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Written by Arslan Ahmed 

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels
Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

When it comes to presentation, the first two questions which come to mind are “What content to present” and “how to present.” Students are learning to become experts in their own domain of knowledge, but the big questions are “how” to convey that knowledge to others. Students certainly do not want their well-crafted and well-rehearsed script to be presented poorly. The slides should speak for themselves. 

It is not how much a presenter gives, but how they give it that matters the most. The presenter can either make the audience go to sleep with boring slides or keep them engaged throughout the presentation.  

Here are 8 key points to keep in mind when designing your slides which can also be used as a checklist: 

  1. Template: Choosing the right template is the first key to success of your presentation. A template contains layouts, theme colors, fonts, effects, background styles and many more stylistic options. A template should be consistent throughout the presentation. A company might have a dedicated template to be used. Another source for templates is the UNT PowerPoint templates webpage, which can be used for your class presentations. Using these templates, 50% of the presenter’s work is done which allows the presenter to focus on the content for their slides. It is important to know the location of the presentation, taking into consideration a few factors such as lighting, equipment available, and if the presentation is physical or virtual, with each having a potential impact on necessary preparation. 
  1. Style guide: The style guide outlines the most significant specifications for making PowerPoint presentations. If one is available, employees given the same template need to follow the same set of rules. As a result, the corporate design is consistent. This allows employees to save time while also improving the quality of your presentations. Let the style of the slides speak to the audience it is aimed at. If creating a PowerPoint independent rather than based on a template, keep consistency in the styling of the theme, font, font size, font color (which may differ for headings and subheadings), picture size, and size of any logos throughout the PowerPoint or simply follow the predefined recommended style guide for that template if available. 
  1. Layout: The presentation will look much better and even more professional if the creator uses the proper layout for each slide. Ensure that the design components and content are arranged in a uniform fashion throughout the presentation. The layout of the material and visuals should be balanced and coherent. 
  1. Consistency: Consistency is key to a good presentation. The movement from one slide to the next should feel seamless. For a beautiful presentation, the typeface, colors, layout, and style should all be consistent.  
  1. Visuals: Images speak more than words coming from the mouth of a presenter. Use relevant and meaningful images where required. Visuals are an excellent method to communicate effectively but do not find just any image from a Google search, as it may be distracting; instead, look for the right one and do not violate the copyrights of the image. Another way to understand if the image is suitable for the topic is to try justifying how this image connects with the content of the slide, and if it conveys the message to the audience without any audio associated with it. 
  1. Colors: Have you noticed that anything related to UNT, like the UNT website, is always printed in green? This is because most organizations use a dedicated color palette as part of their identity. Always be consistent in choosing the colors for your presentations. Colors not only enhance your slides but also help to communicate the message between the presenter and the audience more effectively. As such, if you are making an independent presentation for a classroom, add some color to the slides or use a predefined template with colors that match your purpose. Consider a dark background for the slide with a light color for the text if you are giving a presentation in a dark room. Avoid using light text on light background or clashing colors, which will distract the audience. 
  1. Alignment: Practice proper alignment of all content in the slides. Some examples of what to look for include the margins, spacing from all sides, and images on the left, right, or middle. If the slide contains a lot of information, proper alignment will make it presentable and will keep the audience from becoming distracted. Proper alignment makes a slide look clean, well-formatted and professional. 
  1. Typeface: Choose a good typeface or font family which are easy to read and are also suitable for printing. Keep the font consistent from the first slide to the last. There are several fonts you can use for your presentation. However, you are better off choosing standard fonts, such as Calibri, Tahoma, Gill Sans, and Garamond, or even Times New Roman and Constantia. Stay away from all-caps fonts and Avoid Scripts, Italics and Decorative Fonts. 

Those are the 8 essential characteristics of well-designed PowerPoint slides, along with all the best tips for a great presentation. Please feel free to leave a comment letting us know if this helped you, and as always, contact Ask Us with your research and library questions. 

References (APA format):  

 
Mount, K. (2017). Presentation skills: Designing effective visual aids

Reynolds, G. (2010). Presentation zen design: Simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. Berkeley, Calif: New Riders 

Mount, K. (2017). Presentation skills: Design, structure and content.  

