20/02/2014 § 8 Comments
Like any graduate program, library school is a big time commitment. Whether your program is online or in person, full time or part time, there’s just no way to get the education you need to be a librarian without putting in a significant chunk of your life. But if time isn’t something you’ve got in spades, is it reasonable to think you can work full time and still do your degree?
My answer: very often yes, but it depends. Many of my classmates work, many are parents. I have to travel once or twice a month for my full time job. Everybody has a life, and most MLS programs get that. That doesn’t mean that every MLS program is going to work with every full-time job though. So how do you go about answering this question for your own life? « Read the rest of this entry »
15/01/2014 § 6 Comments
Today’s post was supposed to be a fluffy list of librarian-centric movies you could work into a nice Netflix binge on your last weekend or two before the spring semester starts up. I had actually started to compile a nice little list for you. But then Saturday night I stumbled onto an article in The Guardian about an increase in volunteer-run libraries in Great Britain. The volunteer question is worth discussing (Anna-Sophia addressed it nicely a few months ago), but the thing that made me sit up and foam at the mouth for a few hours was the comment section. We had some defenders, but there were also a whole lot of people saying very blatantly that librarians aren’t real professionals, and not worth our salaries. Some were trolling but others seemed to genuinely believe that being a librarian is a simple job that can be taught with a few hours training.
I get a softer version of this attitude all the time. It’s constant and insidious, and rectifying these misconceptions without pigeonholing your listeners can be really difficult. I’d love to hold forth for an hour or five, but in the social situations where this question often comes up a snappy soundbite is all people really want. Soundbites are difficult to create on the spot, especially if you’re like me and blind fury and/or nerves sometimes make it hard to reply coherently at a moment’s notice. But it can be done. Here are some of my standard fallbacks for fighting off the inevitable vultures: « Read the rest of this entry »
18/12/2013 § 4 Comments
For many of us, library school = big student loans. Some programs are less expensive than others, particularly if you’re able to get in-state tuition, but we all know that none of them can really be described as cheap. Have you looked at your student accounts lately? Take a moment, figure out how much you’ve borrowed so far, how much more you’ll need to borrow, throw in summer tuition if you’re taking summer classes, factor in books and technology purchases. Tell me, how much debt will you be in when you graduate?
If you’re in a situation anything like mine, the answer is “far more than I really wanted to be reminded of during the holidays, thank-you-very-much.” That’s if you could bring yourself to answer me at all. But while it’s no fun to ponder the massive debt you’re running up, the fact of the matter is that you’re probably between semesters for the next 6-8 weeks and suddenly have some extra time on your hands. So rather than whimpering under your desk, why not put your time and your budget fears to good use and write some really fantastic scholarship applications? Even if they’re not due until April, when else will you have the time?
I realize that it’s your holiday break and you might not want to do this, so here are some national-level scholarship programs with relatively painless application procedures to get you started. Some of these will even let you apply to more than one at a time!
15/11/2013 § 8 Comments
When I applied for my MLS a few years ago, the realities of the working world had me dreaming of a retreat from the outside world in the arms of academia. I pictured days spent in stimulating classes and evenings immersed in my studies, totally plugged into the world of libraries and library science at all times. I would specialize in something fantastic, meet tons of like-minded people, and not have to report to a desk job every day. Student loan debt be damned, I wanted an escape.
Shortly after hitting “send,” life intervened. Between a 500+ mile move, a new job with just enough travel to make night classes impossible, and sheer economic reality, it quickly became apparent that escaping into classes and living off student loans for two years was just not going to happen. Two years and two deferments later, I find myself almost finished with my first semester in the University of Maryland College Park’s online MLS program.
I’m happy with my decision to switch to the online program, but I do sometimes feel that I’m missing out on the intangible benefits of face-to-face learning. My day job has NOTHING to do with libraries, so I don’t get the water cooler chitchat, the special programming posters in the hallway, the classroom tangents that have nothing to do with that day’s planned discussion but are oh-so-valuable. I get online class discussion boards, and nothing more. Not quite the immersive experience I had in mind when I sent in my application, and an easy recipe for low motivation. So to keep myself from feeling totally cut off, I’ve come up with a few strategies to get my library buzz.