March is a wrap!
Our GLAM Blog Club theme for March was What I Wish They Taught Me in GLAM School. I think all GLAM professionals have a strong opinion on this and ranting may be therapeutic. GLAM Blog Club ranting! I hope all of the major universities with GLAM degrees are reading these blogs and listening to this ranting. We need university course coordinators to read these blogs, take these suggestions and feedback onboard, and make changes to aspects of university GLAM courses. Also, take note of what’s working in degrees - and do more of this to improve the overall effectiveness of GLAM degrees in making graduates ready for their GLAM careers ahead.
I really enjoyed reading everyone’s blogs. First cab off the rank is Danielle’s blog, Tradition and technology - a librarian’s education by Danielle: https://silenceinthelibraryweb.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/tradition-and-technology-a-librarians-education/
“It’s a truth universally acknowledged that librarians love dissing their formal library education.” Danielle notes the importance of practical elements of the degree, as well as the theory of the profession - giving us the standards and ethics we need to qualify as professionals. She also noted that she studied online, and that perhaps studying face-to-face would have improved some of the practical skills she needs to be a librarian.
Tech skills are also regarded as important for librarians, and better understanding library systems would remove barriers. If all librarians were taught tech programming, a Google-like catalogue designed to improve access to library collections, currently years away from development, Danielle argues that if all librarians were involved in the development, perhaps that would speed up the process.
What I Wish They Taught Me in GLAM School by Sarah Treweek: https://greatlibraryexpectations.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/what-i-wish-they-taught-me-in-glam-school/
Sarah is still in GLAM school, currently completing a Bachelor of Information Studies, so doesn’t have the perspective yet of graduating and then working in the industry. One important point Sarah makes is that librarians can’t know everything: “”I’m aware that there’s a very real danger in coveting the fabled unicorn librarian when we have this discussion about what I wish they taught me in GLAM school”.
Sarah feels like she’s only scratched the surface of many important aspects of the librarian profession. She goes on to note: “However I feel like the course has done an excellent job of providing a basic overview of the industry and profession”. She notes: “More specialist knowledge requires practical experience, continuing professional development and post-grad qualifications… or a specialised degree from the outset if you know that’s what you want!” Sarah had the option of selecting one of three streams - Librarianship, Records and Archive Management, or Information and Knowledge Management - but was unable to choose, so went with an overview.
Sarah astutely notes that whatever she studies in her degree, she will still face a steep learning curve when she begins working in the industry. Finding gaps in your own knowledge and skills related to specific job requirements is also a necessary skill of graduates. The practical element of the course, a three week industry placement, is also argued as not enough. Sarah recommends: “smaller and more frequent practicums into the qualification."
What I Wish They Taught Me in GLAM School About How to Be Happier by Anne Reddacliff: https://happierlibrarian.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/what-i-wish-they-taught-me-in-glam-school-about-how-to-be-happier-%EF%BB%BF/
Ten years after GLAM School Anne states that constructing a thesaurus was the most useless thing she learnt, and the most useful was change management. Anne has three main points to make about what she wishes she was taught: '(1) A second language and an understanding of Indigenous languages; (2) Coding and open data; (3) Resilience strategies’.
What I Wish They Taught Me in GLAM School by Nik McGrath (cardi core): https://musingsofableedingheart.tumblr.com/post/158771044949/what-i-wish-they-taught-me-in-glam-school
I’m one of the few in GLAM Blog Club not talking about libraries - so for the archivists out there, please join in with GLAM Blog Club! We’d love to read your blogs. We would also love to see more galleries and museum professionals joining the club! I’m not going to summarise my own blog here, but please feel free to read my blog and comment here on Discourse - your feedback and comments are always welcome.
The Rule of GLAM by Andrew Kelly (cardi core): https://shaddowland.net/2017/03/26/the-rule-of-glam/
Andrew learns by doing, and has self-taught in many areas that he now needs as a librarian. Coding and developing websites, and becoming a guru in many technical skills has allowed Andrew to problem solve and create the best possible solutions for specific projects at work.
“… most of the practical skills we use every day aren’t restricted to the GLAM profession”, Andrew states. It boils down to our degrees can’t teach us everything, but we can teach ourselves. Professional development on the job, and teaching ourselves, “as a member of the GLAM profession you can certainly encourage it in others”.
