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Important thoughts emerge from “After Dark” lecture gathering

Historian/author/librarian and USF SLIS alumnus Andy Huse graced the student organizations “After Dark” Lecture Series last Wednesday night (Nov. 4, 2009). Ten students were fortunate enough to meet with Andy who is busy promoting the release of his book The Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine (University Press of Florida, publication date Nov. 12, 2009).

Andy

Andy Huse is both gracious and inspiring

Mr. Huse spent a healthy part of the evening outlining his journey in research and offered notes on working in the professional world following graduate school. However, he sent a follow-up E-mail for those that attended, in which he advises throwing out his previous thoughts in light of a brainstorm he experienced after the talk. He thanks the current students who attended for inspiring him to prepare an article. If the contents of the article prove as strong as his E-mail, the result could be a “manifesto” (identification courtesy of David Davisson) for library students.

Here are some selected thoughts from Andy’s note:

“This is a life and death struggle for our profession. Everything is changing for consumers, publishers, and librarians. Unless we want libraries to go the way of newspapers and the Beta-Max, we should stay relevant as a class of academia.”

“The marginalized class: Librarians are a marginalized class of the academic world. Why? Librarians do not always have an active research agenda. Without an active agenda, librarians are mere functionaries, glorified clerks and collectors. Librarians deserve much better.”

“There are many students and faculty all over the university thinking harder than library students and faculty. You will serve them.”

“Librarians are not mere clerks. Librarians do not just collect and organize information. They should create it.”

“Librarians prove the worth of their profession through research in and outside the profession.”

Pondering food for thought from Andy Huse

Students at the After Dark Lecture

“You cannot overestimate your potential. Find a role and aim high.”

“Don’t stop at poster sessions. Write articles. Find good homes for your work.”

“Writing doesn’t have to be bland and technical. Approach your subject warmly when possible.”

“Be prepared to speak. Like writing, don’t avoid it. Practice! A willingness and skill at speaking publicly will come in handy. Trust me.”

“Use tasteful humor when appropriate.”

“Employ devices to widen your skill set and make your work more dynamic. ” (surveys, audio, video, oral history)

“If you don’t have a job, you need experience. Get your foot in the door. Volunteer if you have to. Real-world experience is vital.”

“Make the job work for you. It is already working you.”

“Research is the part of your career that you should control and enjoy the most. Don’t wait until you have a job or get a good position. Hone your vision right away. Librarians research subjects in and out of their profession. Do you have a research passion?”

“Does your employer grant research time? Have you asked? Can you get more time for research?”

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Evidence that Andy has lived his words

“Your career does not stop at 5 PM, and it shouldn’t.
Life is all about relationships in and out of work. Find a good home for your work, but don’t be too picky. Publishing anything is better than nothing. Kick #%*. Don’t stop. Efforts at your career don’t end until you retire.
It should be a struggle if worth doing at all.”

Thanks very, very much, Andy, for this great encouragement.

(Please note the blogger takes full responsibility, with an apology, for changing one of Andy’s words to symbols for this posting. Posted by AB)

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