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December 2015 Issue of the Courier – now published!

The latest issue of the Courier has now been published! You’ll see that we are trying out a new format for the Courier. The issue is also available under the Newsletter tab, like previous issues.

If you have any feedback for this, please let us know in the comments below, or contact Caroline Chung (carolineb. chung @ gmail.com) directly.

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President’s Letter

Welcome to the end-of-summer 2015 edition of The Courier. I hope you’ve all been able to head out to cottage country, take exotic vacations, or simply enjoy the beautiful weather. I, for one, have used summer as a convenient excuse for consuming inordinate amounts of ice cream. C’est la vie!

On to serious matters: at the SLA Board Meeting on July 14, the Board voted to receive the “Board Revised Recommendations” report. The Board also voted to accept the “Road Map for the Future of SLA” and to task the change consultants with coordinating with SLA staff and the Board to develop a multi-phase implementation plan that draws on both the “Board-Revised Recommendations” and recent member feedback. On August 10, it was announced that the Board agreed to engage the services of an association management company (AMC) rather than hire a new executive. If you have any questions or comments about these activities, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I’d like to take a moment to remind the Chapter of the association’s current elections. I strongly encourage all members to vote: this is your opportunity to elect leaders that you feel best represent you. These individuals will make the decisions that directly impact you and the Toronto Chapter as we forge on into the future. If you are unfamiliar with our roster of candidates, please be sure to review candidate information, interviews, and blog posts on the Candidate Resource Center.

And on a local level, our call for nominations for next year’s Executive Board was announced a few weeks ago. We’re always keen to welcome new faces to our advisory and executive boards, and greatly value the generosity of our event speakers and panelists. Volunteering is an excellent opportunity to develop valuable new skills, test your leadership abilities, and grow deep relationships with fellow colleagues. As our own elections are coming up soon, don’t hesitate to nominate yourself or someone you know for a board position! And please contact me or any other board member if you have questions.

As we head into fall, your SLA Toronto Board has been working hard to bring you the same high-quality professional development and social, networking events you’ve come to expect from us. I’m particularly excited to continue our 75th anniversary celebrations through our Past President’s Afternoon Tea on the final weekend of September. We are so grateful to all the past leaders of this Chapter, and I can’t wait to be in a room full of such spirited, tenacious folks.

Happy fall, Toronto. Onwards!

Warmly,
Bernadette Roca

—Bernadette Roca
SLA Toronto’s President

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People on the Move

Susan Morley will be retiring October 30th after 37 years with CSA Group (aka Canadian Standards Association). Latterly she held the position Manager, Information & Knowledge Management for over 15 years, the last 6 years in a solo librarian capacity.

Over the years her scope of work included establishing CSA Group’s first corporate website, a company-wide Community of Interest (pre-wiki) and more recently extending the online library catalogue with a federated search service to a world-wide user audience. Through her career Susan has served on a variety of professional association boards including the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Engineering Division, and Ontario Association of Library Technicians / Association des bibliotechniciens de l’Ontario (OALT/ABO).

Susan is a recipient of several professional awards, the most recent being SLA Engineering Division’s 2013 Engineering Librarian of the Year.

Alice Desrocher joined the CSA Group in the role of Information Management & Corporate Archivist on August 31, 2015.  She was previously an Information Specialist with ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton for 5 years.  Alice can be reached at alice.desrocher@csagroup.org

People on the Move is a regular column highlighting the achievements of our members and helping us all keep in touch.

Please share your career changes, retirements, life changes, or volunteer work with the co-editor, Catherine MacGregor.

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Social Media as a Tool for the Information Professional

The Philosophy

Social media can be an amazing self-marketing tool for information professionals but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. What’s the difference between Twitter and Tumblr? Is Instagram the same as Facebook? I hope to demystify the process of constructing an online presence, using my own online ecosystem as a case study, so that you can craft your online image to suit your career goals.

I’m not talking about social media for personal use. I have many social media accounts under a pseudonym that are not connected to my real name or my professional ecosystem. I’m referring to using carefully chosen social media channels to create, enhance, and maintain a professional brand.

