Back in School
Another school year has started and this time as a MLIS II, I feel myself sharing a lot of advice with the incoming first-year students. Their biggest concern seems to stem from the fact that they are feeling overwhelmed and that they do not know what level of time commitment will be expected of them for their classes and assignments. If I learned anything over the past year it is that “you get what you give”. In other words, you get out of your library school experience whatever you put into it. I would argue that it’s fairly easy to float through Library school without too much effort, but really, how boring does that sound? Many professors have told me that grades will not be important once I am looking for a full-time librarian position. What will be important will be that I can demonstrate how I spent my time in the MLIS program developing skills that are vital to working in the library field.
This year, I am the president of the McGill student chapter of the ABQLA, I have two part-time jobs in two different types of libraries (public and academic), I am planning on doing a practicum and I have submitted a proposal to conduct a 6-credit research project. I’m also planning on posting regularly on the BiblioBlond blog! There is no doubt that I will be a very busy person this year and so I might not have time to get through all of the books that I want to read or catch up to my friends who are on the third season of Mad Men. But I will be learning the whole time and hopefully getting the most possible out of my experience as a student so that I will be a well-rounded, skilled librarian once I get out into the real world.
Being a MLIS student can be whatever you make of it, so I encourage all the new MLIS students to decide early on how you want to live your experience at library school. Good luck with this new stage in your life!
Top 5 tips for incoming students:
1) Make friends with your fellow classmates!
– You will have more fun, trust me!
2) Learn how to work in groups!
– There is a lot of group work which can be challenging so brush up on your team management skills! Check out books like Group Genius by Keith Sawyer or Time management for teams by Merrill E. Douglass.
3) Remember why you wanted to be a librarian in the first place!
– It is easy to become disenchanted with classes and assignments. In order to not lose your passion, stay focused on the reason that first motivated to become a librarian.
4) Attend visits by guest speakers!
-Throughout the year there will be many opportunities to hear information professionals speak about their experiences in the field. Attend these mini-conferences, ask questions and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself afterwards- These guest speakers could become valuable contacts!
5) Get a part-time job in the field!
– If you manage your time properly, the MLIS course load allows you the option of working part-time during your studies. Use your new contacts or subscribe to a library job ListServ to find opportunities for part-time work. You will gain valuable experience and contacts in the library field and it might end up being more beneficial than what you learn in class!