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Written by Manvitha Doma

UNT Willis Library 1972
Willis Library, North Texas State University in 1972 from The Portal to Texas History

Willis Library is celebrating its 50th anniversary on November 11th. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Willis Library, it is the perfect time to review the history of library services at Willis.  Over the years, Willis has been home to thousands of late-night study sessions, expert guidance from library faculty and countless hours of collaborative work spent in study spaces. The library service desk was originally called the Circulation desk. Through this desk, library patrons had access to services such as checking items in and out, paying fines, and picking up holds. Workshops were conducted with library staff, students, and University of North Texas stakeholders who were invited to share their perceptions of Willis Library in 2014. The results of these surveys revealed the most important service was 24-hour library access, with study spaces coming in second. (Forrest 2014)

Willis Library housed seven service desks total before 2011. As Mary Ann Venner, the current Associate Dean for Public Services, stated in her report in 2013, desks were classified as the Checkout Desk, Circulation Desk, Reserves Desk, Fines Desk, Interlibrary Loan Desk, Tech Desk, and Reference Desk. (Venner 2013) In 2011, the reserves desk and fines desk were consolidated with the circulation desk, and then the Circulation and ILL departments were merged to form the Access Services department. In Summer 2012, the reference desk was merged with the circulation desk as Access Services took on more responsibilities.

Card cataloging system in the Library
Photograph of four students looking through the card cataloging system in the Library from UNT Digital Library

Historically, checking out materials required patrons to search for the book from a card catalog where they could find the bibliographic information such as author and title for the book. The patron would then locate and bring the book to the service desk and check it out using a library card. To complete the checkout process, the due date was placed on the card using a library stamp. Many books and journals in the library collection did not have barcodes before 2000. In 2000, a massive project was undertaken, and all the items had barcodes and records created for them. As a further step towards digitizing the catalog, the library chose to purchase more electronic resources such as e-journals instead of print journals. Now, the library has a collection of over 1.9 million books and journals, 64,270 electronic subscriptions, 4 million microfilm pieces and 900,000 music recordings. The library has also developed an online catalog and the efforts to adopt digitization allowed patrons to easily check out books through the use of a self-checkout machine. Today, Willis Library has a collection of over 7 million printed volumes, periodicals, maps, documents, microforms, audiovisual materials, music scores, and software, which are overseen by expert staff who serve the information needs of the institution. 

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Document Delivery services were available for books, book chapters, and journal articles that are not owned by the library. Patrons made requests for ILL using paper forms until 2000 where they used to drop the forms locked at the box at ILL service desk. ILL staff had to manually enter the records in OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) ILL system which were stored on file for 5 years. Starting in 2002, all requests were made electronically, and by 2003 ILL started electronic delivery. In 2009, the library system began utilizing ILL for distance learning. Initially, there was a separate online form where students requested materials for distance learning (Johnston 2016). Currently, patrons can request materials through ILLiad to get a copy of the resource. Document Delivery service for faculty and staff started in 2012. Eventually, these information scanning services were expanded to everyone. 

Willis Library has offered Course Reserves since its inception, allowing patrons to check out books put on hold by a professor for a small period of time. When it comes to holding books for patrons, the library used to have a hold/recall shelf that required many employees. However, thanks to advancements in technology, this process has become more efficient. Now, patrons can put their required materials on hold through the website. 

Have you ever heard of Liaison Librarians? That is an old name for our Subject Librarians, who assist patrons with all types of research problems, from helping choose a book for a patron’s research to helping create citations for an article. Subject Librarians create guides on the library homepage to assist patrons in navigating the library. These guides act as a one-stop-shop for academic resources, including tips on database searching, citation assistance, and bibliographic management tools. 

Though the library has had chat operations since the year 2000, it really came into the spotlight in March 2020. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, patrons have started using chat services frequently, and the Access Services department has been able to answer many questions, help people find electronic access to their textbooks, and assist in digitizing materials for courses. In addition to all these services, the library also provides calculators, markers, and laptops. The most recent additions to the library inventory for patrons include the translator, listening device, desk light, book stand, magnifier, lap pad, project Kit, math kit, sensory kit, and flash cards for 10 different languages many more tools for patrons to come. Keep an eye on our website for more information about Willis Library’s services.  

Did this blog help you learn about the services Willis library provides for the patrons? Let us know your comments! Please contact Ask Us if you have any questions about library services.

