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First Year Review

14 August 2008 10,549 views 4 Comments

Yesterday, Melissa Mallon wrapped up her tenure as an ACRLog contributor.  In her final post she summarizes some of the most important lessons she’s learned during her first year as an academic librarian.  I’m paraphrasing here, but her list looks something like this:

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to colleagues
  • Don’t underestimate your students
  • “Try [fill in the blank] at least once!”
  • Build you interest in publishing gradually through blogs, newsletters, and reviews
  • Take advantage of free online professional development

Fair enough; but how about we use this as a moment to pause. There are a number of you who are just beginning your second year as a resident.  So, what have you learned?  What do you know now that you wish you knew 9 months ago?  What advice would you offer for people just starting their residency?

I have some thoughts, but I’d like to hear your ideas first…

Megan P.


  • Yasmin said:


    I am just beginning my second year and I think all of Melissa’s suggestions are really important. For me, the publishing experience has been very positive. I found that there were quite a few opportunities for me to do this. I thought that publishing would have been difficult, but there are always editors looking for interesting articles. If you have great ideas, don’t be afraid to approach journal editors, or when there are calls for papers, do respond. In my first year, I ended up having two articles published in two different journals. What I also found useful in my first year was to keep a monthly log of the things I do. This helped me to look back at all that I have been involved with. It also helps during evaluation to note all that you have done. I do think I have grown a lot professionaly in my first year and it has confirmed for me that an academic library is where I want to be.

  • libraryresidents said:

    Thanks for your comments, Yasmin. I agree with you about the publishing question. It’s not as hard as one might think. My first publication was a short summary of a conference presentation for ACRL. It was really very simple. It seemed almost like a blog posting to be honest, but I had to sign an author agreement so I count it as a publication. Since then I’ve been doing book reviews for the Social Responsibility Round Table. Again, these are shorter works but they definitely get you started. Newsletters are a good way to just get yourself up and writing too.

    I like that you are keeping a journal. That’s something residents in other professions do quite often, especially medical residents. It’s even built into the structure of their residency programs. They meet at regular times and talk about what questions they’ve framed as a result of their journaling. I keep meaning to carve out time each week to reflect on how things are going, what surprises I’ve encountered, what problems I’ve solved, and so on but I just never seem to have the time.

    Do you have any journaling tips for us you can share?

    Finally, is there any chance you can supply us with the citations to your publications? (Maybe we should start a page of publications, poster sessions, and presentations by residents…that could be fun.)

  • Yasmin said:

    Hi Megan,

    I kept the journal or log simple, because I agree with you that the days can get so busy that journaling can get a bit behind. At the end of each month, I try to look back at the things I did and just make short notes about them. Some things I include are: conference attendance, informal workshops I attend, any presentations I make in the library, articles I had published, as well as completions of any of my rotations.

    I think a link to publications, poster, presentations by residents is a great idea. Here is a link to the articles I have had published so far:

    Yasmin Morais, Learning the Ropes: A Resident Librarian Reflects on Law Librarianship, Law Libr. Lights, Summer 2008, at 9-11. [WWW]

    Yasmin Morais, The Caribbean Court of Justice: A Research Guide, LLRX.com, Feb. 27, 2008. [WWW]

  • slittletree said:

    Keeping a log or journal of my accomplishments would be one thing that I wish I would have done from the beginning because it is difficult to remember everything I’ve done. This would have been especially important for our yearly review that happened this spring, a review for all employees. It was a very good exercise for me to take time to not only look at all I had done in the past year, but also take time to discuss these activities with my colleagues and supervisors. Having a detailed list of all my professional activities and all of my work accomplishments for my first year as a professional made me realize that I hadn’t been just spinning my wheels, like I often feel like I’m doing.

    Journaling is something that is always helpful for me, but I can’t figure out why I don’t do it more often.

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