This week’s posts come from truly gifted professionals of the SLA North Carolina chapter. While each representative has made an effort to keep their topics inline with the central theme of SLA Future Ready 365 blog, you will notice that each post provides a unique perspective and is intended to help a variety of readers that visit the blog. For more information about our members and the North Carolina chapter, be sure to visit ncarolina.sla.org.
by Ann Stringfield, North Carolina Chapter, Information Technology Division
Library and Information Science students understandably are concerned about future employment, especially in an unsettled economy. When speaking before LibSci student organizations I often encourage them to look beyond traditional campus library jobs and envision their future careers more broadly as information entrepreneurs.
Specifically, I suggest their library student association place an ad in their campus newspaper or tack notices on faculty doors, offering to help organize information within any department on campus. Most departments have no idea there is a School of Library & Information Science on campus, much less what you have to offer. Target your campus as your first market! When calls begin to come in … “Yes, I’d like one of your library science students to revamp our website” or “Might a library science student organize our student internship files into a database?” … then head on over to begin a reference interview, determine the project’s scope, and offer to organize the information physically or virtually in exchange for a practical experience, a good reference, or even a fee.
There’s a future job lurking in most every department on campus just waiting for information entrepreneurs. In the process of getting your first customers conveniently on campus, you’ll be educating campus employees about the Library & Information Science department and profession. How do I know? When I sought to locally expand my database development business, I approached several local University departments and quickly captured several hours work per week. If Library & Information Science graduate students had gotten there first, the jobs may have been theirs!
Ann Stringfield, M.S.L.S. worked up through all the available Information Specialist ranks for 17 years in a corporate library, then fancied a change and created an independent business reselling Inmagic database software, developing databases, training, and consulting. She has been helping organizations harvest their knowledge for over 12 years as Proprietor of InfoCrofters (www.infocrofters.com.)