Notes from “Building Skills to Get Unstuck”

This morning we were treated to a timely and informative presentation by Rachel Singer Gordon. Using examples from her own career and others, she provided insights into how librarians can persevere through the current economic situation and all the changes happening in libraries. She emphasized the need to have an internal locus of control, from which we can ask ourselves, “What can I do to make the most of my current situation?”

Rachel Singer Gordon then framed the discussion around 12 R’s to help us achieve a new mindset:

  1. REFOCUS on your career. What’s your priority? What drew you into the profession in the first place? Identify your negative thoughts. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
  2. RECOGNIZE  the need to be proactive. It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. Where are you blocked? What do you need to do to move forward?
  3. REINVEST in yourself. Build your skills by attending local continuing education opportunities which are just as good as national ALA programs. Webinars are also a good way to keep learning.
  4. RESUMES must be kept up-to-date. Always tailor your resumes and cover letters to the jobs you’re applying for. Make sure you know what people see when they “google” your name.
  5. RELOCATE geographically, to a new type of library, or to a new career altogether if needed. Most people say they can’t relocate when they really mean they won’t.
  6. RESOURCES – use your librarian skills to find the best resources. Don’t forget about the great information on
  7. RECONNECT with others, especially online via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (Writer’s note: Don’t forget about our networking page!)
  8. READY yourself for what might come. Be aware of what’s happening around you and think about how it affects libraries and your career.
  9. RETHINK your alternatives.
  10. REFRAME your thoughts and perspectives. Ask what you can do.
  11. RESILIENCE – Embrace the opportunity in change.
  12. REALIZE this isn’t permanent. Things will change in the economy and the job market. Change is inevitable.

Overall, it was a great message for people who have been in the field for many years, new librarians, and students in library school. Thank you to Des Plaines Public Library for hosting and to committee member Christina Tropea for organizing this program. And, of course, a special thanks to Gale Cengage Learning for sponsoring this program, making it possible to offer it free for attendees!

Did you attend? If so, please feel free your own comments and notes below!

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