References

Forrest, C. (2014). University of North Texas libraries: Willis Library second floor renovation. https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc499087/ 

Johnston, P. (2016). Working together to get it for them: ILL and document delivery at the UNT libraries [PowerPoint slides]. https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc826640/m1/44/ 

Venner, M. A. (2013). Combined services desk report. https://digital.library.unt.edu: UNT Digital Library. https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461740/m1/2/?q=%22Willis%20Library%22%20services 

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by Justin Hall

In this modern digital age, where it has become incredibly easy for anyone to post their opinions online, it can sometimes be hard for academics, specifically students, to tell which information resources are credible and fact-based. “The ubiquitous nature of the Internet enables anybody to spread false and biased information easily.” (Hansraj et al., 2021, p. 2) However, there are several clues a reader can use to tell if an article is on the up-and-up.

A person typing her article photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

A person typing her article photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

One of the easiest methods a user can rely on to tell if an article is trustworthy is whether or not it is peer-reviewed. Peer-review means that the article has been looked over by other experts in the field before it was submitted to the greater academic community for viewing. When an article is peer-reviewed it automatically makes the article more trustworthy because the professionals who have reviewed it have checked the contents for accuracy and relevance to the field of study. We can usually trust that peer reviewed articles are legitimate because authorities in a field of study want to maintain the integrity of their chosen discipline. This means that they will go the extra mile to weed out any inaccuracies or articles of general poor- quality. Still, even the experts of a discipline are susceptible to error, which means peer-reviewed articles can sometimes be inaccurate or misleading. This means students need to go the extra mile when searching for and choosing trustworthy articles.

Once you have a good list of peer-reviewed articles to choose from, you can start to looking at the content of the articles themselves. Most articles will have clues hidden within their content that give an idea of whether or not the article can be considered trustworthy. One thing we should be on the lookout for when reading an article is the tone. Many unreliable articles may seem trustworthy at first because they have a persuasive tone that attempts to bring the reader over to their way of thinking. However, a reader must be vigilant in these situations and determine how and why they are being persuaded by an article.  
For example, an article that is full of factual statements that can easily be cross checked through other reliable sources will likely be persuasive to a reader. On the other hand, a dogmatic article that uses emotions to sway a reader may also be very persuasive, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the article is factual. When choosing articles to use for their research, users must consider what the author is attempting to achieve in their article and how they go about reaching this goal. There is nothing wrong with a persuasive article. However, students must ensure that articles they choose for their research use facts and logic, rather than opinions and emotion. 

Another way to gauge the reliability of an article is by ascertaining the authority of the author and publisher.  For instance, a reader can investigate to see whether or not the author has any other credits to their name. If an author is well-known or has been published by reputable distributors in the past, this is a good indicator that they are more likely to be trustworthy. Likewise, if the reader has never heard of an author before or finds it hard to find any background information on the publisher then they should be wary of an article’s credibility. “Authority implies a neat positive or negative evaluation of a source’s author but tends to encourage a reductive focus on the absence or presence of specific academic or professional credentials and work experience”. (Elmwood, 2020, p. 278) Authors who have been through the research publishing process before are more likely to be credible. This is because they are less likely to put out disinformation that could tarnish the good reputation they have built over time. In the same vein, if the article cites other well-known authors or is backed by a well-known publisher it can strongly indicate that the author has done their research and can be viewed as more reliable source. 
 
Unfortunately, there is no one way to tell if an article is trustworthy. However, by using all of these methods in tandem when checking the reliability of an article, users have a much stronger chance of choosing reliable and trustworthy articles.  

References

Elmwood, V. (2020). The journalistic approach: Evaluating web sources in an age of mass disinformation. Communications in Information Literacy14(2). https://doi.org/10.15760/comminfolit.2020.14.2.6  

Hansrajh, A., Adeliyi, T. T., & Wing, J. (2021). Detection of online fake news using blending ensemble learning. Scientific Programming, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/3434458 

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Written by Alexander Ames

Books in Black Wooden Book Shelf
Book stack with sunlight falling on them by Pixabay licensed under Pexels

For students, searching for a book in an academic library might seem daunting or confusing. According to one survey conducted by Illinois State University, “Many students were unable to find books that the library’s catalog indicated were available and on the shelf” (Murphy et al., 2013). Going to the third floor of the Willis library and seeing stacks and stacks of books with only letters and numbers on endcaps as a guide might seem intimidating at first. However, once anyone adopts the strategies in this guide, they will have an easier time finding books according to their call number and more thoroughly understand the sorting system used by many academic libraries.

