you know the job description, the next step is the Phone Interview. As corny as it sounds, you need to practice answering questions out loud. A quick Google search will provide you with commonly asked questions and answers so you can be prepared. Another question you can expect is "why this library". A thoughtful prepared answer will be much more impressive than "my nana lived there". If you are being offered a phone interview, it is time to research the library and the school so that you will be knowledgeable and prepared. Additionally, be concise! It is hard to know when to stop talking because you cannot see your interviewers, but you should err on the side of brevity and the interviewer will ask a follow up question if they need more information.
  • When you get an invited to a full-day interview, dress professionally for the occasion. Business casual is appropriate for the dinner the day before your interview. A suit is the best bet for the day of your interview. This cannot be emphasized enough! Look professional. How the rest of your day will go will vary by institution and if you are interviewing for a staff position or a tenured track position, but in general, expect to answer a lot of questions. You may even be asked the same question more than once by different interviewers. Always answer it as if it is the first time you were asked the question, as they may be comparing notes later.
  • If you are interviewing for a reference position, you will most likely have a presentation. The library may give you your topic (broad or specific) or they may give you creative license. Either way, be knowledgeable on your topic and be prepared to answer questions. If you do not know the answer, get the persons name and email and follow up with them shortly after the interview.
  • Thank you notes/emails show a sign of respect, thoughtfulness, and consideration. You want to be those things!
For the Interviewer
  • Have a plan B. For example, if a candidate's plane is delayed, that could prevent your current employee from being able to pick up the candidate due to other commitments. Have someone else in place or be prepared reimburse your candidate for taxi fare.
  • Don't over schedule your candidate. They are human and will need breaks. Build in breaks into their schedule.
  • When to schedule presentation has been a question for many people. The presentation is usually the most nerve-racking piece of the interview process. Having been a candidate, my personal preference is in the morning. This gets it out of the way so that the candidate can focus more on the people during the process instead of freaking out about the presentation. It also prevents the post-lunch time crash that happens and allows the interviewer to see the candidate at full energy. Some put the presentation with lunch. If you do this, be considerate that the candidate may want to present prior to eating.
  • Speaking of eating, ask your candidate if they have any food allergies or foods they avoid. This helps with planning and prevents any awkwardness at meal time because a candidate cannot find anything on the menu that works with their dietary restrictions.
  • It can be hard to communicate with every potential candidate that applies for your position, but communicate with the ones from the phone process on.
Have any other suggestions for the interviewee or interviewer? Hit up the comments!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

LibAnswer to Keep Statistics

Our library acquired LibAnswers over the summer. I really like this product! In addition to creating a Library FAQ and allowing auto responses to commonly asked questions via text, LibAnswers has a module called Reference Analytics. You can set up a bank that suits the needs of your library. Additionally, it is a lot easier to have multiple service points use the same statistics system because it is easy to filter results. I also like that any time we get an email, text, or FAQ question, there is the option to automatically counted the question in the statistics. For more information on LibAnswers, contact Springshare.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Google Search by Image

I am currently "enrolled" in the Power Searching with Google course. I have to say, I believe that even the most experienced Google searcher would learn a new trick or two with this course. Today I learned about Search by Image. Almost everyone knows that you can click on "Image" in Google and find images. What I learned today is that Google can help you identify images. Amazing? I think so. If you go to the Google Images screen you can drag over pictures from your desktop into the Google Search box. A new box then appears, search by image, and tells you to "drop image here". Google then runs a search giving you information about your image. Try it, it is fun. If you would like additional information on the Power Searching with Google course, you can read the article on the Google Blog.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The CRIV Blog

The Committee on Relations with Information Vendors (CRIV) now has a blog! Please follow it at The blog covers vendor updates and updates on the committee happenings. For more information on CRIV click here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Assisting Faculty with Publishing

I have an article that was published in the February 2012 edition of AALL Spectrum. The article, Assisting Faculty with Publishing: How libraries can assist faculty throughout the publication process covers how librarians can assist faculty with the publication process with emphasis on how we do it where I work. Let me know your tips and tricks for helping your faculty with publication!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HeinOnline Wiki

This post was written by guest blogger Adrienne DeWitt.

As we all know, part of a librarian’s job is training library patrons on electronic resources. While vendors are generally cooperative in providing company-authored training materials, finding this information may require a phone call or a bit of searching. HeinOnline, however, has created the “Hein Maintenance and Training Wiki”. This Wiki is a one-stop website for Hein training materials. Links include training guides and webinars specifically created improve Hein user knowledge. Librarians may find the "Training Guide" page particular useful. There is information there that would be useful to law review students or students writing seminar papers in helping them use HeinOnline effectively.

The Hein Wiki offers more than just training information; there is also a link for library maintenance and online accessibility problems. For example, the FAQ link answers a broad variety of questions ranging from downloading Adobe Acrobat to exporting citations. Additionally, there is also a “2.0 Customer Community Link” that provides access to Hein’s Blog, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.

Since I have discovered the HeinOnline Wiki, I first try to refer to the FAQs for all online issues before I contact my HeinOnline representative. It is a great “one stop shop” for all of your Hein training and maintenance needs. For more information and access to the HeinOnline Wiki, click here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bluebook Videos by Elon School of Law Library

Today, I added a new link to the "Links of Interest" section of this site: Bluebook Videos created at Elon University School of Law Library. These videos are based on the 19th edition of the Bluebook.

I first learned of these videos this May at the North Carolina-South Carolina Legal Research & Writing Colloquium. I attended a session called Citations in a Flash presented by Kathleen McLeod and Patricia Perkins. They also mentioned that Rick Palmer, Academic Technology Consultant, Teaching and Learning Technologies at Elon played an important role in the development of this project. I thought that the video that we saw did a great job of parsing out the methodology behind the rules of the Bluebook. I think these videos will be great for students that are visual learners and I was happy to learn that more videos are available for us to share with our students.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Legal Letters

I never thought much about a legal letter until this year. Sure, we wrote a client memo my 1L year, but never again did I think about this subject, until this year. A colleague and I both were asked to present what the library had to offer in the legal letters department. My colleague did a long presentation, but I was asked to come several times over the course of the semester to cover selected topics: Engagement Letters, Client Advice Letters, and Memos to the Partner.

At my school, we have three sections of Legal Letters, which totals about 60 students. Since the library did not have multiple copies of most of the materials, I decided to place these materials on Reserves at our Circulation Desk to ensure equal access to these materials. This turned out to be a great idea because these books turned out to be extremely popular.

I have to say, this is an area that I prefer to research in print over electronic. In print, I was able to easily find the type of document I needed. Online, I had to do a lot of sifting through irrelevant material.

Hat tip to Drake Law Library's Legal Writing LibGuide for giving me the inspiration to create my presentations.

If you would like to see my presentation on Engagement Letters (aka retainer agreements) please go to the User Education in Law Librarianship Wiki.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bloomberg to Buy BNA

If you follow 3 Geeks and a Blog, you may have heard that BNA is being acquired by Bloomgerg. My first reaction was "are we going to still be able to afford BNA?" What do you think about this news? Please comment below!