Internship Tips and Insights

26/08/2011 § 16 Comments

If you’re a brand new library school student, you may feel it’s a little early to start thinking about internships/practicums. While I do think you need a few weeks to get settled in and feel less overwhelmed by the new atmosphere (and information overload), it’s a good idea to begin thinking about internships as soon as you’re able. My number 1 tip for new students is to start perusing job ads – subscribe to job lists in Google Reader, and save the ones that interest you. You don’t have to have your “track” figured out yet, but if you know some of the skills you will need to meet job requirements, you will feel a bit more focused when it comes to choosing classes and internships.

LIS programs vary when it comes to internships and practicums; some are required, some are optional. At UA, internships are optional, but students are strongly encouraged to do at least one semester-long, 150-hour internship for pass/fail credit. It doesn’t hurt that SLIS has an amazing internship coordinator who is not afraid to call any library – students talk to her about their interests, she names off some choices, and they go from there.

First things first: if an internship is not required, DO ONE. There are some exceptions to this. If you’re already working in a library part-time or full-time, you may not need an internship. If you can’t physically fit one in your schedule due to life conflicts, it’s understandable. Otherwise — do it. I can’t stress this enough.

Now for the other tips: « Read the rest of this entry »

Best of the Summer Semester

10/08/2011 § 1 Comment

Whether you just finished an intense summer of grad school, working, conferencing, or swimming with the dolphins, chances are that you missed a few of our posts this summer. Never fear – it’s time for our end of semester recap! Completely new to HLS? You can catch the Best of Semester One here.



Atlas of New Librarianship – The unbook unreview – Micah Vandegrift

Transition: Student to Professional – Heidi Kittleson

Subsidized Loans: A Relic of Our Past? – Julia Skinner

Google University – Nicole Fonsh

Student Organizations and LIS Education – Britt Foster

Hack ALA: Get Your Network On! – Lauren Dodd and Annie Pho

Self-Assessment and Identifying What You Want To Know – Annie Pho

The Little Big Red Bookstore That Couldn’t – Zack Frazier

Hack ALA: What’s a Professional Organization To Do? – Turner Masland

Diversity: A New Perspective – Rebecca Halpern


Hack ALA: What’s a Professional Organization To Do?

Walking a Fine Line: You 2.0 vs. well, You

Subsidized Loans: A Relic of Our Past?

Why Archivists Go to Library School


Hack Your Program – provides basic overviews of the schools we represent, some recommended courses, insight into the bureaucracy and/or politics of the program, and constructive criticism. Is there a school you would like to see represented? Do you want to write a post about your program? See this post.

Hack ALA – posts that examine the American Library Association from the students’ perspective, weigh pros and cons and assess the value of membership for the library school student, offer an insight to how the organization works, and provide tips to survive ALA’s Annual Conference.


Hack ALA: What’s a Professional Organization to Do?


“knit garments manufacturers”

“how to hack library network”

“why do i do my phd?”

“what’s library science”

“library hacker blog”

“searching up someone from elementary school”

Now that you’re catching up on our summer highlights (and we have many fantastic posts that weren’t featured, so don’t stop here!), tell us – what would you like to see more of? Is there anything we should be covering, but aren’t? Do you have any other comments or questions for us? And don’t forget, if you’re interested in writing for Hack Library School as a guest author or regular contributor, see What’s in a HackLibSchool post?

Hack Your Program: University of Alabama SLIS

24/05/2011 § 25 Comments

UA School of Library and Information Studies – Tuscaloosa, AL

(Pictured above: Gorgas Library – UA SLIS is located on the 5th floor)

Disclaimer: I attended the on-campus UA SLIS program from January 2009-May 2011 as a full time student. These opinions are mine, with the exception of anonymous sentiments from fellow students that I have gleaned over time. Any criticism I offer is meant to be constructive – I have LOVED my time at UA SLIS, and truly adore my professors and fellow students. As every student views the program differently, I encourage any UA SLISers out there who agree or disagree with my viewpoints to add to the discussion in the comments.

UA SLIS offers the MLIS degree, MFA in Book Arts, and a PhD in Communication and Information Sciences. The MLIS has 3 forms: on-campus, online cohort, and regional cohort (satellite campus + online and Tuscaloosa classes). The online cohort requires a separate application and completely different timeline, and accepts a set number of people each year (typically people working full time, who take 2 classes a semester for 6 semesters).

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So You Want to Be a Special Librarian?

11/03/2011 § 20 Comments

When you started library school, did you know exactly what kind of librarian you wanted to be? Or — did you have a general idea, but you were open to other possibilities?

That’s where I was when I started at SLIS. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a librarian, but I also figured out pretty quickly that the traditional library job market is more competitive than ever before.  I began to lean toward academic librarianship, specifically reference work, and as an English major I assumed my subject specialties would be in the humanities.

However, a combination of library school experiences in my second year – a great Special Libraries professor and mentor, student jobs and internships, and an amazing Science Reference class – have convinced me that not only are my reference skills transferable to many other jobs, but that a variety of subjects and nontraditional jobs can hold my interest. I currently have a paid internship in an academic military library, something I didn’t even know was possible when I started library school.

If you’re not really sure what special libraries are, here is a good starter definition – they are essentially libraries or information centers within corporations, private businesses, government agencies, museums, colleges, hospitals, associations and information management consulting firms (and any other institution you can think of – I have a friend who interned at a paranormal library!).

I can’t sum up an entire course worth of information on special librarianship for you, but I did want to let you know that amazing jobs in nontraditional library settings are out there, and give you a broad overview of my favorite resources.

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The Road to ALA ’11: LIS Student Tips and Tricks

09/02/2011 § 26 Comments

{This post is largely derived from these posts on my blog — for more detail on my ALA ’10 experiences, check them out!}

Last year, I attended my first ALA conference as a library school student, and it was an eye-opening experience. Of all the local and national librarian conferences I’ve been to, it is by far the biggest and most overwhelming. Here are some of my tips for staying on a library school student budget, networking, and more:

  • Seek funding to offset your expenses. ALA’s Student to Staff program has already picked its members, but ask around at your library school for other opportunities. Are there any scholarships or grants for travel at your school? Do you know anyone you can split a hotel room with (if not, ask librarians on Twitter)?

Click through for more!!

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