HOW A CALL NUMBER IS CREATED

The idea behind the Library of Congress Classification system is that all written knowledge can be divided into 21 broad categories, represented by the first letter at the top left. These 21 categories are then split into narrower subcategories using a 2 or 3 letter design structure, with the design becoming increasingly specific the further down the call number you get.

Availability and call number
Image Courtesy of library.unt.edu

In this example, the B stands for the category of Philosophy, Psychology, and Religion, while the L is a subcategory of B which means that, within the first category, the book has the subject of Religions, Mythology, and Rationalism. Further narrowing down the call number, BL860 specifically refers to the subcategory Germanic and Norse. This is then broken up within that category by the decimal that follows which represents the author. The last section is the year of publication, and, in this case, the book was published in 2017. If you’re interested in seeing what topics fall under other call numbers, you can go to the Library of Congress Classification page, click on “twenty-one basic classes”, and browse through them yourself!

FINDING THE BOOK IN THE LIBRARY

UNT libraries, like most academic libraries, use this classification system to sort their books. If you go to the library catalog and look up a book you would be interested in reading, you will find the call number for the book and in which library the book is housed. While Willis is the place that you’ll find most books, there are some exceptions. The Music library, for example, on the fourth floor of Willis, holds all of UNT’s physical media that falls under the Music category. You will also find books that fall under the Juvenile and Law category at the Sycamore library and video- and board-games at the Media library, while popular bestsellers are housed in the back left of the second floor of the Willis library as shown in the above example.
Once you go to the physical location, like the third floor of the Willis library, where the book is located, you read the call number like a book, left to right, and, if there are multiple rows, top to bottom. The third floor is organized in such a way that the A category starts at the front left corner of the floor and the letters progress front to back and then start again in the next row. To help you navigate, there are letters on the endcap of each shelf that allow you to find your overall subject more easily (in the example, we would be looking for the B endcap). Once you find that general subject, you will want to look for the subtopics within, following the same design. On the endcaps where you find the general topic, you can also find posters showing the extremes of the call numbers housed on the shelf. This is how you figure out what shelf to look through for your specific book!

Call Number
Image by Alexander Ames from library.unt.edu

Did this guide help you better understand call numbers and figure out how to find books in the library? Let us know in the comments! If you need help with your research or have questions about the library, feel free to reach out to Ask Us for assistance.

References:

Library of Congress. (2014). Library of Congress classification. https://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/lcc.html

Murphy, J., Long, D., & MacDonald, J. B. (2013). Students’ understanding of the Library of Congress call number system. The Reference Librarian, 54(2), 103-117. https:// 10.1080/02763877.2013.755418

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Diverse team hands joining by Pavel Danilyuk licensed under Pexels

Scholar Speak is a student-created scholarly blog with scholarly topics that, if explained properly, could help fellow students on their academic journey. The main goal of writing these blog posts is to close a gap between students and the library, whether that be connecting people to helpful resources they might not understand or even know exist or explaining a certain topic to be more easily understandable. These are the people that will help make that happen!

Alexander Ames  

Hello! I am Alex, the Editor of this blog. After getting my bachelor’s degree in English from UNT, I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in library science, and eventually plan to work in a public library!  

Over this semester, my goal is to hone my research skills to a fine point, which will make me better at helping others throughout my career in the library. Another goal of mine is to get more experience with outreach, as a big part of public libraries is how the library interacts with the public.  

Justin Hall  

Hello, my name is Justin. I am a library science major in my second to last semester in the master’s program. I eventually want to work in either an academic or public library so my professional goal for this semester is to learn as much as I can from my team.

Arslan Ahmed  

Hello, my name is Arslan and I am currently doing my master’s in information science. I want to work in the field of data analytics in future and am planning to learn as much as possible about time management, information organization and working in depth with team members sharing the same interest.  

Sierra Dahl  

Hello everyone, my name is Sierra. I finished my bachelor’s degree in social work from UNT in May of 2021 and immediately began my master’s in library science. After graduation, I plan to work in public libraries, hopefully with youth, to aid library users in becoming life-long learners. 

