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Advice for those pursuing an MLS

June 14, 2011

I haven’t posted in a while, despite the fact that David Lee King and other successful librarian bloggers stress the importance of regular blogging. But, hey, I was busy graduating and getting a job.

Being so new to the profession, I’m going to save my words of wisdom until I have a solid context to back them up with.  But I will say a few words to those pursuing their MLS degree.

1) Learn to love technology.  If you already do–then, great! Try to learn more, and make a big deal about what you do know and love in and outside of school. If there is something you haven’t tried (and/or don’t “get), don’t hate… experiment! Not all of what I experimented with did I adopt (I currently prefer physical books, for example), but I learned a lot and developed some new interests (Ebert on Twitter).  And let me tell you this: to romanticize quiet libraries packed with old books is mostly dangerous… if you are going to library school because you want to be in a place filled with books, you might be pursuing the wrong profession!  Archivists excluded. 

2) Make friends! Join clubs and professional organizations! This is true for any stage in your education and life.  Sharing experiences, fears, and ideas outside of school can make you smarter, healthier, and happier… and better connected!

3) Get involved in a practicum and/or internship.  This is especially important if you do not already work in a library (though I recommend the experience even for those currently in a library–variety will give you some edge).

4) Be something other than a “librarian”.  This won’t be hard for a good lot of you–many of the librarians I went to school with were making a career change.  If this is you, think about how you can use your first career to market yourself.  If this is a first career, think about what you are good at and what you like doing. Take a class, volunteer, or do something that will develop this “something” else.  Then you are a Librarian+.  “+” what? I don’t know.  Fund-raising, writing, programming, singing, practicing law, teaching, Photoshopping..

5) Get used to it (learning, that is).  This field requires some serious continual education.  Read blogs! Write blogs! Take classes! Attend workshops! Go to conferences! That is it.  I will say, there are a lot of people pursuing this degree right now, and there are less jobs than expected.  It is tough… so learn not only to get a job, but to increase the value and awareness of the profession so that you may have more opportunities, and so that you can make an impact on the future of libraries.

a kid doesn't recognize a traditional library

what's a library?

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