Toolkit for Presentations to Learned Societies

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WESSWeb > WESS Committees > Recruitment to the Profession Committee > WESS Recruitment Toolkits > Toolkit for Presentations to Learned Societies


Sample Abstract


Libraries offer interesting, rewarding employment for individuals with advanced degrees in classics. This roundtable discussion will cover the types of libraries that most frequently employ classicists and the kinds of library responsibilities they often perform. Discussion will focus on job announcements that have appeared during the past few years. Classicists considering a non-teaching career will want to learn about the growing shortage of academic librarians, which will also be discussed.

Tips for a Successful Presentation
Before the Session:
  • If a formal session or panel seems daunting, consider a less formal venue. Some societies sponsor informal roundtable discussions on topics of professional interest at their annual conference. Getting on the program to lead such a discussion is usually less arduous than getting a formal session approved.
  • Advertise the session (regardless of the format) with a flyer [link to mine, below] posted from the first day on the general conference message board, the placement service’s bulletin board, and any other bulletin boards; leave a supply of flyers on any tables of miscellaneous promotional material near the registration or exhibits area; hand out copies of the flyer at receptions and other social events before the session.
  • Prepare a handout for participants at the session that outlines all the major points you intend to make and provides bibliography, URLs, and contact information for follow-up. Your handout could be based on the Web site of the WESS Recruitment to the Profession Committee, with additions and modifications for particular audiences: Academic Librarianship & Foreign Languages Recruitment Page.
Typical Questions from Participants:
  • MLS degree: How necessary is it? What’s the degree program like? How long does it take to complete? Cost? Financial aid?
  • What are salaries and other compensation like?
  • Where is faculty status offered, and what are the expectations?
  • How does one convincingly present previous work experience as library-related (e.g., "If I managed a company’s client database, how would that look when applying for cataloging jobs?" or "Could I sell my teaching experience as public service?)
  • Does a person have to be particularly tech-savvy to be a librarian?
Be Prepared For:
  • General surprise that there’s a shortage of academic librarians and that this is a viable career path for individuals willing to learn new skills, relocate, etc.
  • People who couldn’t attend the session wanting to chat with you at another point during the conference; some might even call or e-mail after you return home, if you provide contact information on a flyer or announcement.
  • • Wide variety in participants’ backgrounds and roles: grad students; teaching faculty who serve in advisory roles to students; teaching faculty pondering a career switch; and even administrators.
Alternatives to a Formal Session:
  • Staff a table in the exhibit area during much of the conference.
  • Even if it isn’t staffed, a table well stocked with handouts could still be effective.
  • In areas with high traffic, distribute the Recruitment Committee’s standard flyer (see following page), or a brochure about library careers (based perhaps on the Recruitment Committee’s Web site).
Download a Sample Presentation Flyer (MS Word)

Why Do Librarians Like What They Do?

Do you have an academic background in foreign languages and value the intellectual life--teaching, learning, scholarship--of the university and college campus? Think about becoming an academic librarian! Here's what some academic librarians have to say about their work.

MLS Programs
  • MLS programs should be accredited by the American Library Association. For a list of currently accredited programs, visit:
  • Most library schools now maintain extensive Web sites that include requirements for the MLS, course catalogs, faculty biographies, etc. Distance learning is an option in many MLS programs.
  • Undergraduates interested in pursuing graduate work in their discipline and obtaining an MLS should note that many programs offer both formal and informal opportunities to pursue a dual degree. For example:

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WESSWeb > WESS Committees > Recruitment to the Profession Committee > WESS Recruitment Toolkits > Toolkit for Presentations to Learned Societies

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.

Brought to you by the WESS Recruitment to the Profession Committee


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