Omika Mishra  

Hello, my name is Omika. I am the admin of this blog. I have completed my bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics from India and my current major is information systems. My career goal is to work in the data analytics field.  

While working with the library, I am getting exposed to various services, methods, resources, projects, and tools. And I can see the endless opportunity and resources that this Library provides to its patron, though I am a little cog in the wheel in this huge academic library, I really wish to learn and improve my skills to interact and help patrons better with their needs.  

Manvitha Doma  

Hello everyone, I am Manvitha Doma. I have completed my bachelor’s degree in computer   science in India, and I am currently pursuing my master’s in data science. My career goal is to be a data engineer and then eventually move into a data scientist role. I would like to increase my critical thinking and research skills while working in the library.   

Posted by & filed under Library Resources, Research Help.

Written by: Sarah Diaz

If you have ever been curious about the research your professors are doing, you might be interested in UNT Scholarly Works, the University of North Texas institutional repository. 

Institutional repositories are collections of scholarly work from a specific institution, like a college or university. According to Rebecca Marsh (2015), they have been around since the early 2000s and are typically used as “a mechanism for capturing, archiving and managing the collective digital research outputs of the institution” (p. 165). Although they vary greatly from one institution to another, institutional repositories typically collect published work as well as “grey literature,” which includes things like preprints, theses and dissertations, or conference proceedings. Grey literature has not been published, so it has historically been difficult for librarians to provide access (New York Academy of Medicine, n.d.). Institutional repositories help to preserve and share these materials. 

Additionally, institutional repositories are an important part of Open Access. Have you ever experienced the frustration of hitting paywalls and being unable to access the information you need? A benefit of Open Access is that it can help eliminate this problem by making resources available to everyone. One popular way of making information freely available is to publish it in an Open Access journal. However, what about articles published in traditional journals or other types of scholarly work aside from articles? Another option is to archive the materials in an intuitional repository. 

UNT Scholarly Works is part of our Digital Library. Like most institutional repositories, it archives a variety of both published and unpublished works. It currently includes over 6,000 items such as articles, presentations, data, and even creative work such as art and music (UNT Digital Library, n.d.). To access UNT Scholarly Works, visit https://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/UNTSW/ and use the search bar or the filters to start exploring the collection. 

If you’re a student pursuing scholarly research and publication, you might be wondering who can submit their work. In addition to archiving work by the university’s faculty and staff, the Digital Library has several related repositories dedicated specifically to theses and dissertations, graduate student work, undergraduate work, and data. According to the website, “UNT students are welcome to deposit their work that has been accepted by a professional organization or approved by a faculty mentor” (University Libraries, n.d.). If you meet those criteria, your work may be eligible to be added to a UNT repository. For example, learning more about the repositories while writing this post inspired a few of my fellow GSAs and me to submit the slides from a lightning talk and a poster we presented this spring. 

For more information about UNT Scholarly Works, contact untrepository@unt.edu. Several other Scholar Speak contributors have also written about Open Access and scholarly publishing, so if you have an interest in these topics, be sure to check out: 

Have you used UNT Scholarly Works to find work by your professors or other faculty? Let us know in the comments! If you need help with your research or have questions about the library, feel free to reach out to Ask Us for assistance. 

References

Marsh, R. M. (2015). The role of institutional repositories in developing the communication of scholarly research. OCLC Systems & Services, 31(4), 163–195. https://doi.org/10.1108/OCLC-04-2014-0022 

New York Academy of Medicine. (n.d.). What is grey literature? Grey Literature Report. https://www.greylit.org/about  

University Libraries. (n.d.). UNT Scholarly Works. University of North Texas. https://library.unt.edu/scholarly-works/  

UNT Digital Library. (n.d.). UNT Scholarly Works. University of North Texas. https://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/UNTSW/

Posted by & filed under Databases and Journals, Library Resources, Research Help.

Journal articles are a popular resource type for academic research. If you have the citation of the article you need, there are several ways to find it. The Library Hacks videos below explain how to search for a specific article by title and find a journal in the UNT Libraries’ Discover catalog. 

Searching by Article Title

Searching by Journal Title

Do you have a favorite search strategy? Feel free to leave a comment letting us know, and if you need help searching for articles or other library resources, Ask Us is here to help! 

Posted by & filed under Library Resources, Research Help.