Some people are understandably leery of putting a lot of personal information on the internet. My view is that, as information professionals, we can responsibly control what we do put out there. If someone googles my name, I want the content that I choose to be the first result, not things that others are saying about me. As such, I’ve created an online version of Sarah Morrison, Information Professional. It’s not fabricated — it’s me – but it’s the me that I’ve crafted to put out to the world. Only you can decide the personal brand you want to create. I’ll walk you through how to do this online.

The Brand

The first step is to brainstorm what you want to portray to the world. This will help inform how your ecosystem develops and the social media channels you choose. Are you a fine art archivist who draws fan-art in your spare time? A sleek blog to showcase your work and a curated Instagram presence might be for you. Are you a systems librarian who loves to game, blog, and keep up with nerd culture? A WordPress blog and active Twitter account could definitely work. Choosing a lot of channels, throwing them at the wall, and hoping they stick, isn’t an effective way to create your online presence. Be clear about what you want to portray. Consider it an online version of your elevator speech.

Get creative! Are you a visual learner? Create a mind map of your interests, career goals, and reasons for creating an online presence. Do you learn best through text? Write a bio that encapsulates the Professional You that you’re aiming to introduce to the world. Having this resource, in whatever form it takes, is a great reference for when you’re building your online presence.

Not only will planning help you choose which channels to use, it will inform your tone and content when you start to populate your channels. A well-published academic librarian will use a different tone (and probably different channels) than a tech-savvy programmer and blogger. Going back to your core brand mission statement can help ensure you’re on-tone, and can help you know when it might be time to update your brand.

The Channels

Depending on how active you are online, a first step might be cleaning up your personal accounts and creating a separation between your professional and personal accounts. I have a separate email that I use to sign up my pseudonym (personal) accounts, and I’ve settled on one, standard pseudonym that I use consistently.

One decision I had to make was regarding Facebook. Mine is under my own name, but I didn’t start out treating it as a professional space. I determined that it would be too difficult to separate it out, so I’ve locked it down. I decided that Facebook wasn’t a key channel that I needed to use professionally, so I don’t feel the lack of an account attached to my blog.

I’ll discuss some of the major social media channels below, but one thing to set up early on is a standard professional email that you can use to communicate, and to set up your professional accounts. I use sarah@sarahamorrison.net (which is hosted through Google Mail) as my main professional email and as my login for my professional social media accounts.

The Channel Types

Many people struggle with which social media channels to use. If you’re just starting an account for the sake of it, then it won’t work. You’ll forget to update it and the content won’t be relevant to your professional goals. My main piece of advice is to establish a use case for each channel. As long as you’ve identified why and how you’d use a certain channel to build your professional brand, you should have no problem using and populating the account successfully.

Don’t underestimate the importance of strategically cross posting. People have their own preferred ways of interacting online, so cross posting ensures that your content is easily accessible on various platforms. For example, SquareSpace (my blog hosting service), allows me to automatically publish my blog posts to Tumblr and Twitter. You can also use amazing tools like If This Then That (IFTTT), which allows you to connect and automate almost anything online. IFTTT is how I make sure my Instagram posts are pushed automatically to Twitter and Tumblr, and any posts tagged #bookoftheday are added to my book blog.

Based on your core brand statement, you can choose which channels to invest in:

