Aside from the general concept of improving my knowledge and familiarity with concepts and skills important to the MLIS world, my main focus during this program has been networking. This has taken two forms: local meetups with other students and internships. The local meetups started in the INFO 203 – I wrote to everyone who had posted a near-ish location in their introductory post and asked if they wanted to meet in person. The four of us that met that day are some of my closest friends and allies that I had throughout this program. This also taught me the value of having someone in your class you could connect with in real life. For each class, I went out of my way to connect with at least one person in each of my classes that I could text or get together for a coffee. From these interactions, I have not only made friends, but found connections to new networks and groups that I would not have otherwise been familiar with.
My first internship was at a public library where I worked on projects from cataloging and 3-d printing to programming and creating websites with marketing materials. This was an invaluable experience not only for the new technological skills I gained, but also for the connections I built. Seeing how current librarians and library staff are actually spending their time on was a major learning curve (hint: lots of programming!). This library also pushed out their wearables technology collection over the summer, so I helped with the roll out. These librarians were consistently pushing to bring new technology to their patrons with great success! It was very inspiring to be a part of this process.
I finished my second internship in December 2016. This internship is at a non-profit art center, helping them with their content management system. Working with a non-profit has been a world apart from the public library experience and I am glad for the perspective. To round myself out, I found a corporate internship for the summer of 2017. These experiences have not only enriched my coursework, but have also provided me with the opportunity to learn a variety of new skills and interact with a range of people. I can’t think of a better way to prepare myself for the brave new role of helping people do things.
Post-graduation, I plan to address these challenges by continuing to learn. I already feel like the 15 classes we are required to take for this degree are not enough, so I plan to take other classes through free online courses or take advantage of professional development opportunities when available. I think mindset is also important here – if a patron comes in asking about a technology that I am not familiar with, it is crucial to respond with a willingness to learn. Sometimes I think the program has gone too fast, and other times I dream about all the free time I used to have before I went back to school. I am glad I started the program and I am even more excitedto graduate and start on my next step.
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