What I WishThey Taught Me in GLAM School by Matthew Burgess: http://blog.matthewburgess.net/2017/03/what-i-wish-they-taught-me-in-glam.html
Matthew emphasises the importance of working in the GLAM industry while studying, because of the practical elements are so important to understanding the theory. He also has three main points to make about what he wishes he learnt in his Graduate Diploma in Information Management: ‘(1) Project management; (2) Less of an emphasis on becoming an academic or librarian; (3) How to engage with workplace and GLAM communities’.
What I Wish They Taught Me in GLAM School for #GLAMBlogClub by Ellen Forsyth: http://readplayparticipate.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/what-i-wish-they-taught-me-in-glam.html
Ellen qualified many years ago as a librarian, and from her experience notes that she learnt about cataloguing at the time, and her first job was as a cataloguer, but she wishes to learnt more broadly about metadata, local studies, readers’ advisory work and programs. As a public librarian these are important aspects of her work. She also notes lifelong learning is important, as we all have different areas of interest and we need to be proactive learners.
Mama, don’t taaaake my MIS awaaaay by Alissa: http://lissertations.net/post/243
Alissa is also in the middle of her studies, and is now working in a public library cataloguing amongst other duties. She argues that “a practical appreciation of metadata ought to be an integral part of all LIS courses”. She also notes that: “Introductory scripting and coding courses should be offered as electives in all LIS courses”. She goes on to point out that “there is a huge need for tech-literate librarians. LIS courses are, for the most part, not filling this need”. Alissa also notes she would have “appreciated practical training in library applications and technologies”. She ends the blog with a great statement which made me smile: “Theory won’t pay the rent. But practical knowledge just might”.
March GLAM Blog Club: What I Wish They Taught Me in GLAM School (business process improvement) by Sam Searle: http://www.samsearle.net/2017/03/glam-blog-club-march.html
Thank you Sam for calling newCardigan lovely, and contributing to GLAM Blog Club. Sam feels to be a better librarian learning about business process improvement would have been applicable to every job he’s worked in. “Library processes are full of unnecessary manual handling, duplication, kludges and workarounds (often but not always due to crappy technical systems) that over time morph into ‘but we’ve always done it that way’”.
What I Wish They Taught in GLAM School by Sally Turbitt: http://www.sallyturbitt.com/what-i-wish-they-taught-in-glam-school/
Sally states that she wishes her degree included practical hands-on experience with library management systems, change management skills, but notes that the course cannot prepare you for every job type out there. Also don’t get complacent when you land the job, and be active in your profession and consider moving on to a new role every few years. A very insightful point, GLAM careers “the path isn’t straight” and “ the only person who can make your GLAM career happen is you”.
What I Wish They Taught Me in Library School by Justine Hanna (card core): https://medium.com/@justinethelibrarian/what-i-wish-they-taught-me-in-library-school-d83118d4408b
Justine did a Grad Dip in Information and Knowledge Management and a Master of Information Studies (Community Informatics) and has used some of what she learned in these degrees throughout her 9 year career. Speaking to her colleagues in the Shared Leadership Program 2017, Justine has compiled a very practical and useful list of what a public librarian needs to do their job and should be taught in a library degree. I highly suggest reading Justine’s blog, as it includes conflict management, audience bases approach, change management and a range of other practical skills. Justine concludes: “I feel like there is really no end to this list, the true story is that experience is the only education one can rely on when you are working in a public space”.
Gaiman Quotes and Reverse-Engineering Philosophy: What I Wish I Learned in GLAM School by Hugh Rundle (cardi core): https://www.hughrundle.net/2017/04/02/gaiman-quotes-and-reverse-engineering-philosophy-what-i-wish-i-learned-in-glam-school-2/
Completing a Graduate Diploma in 2003, Hugh now wishes his course had more theory and less practical. “Practical, technical skills are best learned on the job, using real life examples”. Hugh goes on to make a very strong point: “Librarianship isn’t about finding answers. … But librarianship is, as Shannon Mattern so eloquently explains in Public In/Formation, valuable because of the questions it poses”. Hugh points out that GLAM School doesn’t provide the answers, but as a profession we can come together “to work it out”.