Student Snippets


Librarian Advice

Spring break has come and gone (while we're still waiting for actual spring to arrive) which means we're entering the second half of the semester. It's amazing to me how different this semester has been from my last. In the fall I had the same number of classes and the same number of credits, but 20 hours a week was barely enough time to complete all the assignments and I struggled to keep up with the reading (I was also doing my 60-hour archives internship). This semester, 20 hours a week feels fairly sufficient, and my current two classes require lighter reading and fewer written assignments.

Last Saturday we had one of our Day-in-the-Life lunchtime programs that could have been called "Personalized Advice from a Career Librarian." It was awesome. These lunchtime events are one of the best things about SLIS West. There's free food and the opportunity to mingle with classmates and librarians from around the area. Saturday's speaker was Barbara Friedman, current part-time director of Erving Library with nearly fifty years of library experience. We had a small group sitting around the table in the SLIS West office, so Ms. Friedman allowed each of us to tell her a little bit about ourselves, to which she then responded with some career/library advice. What she told me has changed my entire outlook.

I've always felt that my situation of being unemployed for the past 6 years and busy raising my young children puts me at a disadvantage in terms of getting somewhere with my degree. Most of my classmates are busy earning their library degree and accumulating real-world library experience at the same time. All of the job ads that I see require both a MLIS and a certain amount/type of professional experience. The MLIS is not a "golden ticket" all on its own (spoiler alert).

After I somewhat sheepishly admitted to Ms. Friedman the circumstances of my life that I saw as limitations, she expounded on several reasons why these are not limitations at all. She told me about some of the interesting library opportunities she found while raising her own children (like organizing the private library of a wealthy Connecticut couple!). I realized that while I may not be able to independently choose where I go or what I do, I don't have the pressure of supporting myself financially with my degree. I can work part-time or volunteer for a while and hopefully be able to gain a variety of experiences.

I am grateful to have found a program like SLIS West that fits my situation and my family's needs. I am grateful for a small program, with opportunities like personalized advice from a career librarian. I do worry about the future, and about what will happen after I graduate. But I know that I've chosen the right field and I'm prepared to enjoy whatever path it takes me down.

Events | Librarians | Real World | SLIS West