Working, Volunteering, or Interning Before Library School

23/09/2013 § 6 Comments

If you’re considering library school, if you’ve been accepted, and especially if you’re already there, I would strongly recommend getting hands-on experience as soon as possible. An internship or even just a bit of volunteering will help you to build a foundation of knowledge and skills as you pursue your degree. Other hackers have written on finding opportunities and making the most of them, but I’d like to address some key benefits of getting pre-library school experience in the first place:

Identifying Interests and Goals

Before starting library school I had never been paid to work in a library. However, I had spent considerable time interning and volunteering in them and had been an enthusiastic patron for as long as I could remember. During college, I spent two summers in a small academic library and one semester in my college archives, building an understanding of various kinds of library work. In addition to providing me with a basic ’how things work’ familiarity with many areas of academic libraries, my internships helped me to identify some of my interests and strengths, and to identify areas of librarianship I wanted to explore further. For example, after spending a lot of time by myself with boxes and files of papers in one internship, I decided that it would be important for me to pursue positions with more collaboration and patron interaction in the future. Figuring out what you don’t enjoy can be just as useful as discovering what you do.

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[Series] So What Do You Do? Historical Collection Evaluation

24/01/2013 § 6 Comments

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.

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Books patiently awaiting evaluation.

I’m Madeleine Mitchell, and I’m lucky enough to be contributing to HLS during my last semester in library school. I’m earning my MLIS at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science, a program that’s conducted entirely online. While my experience with the online format has been quite good, I would say that the hands-on nature of my internships has been crucial to my professional preparation and training. I earned my BA in English Literature and an MA in Comparative Literature, so librarianship felt like a pretty natural step to me, and I’m also a writer – mostly short stories, but occasional articles make it past the gates, as do various blog posts and book reviews.

So what do you do?

I’ve done two internships during my time at SLIS, but the one I’m going to focus for this post was at San Jose State University Library in the Educational Resource Department. This internship ended in December but I’ll be continuing on with the project as a volunteer, which is why a lot of this is written in the present tense. The ERC department is meant to contain K -12 curricular materials and California’s state approved textbooks, but due to budget cuts, it’s grown to unofficially include the King Library’s large collection of historical textbooks, and even larger collection of historical children’s materials. These collections have been collecting dust, (literally), for years, mostly because the job of evaluating and re-cataloguing them is huge. Undaunted, my supervisor stepped up to the challenge and put out a call for interns, which is where I come in.

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[Series] So What Do You Do? Interning for Government Website Usability

28/12/2012 § 7 Comments

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 Steve Ammidown, and I’m a student in the Archives, Records and Information Management specialization at the University of Maryland’s iSchool.  My undergraduate background is in sociology and gender studies; prior to that I spent nine years working in the corporate sector as a paralegal and office administrator.

So what do you do?

I’m just finishing up as a Usability and User Experience intern at the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (and people wonder why acronyms are so popular in the federal government?) here in Washington, D.C.

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[Series] So What Do You Do? My Internship Experience at NCAR

10/12/2012 § 2 Comments

National Center for Atmospheric Research

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, set against the Flatirons

This is the inaugural post in a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which we will talk about our experiences in internships. We wanted 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 Chris Eaker, and I’m a second year student in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I’m specializing in scientific data curation and data management. I have a background in civil engineering, a career I held for nine years before going back to school.

So what do you do?

As part of my graduate research assistantship in the Data Curation Education in Research Centers project, I spent the summer of 2012 in Boulder, Colorado, working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The goal of the project is to educate information science professionals in the field of data curation by putting them alongside active researchers.
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MLIS beyond borders

10/08/2012 § 25 Comments

“reads by the sea” By Joseph Robertson – CC – via Flickr

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Sarah McClung.

When most people hear the term “study abroad,” they think of a semester or even a year overseas their junior year of college. Outside of spending your whole masters program at an international university, most people don’t think of study abroad in graduate school, let alone study abroad for an MLS or MIS. Imagine the surprise then when I tell others that my very first information sciences class was in Prague. Yes, the capital of the Czech Republic.

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