“Why are you going to a library school? What do you study, the Dewey Decimal System?” That is usually the first reaction I get when people find out what I am studying. The second reaction is usually “Aren’t you afraid that Google is replacing you?”
Honestly, during the graduate school application process, I was not sure what to expect in my classes in the School of Information Sciences. Because of my previous work experience in libraries, I knew that focus was placed on more than just the Dewey Decimal System, but none of my colleagues ever told me what to expect. My first semester of classes changed the ideas I had about what the SIS program. The first semester was a bit overwhelming with so many new concepts and ideas being given to us all at once. The professors and my classmates were wonderful. At some point in the semester I realized I have made the right choice – I was in the right place.
Progressing through the coursework has emphasized to me how much I still have to learn. My practicum has also proved to me that much remains to be learned on the job. I firmly believe that education and learning are lifelong efforts and that I should continue to learn long after graduation. Coming into the program, I had no ideas about theories, research methods, management principles, or anything other than the very basics of the workings of libraries. My previous experience was limited primarily to shelving and searching Sirsi, the online catalog at the public library. In fact, most of my knowledge of library and information science was grounded in Dewey Decimal Classification system. As I look back at my learning, I have acquired knowledge of theories including, but not limited to Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Librarianship, Kuhlthau’s ISP model, Belkin’s anomalous state of knowledge, and concepts such as the digital divide and ways to bridge the gap between the have and have nots. I have learned how to enrich the lives of teens through providing relevant programming and resources so that they develop a bond with the library and its staff and create a sense of community. I have discovered areas of management that can be applied in everyday use, even in a non-managerial capacity such as navigating the daily politics of the workplace. In addition, I have achieved competency in varied areas of the information sciences field including those demonstrated in the five comptency areas I included in this ePortfolio. Finally, I believe that the knowledge that I have gained through my course of study has provided me with the background I need to pursue my practical experience in the information profession.
Since I started my study in the SIS Masters’ program, I have become a student member of both the Mississippi Library Association (MLA) and the American Library Association (ALA). I am also a member of the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of ALA. In the 2013 spring semester, I was hired by the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library (CLPL) in Columbus, Mississippi, to work in a circulation capacity. I am currently completing my practicum at CLPL. I attended the Mississippi Library Commission’s annual general conference in Biloxi, Mississippi. In addition, I have attended several library webinars on based on library services, some of which included upcoming young adult book releases in February, 2014, how to assist patrons with Affordable Healthcare Act insurance in October 2013, and a few teen programming webinars in November, 2013.