What I wish they taught in GLAM school

This post is about subjects I’d like to have learnt more about when studying at GLAM school and “topics” that I’ve spent time on since graduating. Thanks to #GLAMBlogClub and newCardigan for the topic and impetus to write at least once a month.

LMS 101  – The hands-on, get down and dirty, this is what a library management system looks like, here’s how to use one subject. If you’ve never worked in a library, you’ve never seen this kind of software, but you’ll use it everyday.

Change is Already Here – Many subjects theorised and analysed GLAM being in a state of change and needing to adapt. How do we work in this ever changing profession? Change management skills in how to deal with this both as an employee and be an agent of change – yes please.

New Grad? New Rules – See that testamur? Great! Ignore it. And get ready to learn everything all over again in the context of where you work and the role you have. Lots of the library subjects I completed had a public library slant. My first role was in a special (medical) library: totally different collection, patrons, structure from anything we studied. That sounds a little naive I know, maybe 4 years focused on studying, left me a little blinkered. Just remember that there is no one GLAM fits all scenario.

Hustle Like You Mean It – Once you’ve graduated and secured that first unicorn tear drenched rare library role, you might (some may say, should) make a plan to move on (in a couple of years). Whether it be in the same library, gallery, museum, archive or elsewhere, you’re going to need to hustle. Network or learn how to, find a mentor, be visible where GLAM folk hang out – online, conferences, workshops, PD events, make GLAM friends. Talk to people, ask questions, become comfortable with talking about what you’re great at. Find how to get better at the stuff you’re not great at.

The Path Isn’t Straight – careers rarely are these days, be ok with that. Be open to non-traditional GLAM roles, our skills are incredibly useful in many areas. Plus you get to be a library advocate with people who might need libraries the most. Be flexible and prepared to move sideways, diagonally or geographically, you will be a better information professional with a great range of experience.

Post Grad You – the only person who can make your GLAM career happen is you. Go get it.


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