Reinventing the MLS

On LinkedIn there is an ongoing discussion that revolves around reinventing library education. The specific question is:

“If you could reinvent library education how would you start?” 

I have been following the discussion and considered posting a reply directly to LinkedIn, but remembered that I had yet to write a blog post this month and thought this might be a good topic to cover.

Awhile back I wrote about how we can attract more LIS graduates to the dark side of medical librarianship and I more recently wrote an update about my library school experience in which I said:

In order to stay relevant in today’s tumultuous world of library and information science, they need to start offering an MLIS, as well as concentrations that integrate informatics and computer science into the MLS curriculum track (perhaps offering a Systems Analysis and Design track, a Knowledge Management concentration, or even a Digital Information Certificate).

Now, this was about my own graduate program at Emporia State University, but I do think it is relevant to many of the graduate LIS programs in the United States (I will be honest and admit my ignorance regarding international LIS programs). Many of the graduate programs I have looked at tend to have a very overarching approach to teaching information science. You learn about the foundations of library science, information transfer and all those delicious information science tidbits that come with the degree. Most of these programs offer basic concentrations, but I have found–albeit my experience is limited–that these concentrations are often too broad to provide in-depth training. The difference between the “Leadership and Administration” concentration and the basic library MLS curriculum is 9 hours (3 courses). In fact, at Emporia, the difference between all of the concentrations and the standard curriculum is 9 hours (3-4 courses). I don’t know about most of you, but to me that seems like a fairly shallow difference between a general degree and a concentration. I know most Master’s degree programs average between 2-2.5 years, but perhaps vamping up the curriculum to 2.5-3 years would be beneficial to LIS graduates. If you look at the first 1.5-2 years as the foundation years, you are then giving students the opportunity to really invest themselves in a concentration over the next 1-1.5 years.

In order to garner interest in the concentrations, they should be focused on specific areas of librarianship or on building technical skills. Web authoring, database design, information literacy education, and data management are all areas that librarians could excel. While there are many areas where LIS education could be reinvented, concentrations (and specializations) would be the beginning of the reinvention of LIS curricula (1).

Other ways we should consider reinventing LIS education:

2. More stringent admissions requirements. 

One suggestion was a “5 year moratorium on Library School matriculation,” and while many librarians would probably jump for joy at having less competition for positions, I think that this would be a terrible idea. Turning people away from a career just to make it easier on those who have already graduated is not fair in the slightest. What is fair, is to produce the best possible candidates for the positions that are available in order to strengthen our profession across the board.

Instead of a moratorium, library school programs should consider:

  • requiring at least 2-3 years of library experience prior to acceptance to a program
  • letter(s) of reference from an LIS professional
  • GRE score of (the school would decide)
  • either a written essay and/or;
  • face-to-face interview with the candidate

Library experience should be a top priority for acceptance into a graduate program. I’m not saying that the candidate should have a full-time (or even a part-time) job at a library, but volunteer experience at least shows interest in library science and provides an applicant with some basic knowledge before applying. This would weed out those people who are just “going back to school to get an ‘easy’ masters for career advancement.”

3. Greater emphasis on field-work and internship opportunities.

This really depends on the library experience of each LIS graduate. If a library manager is pursuing a MLS degree, they probably don’t need a summer internship at the circulation desk. If, however, a graduate is only coming into a degree program with 2 years of volunteer experience or a library page is accepted, an internship (or practicum) program should be a requirement in order to graduate. Now I know this is difficult. While librarians are constantly championing collaboration, it’s incredibly difficult to find libraries willing to take on a practicum student or a summer library intern. This has got to stop! If we want competent–and confident–individuals graduating from our programs we need to provide them with the experiences they need to make professional decisions.

Library programs should look at medical schools for inspiration. In the 3rd year of medical school, students rotate through multiple “core clerkships.” Library programs could consider placing students on rotations in a similar fashion. Consider the following:

Suzie Librarian has completed her first year of library school. She has a fairly solid LIS foundation, 1 year of library page experience and 1 year of volunteering as a library “teen wrangler.” Her LIS program wants to help her make an informed decision about the type of librarianship Suzie may be interested in, so they send her through 2 months of professional development training at multiple libraries. During this part of her schooling, Suzie will get to experience a (1) week in an academic library, a (1) week in a public library (either rural or urban), 2-3 weeks in a special libraries (location dependent), and 1 week in an archival setting. If Suzie is interested in school librarianship, she can add an extra week of shadowing a K-12 librarian.

This may not be done in two consecutive months, but shadowing for a few days throughout the program would definitely be beneficial to library school students.

As someone who has already graduated from library school, I wish this had been something offered to me. Even though I knew going in that I wanted to do something in the medical sciences, it would have been an invaluable experience to learn about other librarianship opportunities.

4. More intense focus on research methods and statistical analysis.

Everyone that graduates from library school should be able to not only provide assistance to researchers, but to also conduct their own academic research. In order to further the field of library and information science, we need to produce graduates who are interested in contributing to our field of study. Doctoral research isn’t for everyone, but those with MLS degrees can still provide valuable insight into information science theories, user services, and pretty much any aspect of modern librarianship.

