[Series] So What Do You Do? Transportation Research Center Library Internship

22/01/2013 § 4 Comments

Road surfacing

Bergkamp M1 micro surfacing paver and mobile support unit

This post is part of a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which LIS students talk about their experiences as interns. We want to showcase the wide range of things people are doing in the world of library and information science.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Paul Lai, and I am a second-year library science student with interests in scholarly communications and academic libraries. I applied for this internship at a transportation research center because I am interested in working as a librarian in a university research center or as an embedded librarian in another academic context. I have also previously interned at a small academic library doing general reference and circulation work as well as at a large public library’s preservation department helping research availability of older books and creating polyester sleeves for early twentieth-century American sheet music.

So what do you do?

I am the library intern at the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota. CTS is an active research center that manages faculty and Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) research projects. CTS publishes technical reports for this research along with other transportation-related materials for both the research and practitioner communities. I work primarily with the publications team to make materials available and findable online as well as with ready reference questions and more in-depth literature search help. The center does not have a physical library space (aside from a couple of bookcases at the end of a hallway), but it does have an extensive list of resources on its Library Services page.
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[Series] Experiencing LIS – The Internship Edition

21/03/2011 § 8 Comments

It is said over and over, across blogs, professional organizations and probably in your program: real, practical work experience is what will get you a job after school. For students what that means is that seeking out, securing and excelling in an internship is key to the library school experience. We wanted to take a brief moment to tell you all about some of our experiences in this area, and offer some tips and advice. Please do ask questions in the comments if you’d like to follow up with any of us on details about internships. If this is not already a requirement in your program, it’d be worth approaching someone about making it one.

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Don’t Like Your Curriculum? Change It!

14/03/2011 § 11 Comments

You’re scanning your program’s course schedule, and see no classes being offered in your specialization.  Or you attend a conference, and realize that there is a gaping hole in the way your school addresses this important issue in the field.  The good news: you’re an engaged learner who is conscious of the resources being put into your coursework and your degree.  The bad news: graduate schools have finite money, faculty, and flexibility for adding courses to the register.  What can you do to make sure your curriculum meets your interests and educational and professional needs? Take charge!

In 2003, the Student Diversity Action Group came to the faculty of the UCLA IS program, and submitted a proposal for two courses, one being a core course that addressed cultural diversity and activist thoughts, tools, and resources for the contemporary information professional.  The result?  An existing class was dropped from the core curriculum, and Ethics and Diversity became a graduation requirement.  As of 2009, UCLA is the only program that requires a course on diversity for information professionals*.

Looking at the motivations for this addition to the curriculum, it’s easy to see why UCLA students asked for such a course.  Serving the diverse population of Los Angeles, working with indigenous populations, and designing information access structures for communities across the world, MLIS students recognized the need to be aware of cultural and community differences in approaches to information.  The UCLA MLIS program is an incredibly diverse one itself, hosting more ALA Spectrum Scholars than any other.  IS students deserved (and demanded) that their education meet an important concern for their research, practice, and development as professionals.  If you feel your curriculum doesn’t do the same, here are some ideas to make it happen:

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