How to Get the Most Out of Your Library School Classes

03/12/2013 § 3 Comments

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Tiffany Newton.

I just finished library school at Emporia State University (ESU) and since then I have discovered many courses I wish I would have taken. Some I learned about from my classmates, some I discovered from being a teaching assistant to one of my professors during my last semester, and other simply weren’t offered at ESU. My MLS required 36 hours and at about three hours per course, that’s 12 individual classes. Some of my classes were only two hours, so I did have more than 12 classes, but I still don’t think it was enough. Could I have learned everything I wanted to know about librarianship in 12 classes? I think it is possible, yes, but in retrospect I should have thought about how each class would help with my goals and bring meaning to my career.

So how do you identify which classes are most important to you?  First, think about why you’re going to school. Do you currently have a library job that you’re happy with? Will you be looking for one upon graduation?  What kind of librarian do you want to be? What do you want to get out of library school?  I didn’t think about any of these things going into library school. I didn’t have a good idea of why I was there or what I wanted out of school. I didn’t think about my future or my career after school.

Look up job ads on sites like I Need a Library Job (INALJ) for jobs that you think you might want after school.  What are the knowledge requirements, and do you have that knowledge? If not, take a class on it. Are there skills that you will need, and does your school offer a class to allow you to obtain those skills? Is experience required, and if so, can you take a practicum, internship, or volunteer position while in school to get this experience?

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How I Got My LIS Groove Back

28/11/2013 § 8 Comments

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Alison Peters.

I fully admit it: I was this close to dropping out.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m very happy with the 100% online LIS program at San Jose State University, which allows me to work full time and develop a freelance writing career, all while I’m in school. And the LIS degree is perfect for combining my love of books, public/customer service, and research. But after a semester ‘break’ I needed a jumpstart; something to put me back on a focused path and engage me again.

So when the call went out to join an independent study course devoted to the LIS Publications Wiki, I jumped at it. The wiki is, essentially, a database of LIS-centric publications and everything you ever wanted to know in order to write for them. Designed to be used by LIS professionals and students around the world – it’s a pretty amazing, extremely valuable research effort. Each entry details things like the publication’s submission guidelines, their audience makeup (so you’ll know who you’re tailoring your writing towards), what they’re looking for in submissions, and how to contact editors and send in your query. The goals are to encourage more LIS folks to write, to get published, and to inspire readers by showing how many publications and organizations are out there, just waiting for you. If your focus is metadata and you’re interested in writing a scholarly (i.e., research oriented and peer reviewed) piece for an acclaimed publication that might help you land a job or gain tenure, click on the Scholarly Journals section to narrow your search focus. If your library or school just developed a cool new program, the LIS professional and trade publications or LIS online forums (which is where I came across, and fell in love with, HLS in the first place) would most likely love to share your news with their readers. And if you’re like me and just want to gush over books with other aficionados, search for a Civilian publication like BookRiot, and try your luck.

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Black OR Queer? Life at the Intersection

19/11/2013 § 33 Comments

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Fobazi M. Ettarh

Black people are more homophobic.

Racism is over. LGBTQ rights are the new Civil Rights.

Well at least Black people can get married!

My classmates spit these words at me during the discussion of Civil Rights in young adult literature. I had expressed my discomfort at the conflation of the Civil Rights and LGBTQ movement. These words, while familiar, still stung. As usual, I was the only person of color (POC) in the room. Many students and librarians have talked about diversifying the MLIS and field of librarianship. But what about the librarians already in the field?

My journey in getting the MLIS has been difficult. As someone who identifies as a queer person of color (QPOC), the overwhelming white heteronormativity of the program here at Rutgers is disheartening. I have been able to build racial and queer themes into almost every class I’ve taken at Rutgers. From term papers on the information-seeking practices of QPOC youth to creating sites highlighting authors who have QPOC protagonists, to bringing up these intersections in various discussions, I have made sure that voice is heard.

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The Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (TLAM) Project

12/11/2013 § 2 Comments

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Robin Amado and Jake Ineichen.

Boozhoo (hello, in Ojibwe) from Madison, Wisconsin! We are members of the Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums Project (TLAM) at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and today we’d like to talk a little bit about what we do and why we do it.

First, some context: There are 566 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., 11 of which are in Wisconsin. And there are 7 tribal cultural institutions that combine libraries, archives, and/or museums in one space. Tribal communities are spread throughout the state, shown on the map here.

What is the TLAM Project?

The TLAM Project is designed to provide LIS students with service-learning opportunities in American Indian communities on projects that actually mean something to those communities. At the same time, it provides tribal cultural workers with access to professional resources and development.  It’s a mutually beneficial relationship! Building relationships is a focal point of our work.

TLAM began with students who had an interest in learning about Wisconsin Indian communities and approached the director of our library school with an idea for a specialized course. She said, “You design it, and I’ll run it,” and the next semester ten students enrolled in a group independent study course. It provided such a unique, valuable (read: awesome) experience that it became a listed course the next year.

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Out of State, Out of Country: Letting Your Tuition Take You Farther

30/10/2013 § 14 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Sally Ellis.

When you think about paying out-of-state tuition rates upwards of twice that of state residents, most people’s first reaction is probably not, “What a great opportunity!”  At least mine wasn’t.  But when I decided to attend the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana instead of schools in my home state, I made the decision based on UIUC’s distinguishing characteristics: synchronous online classes, on-campus requirements for every semester, and a two week long “bootcamp” to start the program.  Having completed my undergrad in a traditional brick and mortar setting and having completed a Tech Certificate in an entirely asynchronous online setting, I felt I needed a bit more of a hybrid to suit my lifestyle and educational goals.  Tuition costs aside, it is a decision I am glad I made. Although the physical component made scheduling my life a bit tricky, the network of support that came with it was worth it.

The biggest bonus to taking on this tuition, however, was that it suddenly made the cost of classes abroad an easy decision.  I had never traveled internationally before starting grad school and I certainly didn’t anticipate grad school being the time in my life when I started traveling internationally.  But life is full of surprises.  I honestly can’t remember when I first heard about possible classes abroad, but once I did, I picked at that idea like a worn hangnail. I had to take 40 units of worth of classes, right?  And I had to pay almost exactly the same amount in tuition and travel expenses to get to IL each semester, right?  And, if I took these classes during Winter and Summer breaks, then conceivably, I could graduate that much sooner, right?  And if I just throw in the tiniest bit more money to pay for my flights, wasn’t that like visiting other countries for practically nothing?  And if my husband and kids survived me being gone for an additional 6 weeks during the course of two years, wasn’t that really, in the long run, a wonderful opportunity for them to prove their independence and strength to themselves? See, it was all so easy.

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