Pursuing a Specialty in Library Services for Children [Starter Kit]

31/08/2012 § 4 Comments

Photo of sign that reads, "Children's Library."

Photo by Michael Sauers

As library science students begin classes again, school is also beginning for the children we serve as School Media Specialists and Children’s Librarians. In that spirit, Ashley and I co-wrote a starter kit for anyone interested in librarianship related to children. I am currently pursing my School Media Studies degree, while also teaching first grade. Ashley is a certified librarian and works as a Children’s Librarian at a public library. Below are some thoughts on our programs and experiences. Ashley is in bold.

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Tips for New Students Looking for Library School Jobs [Starter Kit]

29/08/2012 § 31 Comments

As a second-year SLIS student, I’ve talked to quite a few new students in my program who are anxious about securing library jobs. I can understand how they feel; after all, one year ago I was a freshly minted SLIS student. I had never gotten paid to work in a library. I came to library school with the sage advice of my mentor, a very recent library school grad, ringing in my ears. She had conveyed to me in no uncertain terms that I should work as much as I could while going to school to build my resume. Because of her, I came to library school knowing I needed to jump right in—-but that didn’t make the process any easier.

By now I’ve held several jobs and it has led me to realize that my real education happens when I go to work every day. I view my coursework as something to get through; if my classes are enjoyable it’s a plus. I have taken enthralling classes, practical classes, boring classes, and enragingly irrelevant classes. They’ve fallen all over the spectrum. So while I attempt to do well in them, my main priority is working as much as is feasible.  I firmly believe that library jobs should always trump coursework because if you do not work, you will not get a job in a library upon graduating. We could squabble about the particulars (maybe you could get a paraprofessional position without experience) but I don’t think it’s contestable. The library job market is intensely competitive and the more library experience you have, the better off you will be.

With that said, the following are a few tips I have for new students looking to work while in library school.

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On Being An Older Library School Student [Starter Kit]

27/08/2012 § 21 Comments

Photobucket

Photo Credit: PostGrad.com

During my first few weeks of library school I noticed that my cohort was a mix of people in their early twenties fresh out of their undergraduate degrees, and older people who were coming to librarianship as a second career. I count myself among the second group; I am thirty years old and worked for several years as a teacher before enrolling in library school. (I guess some people might take issue with me describing myself as “old,” since thirty is not exactly ancient. But librarianship is my second career and that changes things considerably.) After years of being always the one in charge, always the one responsible for lesson plans and grading and classroom management, I was looking forward to being a student again.

Yet during my first year I discovered that attending library school as an older student comes with its own unique benefits and challenges. Your knowledge and skills will shape your view of the librarianship profession, but you may relate to the world quite differently than do your younger classmates. When I compare myself as a library school student to the sort of student I was during my first graduate degree, I see how my perspective and priorities have changed. I thought I would share some of my reflections with you!

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