Throughout the process and progress of my Masters in Library and Information Science at SJSU I have learned about so many varieties of information professionals and information organizations. I have expanded my skill sets exponentially and have a deeper understanding of modern librarianship. I think that the ischool’s virtual program is ideal for learning librarianship in this digital era as our world becomes increasingly interconnected via digital means and our users frequently turn to virtual means to seek information and assistance. I entered the MLIS program in the fall of 2014 with a vague understanding of everything that librarianship entailed. I focused my coursework in areas of interests, in courses to expand my digital skill sets, and in coursework that would fill my gaps in knowledge. Exploring the many facets of librarianship has been fascinating and has ignited my passion for working in this exciting field. Wearing the many hats of an academic librarian may seem exhausting to some, but I welcome the opportunity to have a career that has so many different aspects. It is a demanding field and I look forward to what careers may be in my future.
I have enjoyed collaborating with groups virtual and would have never thought it would be so rewarding. I have learned so many new technologies and techniques related to librarianship. I have enjoyed the peer reviews and the discussion posts in the coursework they have really given me a better sense of how many types of libraries operate and address user’s needs. Hearing classmate’s perspectives on topic expand and challenge your own viewpoints. My classmates have been invaluable assisting to accumulating myself to technologies used in the course and to returning to graduate school after a long hesitates. I have had some challenging professors and some extremely rewarding feedback that assisted me in my growth as a student. The knowledge I have gained during my graduate coursework will be invaluable to my future success. I have progressed so far from the stumbling returning student to the confident and capable graduate student. I have seen my abilities develop greatly during my time as SJSU and I am grateful that I was able to have the opportunity to attend this program.
Discussion of strengths
This program has made me realize new strengths that I did not know I had previously. knew that I had a strength in instructing others and organization from my previous experiences as an educator, but I did not realize that I had other strengths applicable to the field. Having never participated in organizational analysis or strategic planning I did not know that I would enjoy it so much or that I would have a knack for planning and analysis. This program also highlighted my customer service driven approaches to the information profession and my creative problem-solving abilities.
Creative problem-solving is vital to help libraries stay relevant in this fast-paced and ever changing digital society. In this digital age and smaller budget means that information professionals are taking on more tasks within information organizations. Information professionals are often many different things at once such as instructors, liaisons, managers, copyright experts, and reference personnel. Having the knowledge and training to take on multiple jobs within a library can be useful even in the best of times it allows for flexibility to assist your information organized in various department and can make you a valued employee with many capabilities. Information professionals need to be able to create solutions to new problems that are created as technology expands being able to invent solutions and create new services will help to keep libraries relevant in the digital age. Envisioning libraries as not just information storage, but also for information creation will expand our services into the future.
Customer services has always been extremely important to me besides truly loving my field and passionately loving finding information. I have always believed that libraries need to be customer service focused. A patron first approach that seeks to put the needs of our users in an attentive and friendly manner. Being friendly and coming up with a multitude of ways to address a user’s needs can go a long way to creating a service orientated environment. Going beyond their expectation to try to connect a user to the information they need. Information professionals need to demonstrate to users their value by giving them what Google cannot in the sense of service and instruction. Good listening skills and asking clarifying questions to determine what resources a user needs to answer their needs. Asking for feedback and following up to be sure that you were able to meet their needs is invaluable. Information professionals that are always ready to help and treat our patrons with kindness keep users returning to libraries for their information needs. We need excellent people skills to draw users in and elicit recommendations of our services to other potential users.
Planning and analysis, I had never really considered my ability to plan and evaluate as a strength. I have always been a list maker and a planner of events for my family, but I never consider these in strengths as having professional applications. I have created lesson plans and curriculum during my time as a teacher. I just didn’t realize that I would be good at organizational planning and analysis. I truly enjoyed strategic planning creating SMART goals and metrics for evaluations was deeply interesting to me. When we were developing goals and evaluation in our course I noticed in the discussion posts the compliments and requests for advice that I received from my classmates. Planning collection development to determining the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and threats of an organization came very naturally to me. I enjoyed analysis information to determine the gaps in services and areas of weakness in a collection. I hope to be able to apply these skills in my future employment because I think they are invaluable skills to improving information organizations ability to meet their patron’s needs.
Plans for professional growth
I plan to participate in internships to further expand my abilities in virtual and in-person reference skills. I also plan to continue to seek out professional development courses through my current employment to enhance my skills in librarianship. I plan to teach instructional courses in information literacy. I plan to continuously seek out opportunities for growth and to continue to enhance my professional skills. I also plan to further my education in this field by pursuing my doctor in Library and Information Science. I plan to work in an academic library environment and continue to promote library services to the community. I plan to develop professional development course on serving individuals with disabilities in the library. I will continue to seek out mentors in the field to help me develop my skills in librarianship. I think it is vital to continue exploring and studying new ways to improve library services and to continue being part of the conversation about cultural and technological changes. I will continue to seek out ways to improve services and access for all our users. I envision assisting in increasing the use of open education resources to lower the costs of textbooks for students and to expand our collections. I also plan to work towards libraries creating their own unique collections that will offer their students information or collections that are not accessible from competing sources of information. I also hope to work on digital humanities projects that will help to expand the field of humanities into the digital era. I seek to keep the humanities relevant while promoting STEAM initiatives.