In two short days, I will begin graduate classes anew. This is my fourth semester and the start of the 2nd year of my MLIS program. I’m anticipating graduation this December (it’s amazing how quickly “this December” went from being at hand to in the future). In the meantime, I’m excited about the development I see in my personal life, career, and academic studies. Some days I’m literally bouncing off the wall from excitement.
This semester I will be taking Preservation, as well as Digital Libraries. I anticipate learning a lot about physical collections upkeep and curation, as well as that of electronic resources and utilizing the web as a source for learning and optimizing access. I will be involved with my university’s library and information science graduate organization, as I was last year, serving as Public Relations Officer and Webmaster. Through this venture, I have met some great people (ahem, networking) and had some great experiences. Looking forward to doing it again. I am also planning to volunteer a few days a week at the community archives and special collections division of the city’s main public library. I want to keep my archival skills sharp as I work with collections, while learning more about outreach and planning in relation to archival collections. I met with the volunteer coordinator a few days ago and we discussed my goals and what I hope to gain from the experience. Looking forward, I am psyched, to say the least.
One of the discoveries I have made recently is that I rather love the academic library environment. I know I said that about archives and about research libraries and special collections (and I do love them all), but I had not seriously considered academic librarianship before this year. I mean, last year. That’s one perk of my present job: I am being exposed to a new library environment and gaining skills that will allow me to be a more marketable employee. Because of my new-found interest, I’m using this time to reach out to some academic librarians in my subject area of interest (history/social sciences/humanities) and conduct informational interviews, both in DC and in other states. I have already connected with a few individuals who work as liason and subject specialist librarians. I’m looking forward to hearing their insight in the upcoming weeks.
On the work side of things, we are preparing for the return of students and faculty to campus. Classes begin on Monday and as if in anticipation, activity at the library has picked up, as people return from holiday break. I mentioned in my last post about gaining experience in hiring. Over the past month, I had the opportunity to screen applications for a part-time student position, conduct multiple interviews, and extend offers of employment to some impressive young people. Starting this week, I have been engaged in training part-time employees, and it will continue through the next few weeks. Other tasks include screening applications for a full-time position in my department, assisting new faculty in getting their accounts set up, and problem solving with patron accounts. Of course, checking in and out books, assisting with consortium and interlibrary loans, and other access services tasks have been completed as usual. I’ve even shelved a few carts of books here and there. 🙂 In examining application packets, I am again reminded of the importance of presenting oneself competently and professionally. Being on the other side of the application process, let me just say, cover letters are soo important. It is the hiring committee’s first introduction to your voice. Always endeavor to make it a good introduction.
On a personal note, I’ve started dabbling in dance. Ever since I was a wee young thing, I have enjoyed creative expression and movement. During undergrad, I took the opportunity to indulge in “fun” classes, such as music, voice, and a little ballet. It’s been a while, so I decided to go back to having fun. After all, life is short, right? Currently, I am studying Modern Dance. I make no promises to be a great dancer, but it’s just a part of me loving my body and staying healthy, in an enjoyable fashion.
So that is a quick look at my upcoming semester. What professional and academic goals do you have for yourself? What steps can you take to achieve them this year? Go forth and do.
Happy New Year’s to All!