To add to this, librarians should be graduating with a basic understanding of statistics and a rudimentary understanding of how this applies to research methodology. This may not be as relevant to public librarians, but it should be incredibly important! Their understanding of how to produce actionable research could possibly be tied to funding for their library, and could save them from having to shutter their doors/windows in the future. The designing and assessment of patron surveys could prove to be an incredibly valuable skill, and this skill should be taught in library school.

5. Increasing alumni participation in graduate courses

When you’re in library school, you can develop a sort of tunnel vision regarding employment after graduating with your MLS. Bringing alumni in to lecture, present, or even just network with current students can be invaluable to the success of the student following graduation. After I received my MLS, I continued to work in a medical library until a better offer presented itself. In library school, any one trying to change my mind about medical librarianship would have been hard-pressed to do so. This was because my mindset was, “If I get my MLS I have to work in a library…” While I understand this is the goal for many people, it can be difficult for those with just the MLS and limited/no library experience to find jobs after graduating. I now know MLS grads that work within academia as instructional designers or technologists, or in non-profit organizations, consulting firms, web development companies, research facilities, and even marketing for corporations. In all these instances, they graduated from library school expecting to work in a library. What happened, however, was that they realized the skills they had learned in their graduate program prepared them for numerous positions outside of the library environment. Bringing in a diverse group of MLS alumni would serve to help students see that there are many different avenues to employment.

While I would love to see library programs adopt these initiatives, I understand that higher education–and this includes graduate library programs– still need to make money. By accepting fewer applicants to programs and increasing the number of faculty, schools stand to cut profits or they might just increase tuition to offset this loss. This is obviously not what they, nor future applicants, want to happen. If even one of these initiatives could be implemented across the board, I really think that MLS programs could help prepare the future workforce and increase the number of competent LIS graduates.

I do look forward to the future of LIS education, but I also hope that changes are made in the present that propel libraries and the study of information science,  into a more stable future.

Program Positives

After reading through my last post, I realized that it could be seen as a rather negative review of Emporia State’s Library Science Program. I wanted to write another post that highlighted some of the positives of my graduate program as well.

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A bulleted list of things Emporia does really well for those who don’t like to read long blog posts:

  1. Networking Opportunities
  2. Asynchronous Learning
  3. Cohort Bonding Experience 
  4. Basis in Theory

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1. Networking Opportunities

Emporia employs faculty from around the globe, which means that the opportunities for networking are fantastically varied. During my time in the program they had professors from Finland, Florida, Texas, India and Indiana. They also had adjunct professors from a variety of backgrounds (Health Information Management, Law, Informatics, etc…) that supplemented the learning experiences of students throughout the SLIM program. I was really impressed by the wide variety of faculty teaching at Emporia, and they made sure to let students know when positions became available at institutions were they had connections.

2. Asynchronous Learning

Most of the faculty at Emporia were well-versed in using the LMS to facilitate asynchronous learning. There were a few who had migrated directly from face-to-face instruction that had some difficulty, but overall they provided resources that allowed students (especially those that like to work ahead) with the ability to set a comfortable pace throughout the program. There were only a few times that I felt like I was behind in the program and it was mostly due to waiting on group members or waiting on the professor to provide further instructions.

3. Cohort Bonding Experience

After talking with friends who were in other LIS programs, I definitely think that Emporia provides a support network better than almost any of the other graduate programs. The program provided plenty of opportunities to get to know your fellow grad students and even though I began to loathe the “Introduce Yourself Hour,” it helped me remember all of the students in my class and ultimately I appreciated the fact that this was a requirement. I definitely came away from the experience with AWESOME friendships, and I miss seeing some of my classmates!

4. Basis in Theory

Emporia’s curriculum is heavy on theory which, while it can be a bit dry, is helpful to those thinking of pursuing a PhD or teaching. Each course had a section devoted to the theory behind the particular course and every professor was comfortable discussing the theory (or theories) behind a particular topic. The focus on theory really provided a strong foundation for ESU-SLIM graduates and the theories played a major role in the completion of our ePortfolios.

Library School: A Look Back, Or Why You Should Do A Lot of Research on the MLS Program You Are Interested In

I started my MLS program at Emporia State University in January of 2013. I had just moved to a new State, started a new job, and ended a ten (10) year relationship. It was a time of extraordinary change for me and I was tentatively excited for what was to come.

One of the reasons I was originally interested in the program was due in part to the fact that they had electives that aligned with my interest in health science/medical librarianship. Even though it was part of Emporia’s nursing program, the courses were as close to medical librarianship as one could get (at least in the Midwest). It wasn’t until after I had been accepted to the program that I found out you had to physically be on the Emporia campus to take the courses. I had been lead to believe that the courses could be integrated into the hybrid face-to-face/online format the program had instituted, which was one of the main reasons I chose Emporia over The University of Missouri-Columbia. This left a bad taste in my mouth, but I was excited to start my program and as I progressed through the curriculum, I focused most of my research on aspects of librarianship that affected medical libraries.