  • One channel I highly recommend spending some time building is LinkedIn. A robust, up-to-date LinkedIn account can be a hugely helpful networking and job-hunting tool. I record a more detailed job history there then I include in my resumes. I also link to my most recent PDF resume on my website, as well as PDFs of the presentations I’ve given. LinkedIn also has great groups of like-minded professionals so you can keep up to date with relevant professional discussions. As information professionals, it is very dangerous to not maintain a robust LinkedIn presence.
  • Another major channel is Twitter. Twitter is great for following key professionals, blogs, and writers in your field. It’s also a good way to keep in touch with people on a more ad hoc basis. Many conventions and conferences will have an official hashtag, so you can keep track of what’s happening in real-time. Twitter can be used in very informal ways, but it is a great professional tool to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the world. I use mine as a sort of aggregator – I follow a lot of interesting people, and retweet things that catch my eye. I also use Buffer to post things that I’m reading from RSS feeds in Feedly.
  • Tumblr is a very different beast from Twitter, despite similar sounding names. Tumblr can be used as a blogging platform, though I didn’t choose to go that way myself. Fandom has thrived on Tumblr, and it supports image-heavy posts as well as longer form text than Twitter. I have a Tumblr account to follow some of my more ‘lighthearted’ favourites, such as Egyptolo(gif)s, Tattooed Librarians & Archivists, Librarian Problems, and the classic Librarian Hey Girl. There are some amazing and more serious blogs that I follow, such as Microagressions in Librarianship. Tumblr is not for everyone, so don’t feel pressured to use it if it doesn’t make sense for you, but it can be a great tool under the right circumstances.
  • Instagram is the major image-sharing platform. This is a great example of having to examine my use-cases to determine if a professional Instagram was right for me. Unlike my favourite tattoo artists, musicians, or drag queens, I don’t have pictures that have been created as part of my professional career. I didn’t want to have an account devoid of any visual content, so looking at my blog, I realized that I’ve posted a lot about e-reading (and my preference for it). However, I still have a lot of physical books. I decided that my Instagram account would showcase the physical books I do have – and it’s been great! I’d forgotten the variety that I own, and it’s been fun to get to know the platform and the app. That’s a major consideration when using Instagram – you need to update it using a smartphone or tablet, as desktop functionality is minimal.
  • Google+ is a channel that I’ve struggled with. I have an account, partially to place-hold the name, but I haven’t created a concrete presence yet. There are many organizations that do use it, and the integrated Google features, such as Hangouts, so it might be worth looking at (especially if you find circles and groups that you’re active in).
  • Facebook is a major channel that I don’t use professionally. I know of people that create an account simply to make sure someone else doesn’t get the name, but don’t populate it, and keep it locked down. It can be used to network and keep up to date with people, but many people set theirs up before they embarked on creating a professional brand (like me), making it hard to separate the professional and personal. One plus is that it does have options for filters and levels of access. It can be good if you’re in business for yourself, as you can create a page for your business as a complement to (or replacement for) a separate website.
  • Vine is a video-sharing platform. Unlike sharing a video on Facebook, Vine limits the length of your videos and they loop when played. Like Instagram, it’s meant to be used via a smartphone or tablet. I don’t have a use case for this platform myself, but it can be a great option if you’re more visually inclined.
  • Pinterest is a tool that lets you visually organize ideas and content into ‘boards’. This is one tool that, anecdotally, I find many people latch onto and then don’t know what to do with it. In my personal life, I use it to pin ideas for future tattoos, but since my professional brand isn’t terribly visually oriented, I don’t have a use case for it professionally.

This list is in no way complete, but it’s a place to start. I want to stress that you do not need accounts with all the platforms! If you have a strong sense of what your professional brand is, you’ll be able to determine which channels will work best to support this. I recommend building up your LinkedIn account first, and then choosing another to work with once you’ve determined the use case. It’s better to have a few well thought out and robustly populated channels then a lot of abandoned accounts.

The Ecosystem

I use the term ‘online ecosystem’ to describe the complete online presence I’ve crafted for myself. I like having a website of some kind at the centre as it’s a good hub to link together your channels. It can serve as a blog and a hosting repository for professional resources like a resume or presentations you’ve given. If you’re strapped for time, or business card space, you can provide your website URL, knowing that people can then reach your various channels.

When creating professional social media accounts, I advocate keeping your usernames as uniform as possible. I’ve been able to put variations of ‘sarahamorrison’ in the URLs, letting me use Lady Lazarus as the tagline or title of many of them. This keeps everything consistent with my email address and website URL, and helps to keep my brand coherent. Where I’ve had to modify the name using numbers, such as sarahmorrison1 for LinkedIn, I’ve avoided the common practice of using my birth year. No one needs to know how old you are! I’ve used the same profile picture for all my accounts, and very similar ‘About Me’ blurbs. I also make sure they all link back to the website URL.

Social Media as a tool graphic-Ecosystem

With my website and blog at the centre, I’ve created an ecosystem of social media – my accounts are linked in the footer of my website and are prominently in the contact section. Ideally, this means that if someone finds their way to the blog, they can interact with me through whatever channel they’d like.

The Message

Don’t be overwhelmed! Often people think they need to use every channel on the internet. You don’t. Work out in advance what you’d like to portray professionally to the world and how best to do it. The various social media channels bring different strengths that you can use to communicate your brand – make them work for you. By figuring out each use case, you can decide which channel is best for presenting your professional persona online.

