ALT AC notes, draft

ALT AC: converting interest/ability into a job. Are Humanities programs preparing students for outside jobs. ALT AC: converting interest/ability into a job. Are Humanities programs preparing students for outside jobs. ALT AC: converting interest/ability into a job. Are Humanities programs preparing students for outside jobs.

Tension in SLIS between traditional and new-media approaches, young and old. Established and tenured librarians set in tension against clinical positions. Tenured folk unhappy with clinical positions (and the people accepting them) while the market doesn’t offer the choice. Tenure like marriage, so clinical faculty can be looked upon with “live-in” disapproval.

Two thirds of the professoriate transforming from tenure to clinical or adjunct, which also strips power away from the faculty. Also, librarians who must go through tenure process often aren’t seen as teachers by other tenured faculty.

Taking skills from working as an editor to MLS, working on databases, instructional technology; these skills are portable across multiple categories and potential careers. Lots of room in instructional technology.

Digital Humanities as what librarians may be doing in the next ten to fifteen years. Project management skills cropping up a lot in job ads, and these skills overlap with library skills. Silos may break down over time. True organizationally, but on an individual basis people are often conditioning themselves around heavy specialization. They may collaborate with other specialists but not outside their specialization, not sharing their experience or mentoring others.

Are these essentially support staff jobs? Many positions non-tenure track, non-faculty. At the same time, tenured and tenure-track faculty increasingly asked to incorporate digital in their work, and calling upon this support staff.

Collaboration may fly in the face of existing tenure expectations. Might the erosion of tenure go hand-in-hand with the promotion of what DH values?

Politics as very important, especially in one’s first job, in the sense of the department or organizational culture and political structures. Administrators want solutions, not problems. Continuing within that culture and matching organizational priorities as necessary to retaining a position. Research the director’s background, experiences, stated values. Know who is there in advance.

Private library work: purchasing and organizing books for private individuals (ie. Oprah). But this small business seems risky.

Book arts and Makerspaces, especially for large metropolitan libraries: knitting libraries, papercraft libraries, where people can come to experience making.

Presses are being moved into or partnered with libraries. Digitization, building up metadata, developing other resources (like conference notes) which aren’t strictly peer-reviewed.

Developing tutorials, instructional videos and the like, explaining clearly how to do things. Frequent updating/changing of digital resources makes these things in need of constant reworking. Need to communicate quickly, 2.5 minutes or less.

Ability to shape or continue to train yourself, set with or against need to instruct/teach/train or provide direction to others.

Research whatever workplace you’d apply to. Research the language and the duties. Be specific and focused in your responses to questions.

If you want a library job, you need to stay invested in library-world jobs.

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About David Ainsworth

Assistant Professor of English, University of Alabama

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