Rioter Michelle Anne Schlesinger recently wrote In Praise of Non-Degreed Librarians, a thoughtful take on why the library degree, Master’s in Library Science (MLS), isn’t a necessary requirement to being a librarian. I fully agree. Librarians can be made from on the job experience, climbing the ranks from to assistant to librarian, and in most states you don’t need a MLS to be a librarian. It’s about the passion for people and helping them find information, the customer service aspect, the love of books and reference services, organization and community involvement and interaction. In library school it’s an ongoing debate, and I look at it this way: the last time you went to the library and someone helped you out, did you ask if they had the degree?
Not everyone needs a master’s degree to be a librarian.
My library school experience has, I’m sad to say, handed me a bunch of lemons. There are the professors who aren’t as inspiring as I would prefer sorry, the journal articles that look like they weren’t proofread, the classes that are scheduled at times that are inconvenient for everyone. Including the instructor. And then there’s the fact that one of the classes I need for my specialization is offered only in the spring, and this spring it is offered at a time when I cannot take it for religious reasons probably NSFW, which is the biggest lemon of all. Meanwhile, I’m paying a not-insignificant amount for my education, so let’s talk about how to turn these lemons into lemonade.
When I applied for my MLS a few years ago, the realities of the working world had me dreaming of a retreat from the outside world in the arms of academia. I pictured days spent in stimulating classes and evenings immersed in my studies, totally plugged into the world of libraries and library science at all times. I would specialize in something fantastic, meet tons of like-minded people, and not have to report to a desk job every day. Student loan debt be damned, I wanted an escape.
Shortly after hitting “send,” life intervened. Between a 500+ mile move, a new job with just enough travel to make night classes impossible, and sheer economic reality, it quickly became apparent that escaping into classes and living off student loans for two years was just not going to happen. Two years and two deferments later, I find myself almost finished with my first semester in the University of Maryland College Park’s online MLS program.
I’m happy with my decision to switch to the online program, but I do sometimes feel that I’m missing out on the intangible benefits of face-to-face learning. My day job has NOTHING to do with libraries, so I don’t get the water cooler chitchat, the special programming posters in the hallway, the classroom tangents that have nothing to do with that day’s planned discussion but are oh-so-valuable. I get online class discussion boards, and nothing more. Not quite the immersive experience I had in mind when I sent in my application, and an easy recipe for low motivation. So to keep myself from feeling totally cut off, I’ve come up with a few strategies to get my library buzz. Read more: Staying Connected as a Distance Learner | Hack Library School.
Seven informative tips for LIS students planning to attend career fairs. Although the article is specific to the SU iSchool most of the information is general in nature. I wish my school had held one for LIS students while I was completing my MLIS.
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.
Making the decision to go back to school can be daunting, let along deciding which school is right for you. Not all library schools are created equal, and it’s important to find the best match for you. Here are a few things to take into consideration as you narrow down your choices and make your decisions.
This ebook contains some new content but mostly posts that have appeared previously on the blog. It is not necessarily a compilation of the best of Hack Library School or even indicative of the breadth of our content; instead, we have selected content based on the most practical advice we could give to others to–you guessed it–hack library school. We’ve divided the content into three main sections: Before Library School, During Library School, and After Library School. Within these sections, you will also find sub-sections intended to help organize the content meaningfully.
The Hack Library School blog is a great resource for library school students. They posts interviews with LIS professionals on employing and interviewing LIS graduates. There are also posts by guest editors. Here’s a direct link to the pdf of the free eBook.
Have you ever considered pursuing another Master’s degree while going for your MLS?…Today I want to outline some considerations for pursuing simultaneous Masters’ degrees. It may just be a good fit for you!
A sizable number of library students graduated in May or over the summer, and many of us were then faced with the prospect of finding that perfect job. Hack Library School has tackled other sides of this topic before, with Madeline’s post on the quick-turn after graduation, and Joanna’s post on eResumes, among others. I wanted to add my perspective after landing a number of all-day on-campus interviews for other jobs and collecting advice from many friends and colleagues I greatly respect. In true librarian fashion, I’ve synthesized their advice and built my own list.