 

—Sarah Morrison
Sarah Morrison is a recent MLIS graduate who’s embarking on her new career as an information professional, being a SharePoint content specialist for the rest of the year. She blogs at www.sarahamorrison.net. In addition to knowledge and content management, business research, and digital and systems librarianship, she enjoys the Marvel Cinematic Universe, non-narrative non-fiction, and industrial music.   

Posted in V52-N4--Summer 2015Comments (1)

Report from the Membership Director

Please join me in welcoming the following new and returning members who joined our Chapter from June 2015 – August 2015:

Alexandra Dobre (Kitchener)

Lucina Fraser (Thornhill)

Emily Mackle (Toronto)

Carolyn Pecoskie (Ontario)

Sean McLaughlin (Guelph)

Lillian Rigling (Toronto)

Megan Sioui (Barrie) 

Sara Wheatley (Toronto)

Emily Newman (Toronto)

Giacomo Nudi (Montreal)

Theresa Power (Toronto)

Jane Freeman (Toronto)

Jane Dysart (Toronto)

Kelly Elliott (St. Catharine)

Amy Graziani (Mississauga)

Christina Kim (Toronto) 

I look forward to meeting each of you at an upcoming SLA Toronto event!

— Kate Johnson
SLA Toronto’s Membership Director

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SLA Toronto West Announcement:

SLA Toronto West is actively seeking volunteers to take over, or assist, with programming for 2016. We are also accepting presentation ideas and speaker suggestions for next year. If you would like to volunteer, present on a topic, or suggest a venue or presenter, please contact Pam Casey (pcasey@bell.net) or Brian Rooney (brooney83@gmail.com).

Our tentative Fall 2015 schedule is as follows:

Nov. 10th – Tour of Mohawk College’s new Library and Library Tech Bar, Hamilton.
Dec. 15th – Christmas Social at Harper’s Landing, Oakville.

(Dates and locations of Nov. & Dec. events are subject to change)

 

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#SLAToronto75 – We continue to Celebrate!

Much has been happening over the summer and into the autumn to continue to celebrate SLA Toronto’s 75th.

The authors of the decade-by-decade trips through the SLA Toronto archives have been doing an amazing job. The most recent update was Cool Things from the 1980s.

What was cool in this decade?

First, the modern version of the Internet came into being.  

The 1986 salary survey showed most members, 23.7 %, had a salary of between $30 – 35, 000.  

Of course compact disc storage and display cabinets figured big – everyone had set aside money in their budgets for the Micro Computer Workstation System!!

Some pretty funky Courier covers appeared as we worked out our branding.

If you haven’t already been following these posts, do so, as they are interesting and well-written. Kudos to the authors, Caroline Chung, Tara Kutlesa, and Kristina Fry.

Still to come: September – 1990s, October – 2000s and November – 2010s.

The Membership Drive ran until the end of September. Some lucky new and renewing members had chances to win a one-year FREE membership or a FREE SLA Toronto workshop.

Finally, there was the Past-President’s Afternoon Tea, which took place at the end of September.

—Katie Thomas
Katie Thomas is co-editor of The Courier

 

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President’s Letter

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the Spring 2015 edition of The Courier newsletter! I hope all of you are enjoying our rainy start to the summer season. Fingers crossed we have warmer weather coming soon!

75th Anniversary Gala

Thanks to everyone who attended our 75th Anniversary Gala on May 21st at PwC Tower! It was so heartwarming to see so many members and nonmembers gathered together to celebrate our diamond anniversary.  It was especially wonderful seeing so many Past Presidents – distinguished that evening by their purple boutonnières – come out and reconnect with former colleagues. On behalf of the Toronto Executive, thank you to our Past Presidents for your service as leaders of our Chapter!

A special thank you must also go out to all of our incredible SLA Toronto VIPs. When we first launched this campaign, I never imagined it would be such a success! Our 30 VIPs speak volumes about how much the Toronto Chapter has meant to all of us over the years.

Of course, we couldn’t put on events like these without the generous contributions of our wonderful partners. Thanks very much to EMIS and Andornot Consulting for celebrating our 75th anniversary with us! We look forward to a long-lasting and productive partnership for years to come.

Lastly, a very heartfelt thank you goes out to all of our 75th Anniversary Planning Committee members. Our Gala would not have been possible without the efforts of these committed individuals. Please join me in thanking each of them – they deserve a hug if you run into one of them at one of our Chapter events.

