Tuesday, April 12, 2005

An academic library job interview

For readers in library school or those on the job hunt: I'm getting ready for my first professional academic library job interview. Wish me luck. The interview begins this Wednesday with dinner with the search committee chair and the library director. Thursday is a long day: meetings with the Dean, the library director, the library faculty, and the reference manager; lunch with the search committee; and a teaching demonstration. I will be exhausted afterward. But no rest for the weary: I have indexing and abstracting homework to do and surveys to send.

I am most anxious about the teaching demonstration. Luckily, I have some great colleagues at work who are willing to pretend to be first-year students during a rehearsal I will conduct tomorrow. I think my anxiety comes from my desire to be flexible during instruction while at the same time providing some structure. That, and I only have 20 minutes to demonstrate how to search for articles, explain how to distinguish between types of periodicals, and suggest ways to think critically about choosing articles for research, all while engaging the class. :) It's ambitious, but so are most one-shot library instruction sessions. I may have packed in too much, so tomorrow's practice is crucial in determining how I've planned for time. That, and I'm looking for constructive criticism on my teaching style and instructional methods.

But if there's one thing you want students to remember from instructional sessions like these, it's "Ask a librarian!"

For those of you who are curious: did I spend any time at the placement center at ACRL? No, none at all. I'm not aware of anyone who is ever hired on the spot, and I have more than enough sources of job openings and reviewers of my resume. I spent my time attending the sessions, learning more about academic librarianship.


Michelle said...

Best of luck on your interview, Alec! Not that you need it, of course. You'll do great, I'm sure.

I hope you'll report back on it, because I know the academic library interview can be an intimidating process for graduate students. One piece of advice: don't ask all your questions at once and ask some of the same questions twice. Every person you meet with will ask you if you have any questions, so save some for later meetings. However, it's also interesting (particularly when meeting one-on-one with staff members) to ask the same questions and see if the responses differ.


Barbara said...

Break a leg, Alec - well, figuratively speaking. I don't advise interviewing on crutches.

Michelle is closer to this experience than I am so she has some good advice. I would just add that I am always pleased when a candidate asks questions about the program and the college. Shows they're curious and that's a really important quality for anyone entering a field that changes so much and offers so many opportunities to make things better.