WESS Job Shadowing Program

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Job Shadowing and Recruitment to the Profession

The WESS Recruitment to the Profession Committee recognizes the value of job shadowing experiences for potential academic librarians. Job shadowing connects individuals exploring library careers with professionals working in their areas of interest and allows them to get firsthand exposure to the actual work environment of a library. Job shadowing typically takes place over the course of a single day, but it can serve as the first step toward a more formal, ongoing volunteer or internship arrangement. Successful job shadowing provides a learning experience for both parties about library work, creates opportunities for future mentoring relationships, and attunes professional librarians to the need for proactive recruitment efforts.

As part of its charge, the Committee facilitates job shadowing experiences for those interested in or possessing foreign language expertise related to Western European Studies. Participating librarians are drawn from WESS’s membership.


Interested?
Fill out our form and we will attempt to match you with an academic librarian working at an institution in your area.

Already participated? Please complete the job shadowing survey to help us improve the experience for others.

 

Current Job Shadowing Candidates

Candidate 1:

Location: Winter Park, FL
Willing to travel: 10-25 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: open
Educational background: B.A. History/Minor in Magazine Journalism
Language(s): 4 years of Spanish
Previous library experience: No
Library interest(s): "I have an interest in helping people within an educational environment. My experience in retail has given me a passion for customer service and I would like apply that a job where helping people doesn't involve selling them a product, but furthering their knowledge."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Admin.
Cataloging
Circulation
Collection Development
Reference
Special Collections
Instruction

Further information: "I have experience working at a museum, which originally gave me my interest in working for a library. I served as a assistant curator and gave tours at the museum. Many of my tasks relate to the library duties I would perform."


Candidate 2:

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Willing to travel: 10-25 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: Spring 2009 (open to fall 2008 date)
Educational background: B.A. History; M.L.S. Library and Information Science
Language(s): Spanish; German
Previous library experience: Yes--"Working at Brooklyn Public Library in NY as a Librarian Trainee for 2 years, currently work in the Multilingual Center. Also work p/t as Grad Ass't. at Pratt (Institute) Manhattan Library (1 year), general reference and circulation. Have also completed various (archival) internships."

Library interest(s): "I've come to enjoy working in an academic environment, and fill it could be a "good fit" between my undergraduate background, my current experiences, and the type of work I want to pursue long-term. I've had jobs where I had to liaise with faculty, students, and administration, which I have enjoyed and for which I think I've seen both proficiency and potential. I enjoy the particular setting of an academic institution more than others, for example, I am not interested in corporate/medical/law librarianship. Lastly, I also like the research components of academic librarianship as I understand them so far."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Acquisitions
Administration
Circulation
Collection Development
Reference
Special Collections
Instruction
Other


Candidate 3: Removed by request.


Candidate 4: Successfully shadowed at Boston University and Harvard.


Candidate 5:

Location: Sherwood, OR
Willing to travel: 10-25 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: Anytime
Educational background: Bachelor's: German (English minor); Master's: German and English; LIS (candidate, graduating Dec. 2008 with a concentration in legal information)
Language(s): German; Italian; Spanish
Previous library experience: Yes--"I recently completed a 120-hour practicum in a college's Special Collections where I processed, preserved, arranged, and described the unprocessed material of a U.S. Supreme Court case collection, which was comprised of the plaintiffs' papers."

Library interest(s): "I have always enjoyed researching and writing and believe that it would be a rewarding career to assist students and staff in their intellectual pursuits. An additional benefit would be for me to continue to use my foreign language skills in the workplace."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Acquisitions
Cataloging
Collection Development
Reference
Special Collections
Instruction

Further information: "Thank you for creating this wonderful opportunity! My hope is that job shadowing will help me to determine which area of academic librarianship I would like to pursue such as a reference librarian or performing original cataloging. Working with rare books or in archives are further areas that interest me."

Candidate 6:

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Willing to travel: 10-25 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: any
Educational background: Bachelor's: English, history; Master's: Library and Information Science (candidate)
Language(s): 3 years of Spanish
Previous library experience: Yes--"I worked at Blockbuster Video for five years with their media library. There I used cataloging and reference skills with customers. I have volunteered at the reference desk of a local public library, yet I have never been employed by an actual library."

Library interest(s): "I have a strong fascination with preservation and archives. I recently completed the History of Books and Printing workshop at Texas A&M University (May 2008), a preservation class, and currently enrolled in a special collections class. I find these topics interesting and would like to see their role in the academic library."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Cataloging
Collection Development
Special Collections


Candidate 7:

Location: Athens, GA
Willing to travel: 25-50 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: 10/16/08-11/15/08
Educational background: Bachelor's: Spanish, history; Doctorate: history
Language(s): French, Italian, Spanish
Previous library experience: No--"I have worked as an assistant professor of History for the past two years."

Library interest(s): "I would like to explore different careers I could pursue with my Ph.D. in History."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Cataloging
Collection Development
Special Collections
Reference
Special Collections
User Instruction

Further information: "Thank you for providing this service!"


Candidate 8: Successfully shadowed at the University of Minnesota.


Candidate 9:

Location: Commack, NY
Willing to travel: 25-50 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: any
Educational background: Bachelor's: history/political science
Language(s): Russian (28 yrs.)
Previous library experience: No.

Library interest(s): "I have always had an interest in history, particularly historical research. I feel that the work done in libraries is a great asset to both research institutions and the general public by expanding, collecting and organizing instruments of knowledge and making them available to those seeking it. An academic library career would allow me to combine my particular interests and abilities into a product that would further the field of history."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Acquisitions
Cataloging
Collection Development

Further information: "I am currently employed full-time, however, exploring this opportunity is very important to me. I would be glad to make myself available at any time given due notice."


Candidate 10: Successfully shadowed at BYU.