We still have more planned for the rest of the year, so be sure to look out for more Past President interviews, decade by decade posts from our archives, and more! And be sure to stay tuned with the latest buzz using Twitter hashtag #SLAToronto75.

Annual Conference 2015 and Staying Engaged through Change

I returned just a couple weeks ago from Annual Conference in historic Boston, Massachusetts. It was one of the most intense and valuable conferences in recent memory, thanks to some incredible sessions, excellent networking opportunities, and lively discussions. For those of you who were unable to join us in Boston, you can still follow along by searching hashtag #SLA2015 or following @SLAconf on Twitter.

The theme this year was “Be Revolutionary”, which aptly captured our New England setting as well as the spirit of the conference. In keeping with the theme, many of the sessions I attended emphasized the importance of risk taking, getting comfortable with failure, and iterative improvising – a metaphor borrowed from agile software development. These seem so apt to me as we collectively try to move SLA forward.

The past two years have been years of significant change for SLA, and this is likely to only continue for the foreseeable future. While change can be scary, positive change will plant the seeds that will help our association thrive in the years to come. SLA needs change, and it needs you – our members – to do it. I encourage all of you to stay engaged and active as together we navigate changes to the association we call home. One way you can do that is by joining the conversation with fellow members on Twitter using hashtag #SLArecs. And as always, I and the Toronto Executive are here to listen to your comments and questions, engage in discussion, and bring your thoughts to the SLA HQ.

All the best,

Bernadette Roca

—Bernadette Roca
SLA Toronto’s President

 

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People on the Move

Kimberly Silk joined the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) as Special Projects Officer – Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE) on April 7, 2015. Prior to CRKN Kim was at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI), Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where she worked as a Data Librarian.

Catherine MacGregor has recently joined Stikeman Elliott LLP as Resources & Reference Librarian. She was previously a contract Librarian at Fasken Martineau. Catherine can be reached at cmacgregor@stikeman.com.

 

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What I Learned from ‘What I Wish I Knew Five Years Ago’

On April 30th, SLA Toronto held their ‘What I Wish I Knew Five Years Ago’ panellist event at Artisano Bakery. Christina Kim, Eileen Lewis, Erin McDonald, Stephanie Orfano, and Stephanie Pepick spoke about their early years in the information field and provided advice to new professionals in attendance.

Getting your first job

The panelists discussed how they obtained their first full-time positions in the field. This varied from establishing a position at a co-op placement, applying for positions (regardless of qualifications), and completing a practicum. In their applications, they directly addressed the needs of the organization by highlighting relevant experience. Though their paths varied, their success had a pattern; they each made a good impression at their interview and they each demonstrated their enthusiasm.

Working at your first job

While in your first professional position, the panelists recommended asking questions because you will be continuously learning in this field. Beyond knowing the theory and having experience, it is important to have soft skills as well.

Organizations are always moving forward; you are supposed to push it further. You can add value by initiating projects and by making changes at your organization. Your managers will be expecting you to bring new ideas.

Maintaining the quality of your work

When it comes to maintaining users’ and colleagues’ expectations, the panellists agreed on several points:

  • Be honest about the time, progress, and possibility of completion of your work.
  • Set deadlines and make sure they are realistic.
  • Send an acknowledgement when you receive a request so that your colleagues don’t have to follow-up or check-in with you. You will be able to provide a face to your team when you reply to them.
  • Offer extra help.
  • Set a benchmark and maintain standards to establish a good reputation.
  • Be sympathetic to, and understanding of, patrons’ needs.

Gaining professional development

For professional development, students can begin networking by participating in student groups. After graduation, they can partake in association work and plan and/or speak at conferences. Such involvement will allow you to connect with others and build skills and confidence. When trying to obtain funding for learning, you must be proactive and ask for funding from your employer. Explain to them how it will benefit the organization and how it can develop you professionally.

Attending this event was invaluable for anyone planning, or beginning, their career. The panel established that there is no one true path though the information field. I learned, from seasoned information professionals, how to be best prepared for my future. I also had the chance to connect with others who were beginning their careers and with the panelists who were more than eager to share advice.

Lisa Chen
Treasurer of Western’s SLA student group.
Lisa is interested in special and academic librarianship. Learn more about Lisa by visiting her blog. 

 

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