Written by: Gabrielle Milburn 

Two women chatting
Two woman chatting by Mentatdgt, licensed under Pexels 

Librarians have been an authoritative presence among the rows of literature for as long as the role has been established. There can be various beliefs arguing over the role of a librarian, from the idea that they only stock books and read all day, to looming the stacks and keeping the building quiet. From my experience as a student assistant working directly with UNT’s subject librarians, while librarians do much more than stock the collection and read all day, the reading part is only somewhat correct. It should be explicitly noted that these perceptions are not entirely true– I can safely say that none of the librarians that I have worked with have ever cracked open a YA novel and spent three hours indulging in just that. Still, there is a ton of research that subject librarians do find themselves reading for a certain objective in accordance to their projects or patrons.  

Many students are not aware that there are people to ask when they need help researching for their paper other than their professor. As the desk receptionist, I receive many phone calls asking for further information on research projects and how to find materials. The process will usually start with the inquiry and finish with my directing them to their subject librarian, who could help them with their research. The subject librarians not only are able to sit with the patron and provide a professional research consultation, but they might already be familiar with the assignment itself. Part of the subject librarian’s duty when they are assigned their department of research is to engage with the professors and faculty. With this outreach they can cement their familiarity with the subject and the potential assignments to come. 

Many might assume that the subject librarian would need to have a background in the subject to help their patrons. While that can put them in a great position to provide good service, subject librarians are not necessarily required to have a degree in the department they are representing. Melissa Fortson (2011) illustrates her experience as a new subject librarian very well in her article I’m No Expert: A New Librarian Becomes a Subject Specialist. She implies that the real secret is that although the librarian might not have professional experience with their subject prior to their position, they are trained and well-versed with the subject enough to help their patrons. They spend extra hours and effort to find the most helpful resources to help researchers through scheduling meetings or even provide helpful links in their Subject Guides.  

Now that you know what subject librarians can do for their patrons, you know who to reach out to for extra help on research, right? For UNT’s subject librarians, getting in contact with them is easy! If there is a specific subject or course that a patron needs help with, they can simply look through the Subject Librarians list and find which librarian covers which subject. This page even allows visitors to filter the list by searching for the subject and finding their librarian through there! Some librarians also lead their own classes on how to research using the university’s resources and library website. This is a service that can be offered for students and other patrons within the libraries as part of their outreach. It is important to reach out to the students, faculty, and other university patrons and promote the library’s support and services. After all, there is always a student struggling with research, from narrowing down their topics to navigating the website and finding the resources they need. Subject librarians are responsible for promoting their services and the backbones that support accessibility in research and instruction for all of our patrons. 

Our subject librarians are always open to discuss research opportunities! Need help getting in contact with them, or have any further questions regarding librarian and library services? Feel free to leave a comment and contact our Ask Us services for more information! 

References: 

Fortson, M. (2011). I’m no expert: A new librarian becomes a subject specialist. ALA New Members Round Table, 40(3). http://www.ala.org/rt/nmrt/news/footnotes/february2011/im_no_expert_fortson 

University Libraries. (n.d.). Subject Librarians. https://library.unt.edu/subject-librarinas/ 

Posted by & filed under Careers in Librarianship.

Written by: Madan Mohan

Two gray steel chair
Two Gray Steel Chair photo by Steve Halama licensed under Unsplash 

Here are few tips that might help you understand the interview process a little better. 

While everyone is excited about graduating, our job is not done quite yet, but instead takes us to the next important aspect of finding a job that matches our skill sets. This can be a daunting task given the various job titles and detailed job descriptions in academic libraries. There are many steps one needs to go through before being offered a position. The hiring process for an academic job can be time-consuming and can vary from one institution to another. Librarian positions can either be tenure-track or non-tenure-track faculty, academic appointees, administrative staff, or professional staff positions, stated by ACRL Guidelines for Recruiting Academic Librarians (2017).  

Finding an academic librarian job generally involves searching for a suitable posting online, applying, and going through two rounds of interviews with a search committee and others who work at the library. ACRL Standards, Guidelines, and Framework can be a helpful resource that can help you become familiar with the search committee’s specific processes and roles. They explain how various institutions follow these guidelines during the interview process and several other interview procedures, from telephone to on-site campus interviews. These guidelines can help you understand how candidates are evaluated. How is a recommendation made for hiring a candidate by the search committees, hiring authority, and senior administrators? This varies from one institution to another.  