Candidate 11:

Location: Shaker Heights, OH
Willing to travel: 50-100 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: Any
Educational background: Bachelor's: European history; Master's: Renaissance history, LIS; Doctorate: Early Modern European history
Language(s): French; Latin; Occitan
Previous library experience: No.

Library interest(s): "I already have an MS in Librarianship and I made the choice because it seemed like a natural extension to teaching and research."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Acquisitions
Cataloging
Collection Development
Reference
Special Collections
User Instruction

Further information: "I taught history for 20 years, primarily at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH. I took retirement in 2006, one year before the College closed. I completed my MS in Librarianship in 2007, thinking, quite erroneously, that making a career change would be a simple matter."


Candidate 12:

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Willing to travel: up to 10 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: Any
Educational background: Bachelor's: French literature; Master's: LIS
Language(s): French (6 yrs.)
Previous library experience: Yes--"I was a cataloging intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Watson Library during the summer of 2007. My work was largely limited to copy cataloging. In college I worked as a page and at the reserves desk."

Library interest(s): "My ideal job would be a reference position in an academic environment."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Reference
Special Collections
User Instruction

Further information: "While I am working 4 days a week my schedule is relatively flexible. I like my job, but it is in publishing and I would like to put my recently acquired Master's to use. I would also love a reference position as I do prefer human interaction to computer screens."


Candidate 13:

Location: Pico Rivera, CA
Willing to travel: 50-100 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: May 15-June 15, 2009
Educational background: Bachelor's: English; Master's: Professional Writing; Doctorate: History (in progress)
Language(s): French (7 yrs.); German (4 yrs.); Latin (8 yrs.)
Previous library experience: Yes--"As a college student at Occidental College I worked in the cataloguing and acquisitions departments."

Library interest(s): "I see the value of making rare resources accessible to researchers online and I would be especially interested in the digitalization of manuscripts."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Acquisitions
Cataloging
Special Collections
Other: Digital projects


Candidate 14:

Location: Jersey City, NJ
Willing to travel: 10-25 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: Flexible--summer 2009 would work well
Educational background: Bachelor's: Comparative Literature; Master's: Romance Languages; Doctorate: Romance Languages
Language(s): French (20 yrs.); German (1 yrs.); Spanish (? yrs.)
Previous library experience: Yes--"I'm not sure if this qualifies, but I previously worked at the American Philosophical Society as a researcher on an exhibition--The Princess and the Patriot: Ekaterina Dashkova, Benjamin Franklin, and the Age of Enlightenment 17 February - 31 December 2006. I spent a good deal of time working with the APS librarians to select documents appropriate for display."

Library interest(s): "Though I enjoy my current work in student advising at Columbia, it's not as intellectually challenging as I'd hoped. I am attracted to library careers because I see this path as a way of continuing my work with students while putting into use the research skills I gained while completing a PhD."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Acquisitions
Administration
Cataloging
Circulation/Access Services
Collection Development
Information Technology
Media
Reference
Special Collections
User Instruction


Further information: "I am happy to travel to any place in the NY/NJ area that is accessible by public transportation."


Candidate 15:

Location: Saint Croix Falls, WI
Willing to travel: 50-100 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: 12/25/09-1/25/10 or 5/20/10-?
Educational background: Bachelor's: History (Minor in Anthropology)
Language(s): German (1 yr.)
Previous library experience: No.

Library interest(s): "I am very interested in Archaeology and I believe a career in an academic or research library would not only benefit me personal pursuit of knowledge but would also greatly improve my aptitude for future research."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Circulation/Access Services
Media
Reference
Special Collections


Further information: "I feel I am a very personable individual, well liked and easy going, I am also hard-working and would like to stress my personal drive to succeed at what I begin."


Candidate 16:

Location: Greenfield, WI
Willing to travel: 25-50 miles
Date Range for Job Shadowing: June 1- Augst 25th
Educational background: Bachelor's: Art History, French)
Language(s): French (6 yrs.)
Previous library experience: Yes. I am an intern at a college. Each quarter, I work in a different department such as; Serials, Archives, Catalogs, and Administration.

Library interest(s): "I want to go to Grad School for Information Sciences."

Interest areas of academic library work:

Administration
Cataloging
Collection Development
Information Technology
Special Collections
Archives

Contact

Eileen M. Bentsen (Eileen_Bentsen@baylor.edu), Recruitment Committee Chair and Job Shadowing Liaison, can provide further information and answer questions.

Job Shadowing Tips

For Shadowers:

  • Do some basic research on the library you will be visiting
  • Be punctual and dress appropriately
  • Bring a résumé/CV
  • Prepare questions and a statement of goals/expectations
  • Complete the Job Shadowing survey

For Librarians:

  • Alert colleagues to your activities
  • Prepare an agenda for the day
  • Explain academic preparation and skills required for the profession
  • Discuss your background and career journey
  • Complete the Job Shadowing survey

Further Resources

Library-specific:


Job Shadowing Articles:

  • Bruce, Lisa, Sue Roberts. “Job Shadowing,” Library & Information Update 2, no. 9 (Sept 2003), p. 36-39.
  Discusses the job shadowing approach to leadership development in library and information management from a British perspective; learning framework for job shadowing; compatibility of the shadow and the host; benefits from job shadowing; recommendations for job shadowing schemes.
  Summarizes the experiences of six libraries that participated in the American Library Association (ALA) Divisions Job Shadow Day initiative, a strategy for recruiting young people to the profession of librarianship; includes those of Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, and Queens Borough Public Library in New York.



WESSWeb > WESS Committees > Recruitment to the Profession Committee > Job Shadowing Program


This site is an outreach project of the Western European Studies Section (WESS), a section within the Association of College and Research Libraries, itself a division of the American Library Association.


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