Professional Partnering Program: the view from the other side

Last year I told you about the Professional Partnering Program, organized by students at McGill’s School of Information Studies. I told you about my fantastic partner Jared and how great it was for me to have the chance to get a taste for what an academic librarian really does and to see an academic library from behind the scenes. I enjoyed the experience so much that I recommended it as one of my tips for surviving library school.

This year I’m happy to have the opportunity to participate in the program from the other side; now that I’m a professional (wow, it still sounds strange to call myself that), I’ve been paired up with a first year SIS student. Her name is Christie Silkotch, and we first met at the PPP kick-off event in October. Unfortunately, we had some trouble matching up our schedules at the end of last semester, but finally this week I was able to show her around a few branches of the McGill Library.

Christie is keeping an open mind as to what sort of library she would like to work in, which I definitely think is the best way to go, especially in your first year of library school. The only disadvantage to this approach is that when I introduced her to my colleagues, many of them asked whether she had a particular interest in their area of librarianship, to which she had no firm answer. She was quite easy going about it, though, as I was when I was in the same situation; I knew before I started library school that academic librarianship was for me, but even now I’m quite open to a variety of positions. It’s understandable that librarians are excited to meet students with whom they share common interests, but we have to keep in mind that many (perhaps most) people come to library school without knowing whether they want to be cataloguers or political science liaison librarians.

As I introduced Christie to some of the people I work with, I was reminded how much I like librarians. Although there can be quite heated debates when it comes to policies, procedures, and the best ways to serve our clients, most of us became librarians because we want to help people. We’re especially willing to help out students, perhaps because we can remember how overwhelmed we felt when we were in their position.

We only managed to visit a few of the branch libraries, so I think we’ll try to set up a time to see some more. Christie says she found it helpful, and I enjoyed spending time in some buildings (and seeing some colleagues) I don’t have the chance to visit as often as I’d like.


Web 2.You 2010 is coming up on Feb 5th

As you may recall, a year ago I co-organized an event called Web 2.You. It was a terrific success, and my co-organizer, Amanda Halfpenny, has gone on to take the lead in arranging another one this year. As you’ll see below, Amanda has lined up another outstanding set of international and local speakers, and I will have the privilege of giving a presentation as well. Whether you’re a student or a professional, if you have any interest in technology in libraries, you should register ASAP.

Also, for any students wondering how to gain some experience before graduation, I highly recommend Amanda’s blog post on how to get a part-time job while in library school.


A new year has begun and the 3rd Annual Web 2.You Conference is only a month away, so it’s time to start thinking about registering. Web 2.You is a full-day event featuring international and local speakers on the implications of Web 2.0 technologies in professional information settings. Professionals who attended Web 2.You in past years were blown away by their experience and we are confident that this year’s speakers will take it to the next level.

Here are the details:

Regular rate:
$40 full day (includes catered lunch)
$20 morning or afternoon only

Student rate:
$15 full day (includes catered lunch)
$10 morning or afternoon only

The event will take place Friday February 5th 2010 at McGill University’s Thomson House and feature presentations from Michael Porter, Jenica Rogers and Graham Lavender as well as a panel discussion on democracy and technologies.
The deadline for registration is Friday, January 29th 2010.
To register and for more details on the event visit the Web 2.You Wiki.

Please feel free to circulate this information to your network of colleagues.

See you there!


Amanda Halfpenny, MLIS II McGill University
Adrienne Smith, MLIS I McGill University