School this past semester wasn’t too bad, actually. As usual, I only took one class (financial and dayjob reasons), and for fall semester I took Reference and Information Services. This is the class that teaches librarians how to be reference librarians. There were readings in the text book each week, of course, and some assignments. There were search assignments, which called for us students to search out specific topics in different sorts of reference materials, including biographical sources, encyclopedias, medical journals, and so on. Exciting stuff!
There were also discussion posts each week that had us examine some deeper aspect of reference librarianship: the ethics of librarianship, for example, or the dangers of censorship, or the problem of the digital divide (a topic I am growing more and more interested in).
And for the Big Project, we had to do something… well, big. Some students took on the task of developing reference services for incarcerated persons, some did videos about some aspect of the field, and some did research guides for a specific topic. I chose to do a research guide for parents of children with asthma (you can see the final result here). It’s not that exciting, but I got 29/30 on it (one point deducted because I did not put my name on it). If I’d had more time, I would have created an actual LibGuide for the topic. Unfortunately, I misread the due date of the project; I had thought it was due on December 7, but it was actually due November 7. I did that research guide in two weeks, so I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, and pleased with the grade I got.
All in all, library school is going really well. I feel… competent. Do you know how good a feeling that is? Feeling that you can master the material, and work well with instructors and other students to present a product that is well-written, well-organized, and well put together? Yeah, it’s a pretty good feeling.
However, it’s going to get tougher as it goes on. There will be internships to consider. Resumes to put together. Side projects. A big honkin’ spreadsheet with all my school accomplishments and evidences of competencies understood. And then, of course, there will come the process of actually finding a job in the library field. For now, that seems like it’s very far away. But the day is coming, and it’s looming ahead of me. There are plenty of different types of jobs that people with MLIS degrees can get besides just being reference librarians in public libraries. There are academic librarian jobs, special libraries (law, medicine, business, and so forth), not to mention technical jobs. I’m a wee bit petrified by all this; I’m going to graduate closer to retirement age than not, and that may impact my job hunt. Like it or not, ageism is a thing, even in this progressive field.
But still… I’m definitely looking forward to learning more, and to facing the challenges up ahead.