After finding job postings you are interested in, apply only to the positions for which you meet the required qualifications (Davis, 2015, p. 138). Applying for a position requires three essential components: a resume or curriculum vitae, a cover letter, and a minimum of three references. A few excellent places to start looking for job postings online are ALA JobListHigherEdJobsLibGig Jobs, etc. Being an active LinkedIn user can also help you network and connect with librarians and professionals in the academic field. 

Some common steps involved when applying:  

  1. Use a professional email address that includes your full name when applying for positions online.   
  1. Proofread your resume and cover letter and make sure all attached documents have a standard naming convention. Asking a friend to proofread your resume and cover letter can be helpful.   
  1. Practice interviewing with some of the common questions like a.) Tell me something about yourself, strengths, weaknesses, b.) Explain how you have the required qualifications and meet all skills and experience mentioned in the job description. In addition to your required qualifications explain how you meet any preferred or desired qualifications listed in the posting.    
  1. Always prepare a few questions specific to the job posting to ask the search committee at the end of the interview.   
  1. Send a thank you letter expressing your gratitude by email after the interview. 

The interview process typically consists of two phases, a phone or Zoom interview and an on-site interview. These days, video interviews are becoming more common than phone interviews, though practice varies by institution. Professional dress code applies for both virtual and on-site interviews. These are some of the expected norms when applying for an academic position. In general, up to ten qualified candidates are interviewed by phone or Zoom, and the committee will then select one to five candidates for an on-site interview (Davis, 2015, p. 139). Also, have a backup plan if you have any technical difficulties connecting over the phone or virtually. Emailing the search committee or the hiring administrator about the technical difficulties can help them understand your preparedness and professionalism.   

As stated by Davis, on-site interviews for academic libraries can typically last for a full day or longer. Prior to the on-site interview, the search committee will send an information packet about the position and the library. This packet will have the contact person with whom you will coordinate during your interview. Presentations are another important aspect and a requirement for most academic library on-site interviews (Davis, 2015 p.140 – 141).   

It is a standard process to provide references when applying for a job posting. Most importantly, check with your references in advance that they are willing to be your reference and give them a heads-up if you are called for an interview by sharing the job posting, resume, and cover letter that you submitted. This way, when contacted, your references can highlight the skills that best fit the job you are applying for.   

During our GSA meeting with Kevin Hawkins, the UNT Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Scholarly Communication, he shared many valuable tips from resumes to the hiring process, and I want to share few things I found particularly helpful:  

  1. Highlighting the required qualifications in your resume/CV is essential, and telling a story about meeting those required and desired qualifications in a cover letter can help the search committee select candidates for the next stage.  
  1. Some libraries, such as UNT, evaluate candidates against the job qualification based on a point-based rubric system.      
  1. Addressing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and describing your personal experience working with diverse groups can be very helpful when applying for an academic or a teaching position.  
  1. Applications are reviewed manually by members of the search committee, though in some cases an HR employee will do a first pass to remove any obviously unqualified candidates. 

Having attended many workshops, I have often heard that resumes need to have specific keywords mentioned in the job posting to pass the automated system that reviews resumes and cover letters. However, reviewing applications through an automated system is common in private sector companies but not in academic settings (Hawkins, 2021). This is especially comforting to know that our effort and time invested in applying for academic positions hasn’t gone unnoticed because of an automated system.  

Our subject librarian Greg Hardin has valuable Career Development resources, including guides that help prepare resumes and cover letters. Also, several links to job sites, professional organizations, and more can be found on UNT’s Information Science: Career Resources guides page.   

We hope these tips helped you understand the process of applying for academic librarian jobs a little better. Feel free to share comments about your experience with these resources or contact Ask Us for any research assistance! 

Laptop on a table next to a coffee, phone and notepad
Occupational stress measures of tenure-track librarians photo by Andrew Neel licensed under Unsplash 

References  

Davis, A. R. (2015). Searching for an Academic Librarian Job: Techniques to Maximize Success. Pennsylvania Libraries, 3(2), 136-143. http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/palrap.2015.107  

Guidelines for recruiting academic librarians. (2017, June 29). American Library Association. http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/recruitingguide 

Hawkins, K. (2021, March 19). GSA meeting. University of North Texas. 

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