The MLS program at Emporia follows a pretty standard format. The first two semesters are devoted to “Core Courses” and as you move further into the program, you are allowed more freedom when it comes to taking electives. In the first semester you are required to take Foundations of Library and Information Science and Information Seeking Behavior and User-centered Services and you have the option of taking Technology Skills for Graduate Students. I opted out of the technology skills class, and found the Foundations course to be very dry. Some of the history majors in my cohort said that they enjoyed the course, but overall I did not feel that the course was very challenging or interesting. While I understood the reasoning behind the course, studying the ALA Code of Ethics and learning about the history of libraries was not really my “cup of tea.”

Group Projects

It was also in this course that I had my first graduate school group experience and let me just say this…it was very unsatisfactory. My group mates did very little work and did not understand how to collaborate online. Further, one seemed to have a very difficult time coming to terms with the workload of a graduate program, and the other went on vacation halfway through the project without letting anyone know. In fact, we showed up at class to present and she wasn’t there. When we told our professor she said, “Oh, she didn’t tell you?” No…she didn’t tell us, but thanks. Needless to say, the experience was painful and I prayed I would never have assigned groups again.

In case you don’t want to read about my full experience…

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TL;DR

1. When considering a MLS program, make sure you really do some thorough research into the programs you are interested in. Email faculty, talk to recent graduates and don’t take the program directors word as law (i.e., make sure a course that they say is online is actually online and does not require you to be at a particular campus).

2. Do some general research into what type of librarianship you may be interested in and use the ALA’s Directory of ALA-Accredited Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies to help inform your decision.

3. Once you have been accepted to your program, don’t be afraid to speak up when you find the experience less than satisfactory! During my program, I emailed the director of our program to let her know that I was disappointed by the decision to dismiss one of our professors, and I also made full use of the professor/course evaluations at the end of each semester. Make sure that you help shape the future of MLS/MLIS programs by voicing your informed opinion!

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The second (2) course, Information Seeking Behavior and User-centered Services was team-taught by two very different professors. One had a very laissez-faire attitude about the course and interlaced a lot of personal experiences into her lectures. I really enjoyed when she taught and looked forward to class when she was the main presenter. The second professor was incredibly dry and I found it difficult to pay attention when she was lecturing. However, when the course was split into two groups, I was in the group with the second professor and was pretty bummed out for the rest of the course. Overall, the course was actually interesting and I still utilize a lot of what I learned in the course when helping students/faculty.

Semester two (2) was also dedicated to core classes: Organization of Information and Research in Library and Information Science. This was by far my least favorite semester in the program. While the Organization of Information course had interesting content, the professor was the same dry professor from my previous semester and lectures were painful. Thankfully I had an amazing group for the group project and we ended up creating a Prezi about organizing shoes. This was also the first semester we were really introduced to literature reviews, and even though I had done a few in my undergraduate work, they were never as in-depth as the first two reviews we were assigned in grad school. I chose to continue my research into health science librarianship by focusing my literature review on Medical Information Retrieval SystemsEven though the review was drawn out over multiple weeks, I thoroughly enjoyed the research experience and was proud of the finished product.

Organize Something Presentation

At the same time we were completing the review for Organization of Information, we were also assigned a literature review in Research in Library and Information Science, except this was a group review. My group was amazing, and I had the best partners in crime a library student could ask for, and we worked really well together. Even though collaborative literature reviews are horrible, we were able to pull together a great review by the end of the assignment. Originally, I was excited to take a research methods course and was hoping that we would allowed to really dive into data-driven library research. Unfortunately, our professor was less than satisfactory and we ended up learning very little about utilizing data in libraries. I supplemented the course with Research Methods: The Key Concepts and Knowledge into Action: Research and Evaluation in Library and Information Science, even though I had taken plenty of research courses during my undergraduate education. Overall the second semester was rough, but I did complete several usable work products that added depth to my portfolio.

By the third (3) semester Emporia allows you to start taking some electives.I opted to “start getting technical” and took Introduction to Metadata and Advanced Metadata Applications. Both courses were beautifully taught and I learned so many things that I have been able to apply to my jobs. The courses were both very intense and you had very little “goof off” time. I was able to work with the same individuals I had been paired with for the collaborative literature review and we aced the final project by creating BGMAP (Board Game Metadata Application Profile). If you plan on taking a metadata course, I highly suggest purchasing the book for the class and bookmarking the schemas the class is covering. I also took Collection Development and Management, with a great professor who was originally from Florida State University. During the course she allowed us to participate in a poster presentation (a sort of mini-conference) and incredibly I was assigned medical libraries as the topic of my research!

BGMAP Landing Page Markup

The fourth (4) semester is similar to the third (3) in that you can take an elective paired with a core or two electives. You still have to complete Leadership and Administration of Information Organizations, but there is some leeway on the order in which you take the rest of your courses. I decided to take the Leadership course (to get it out of the way) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though I have never desired to be in a management position (Guru track anyone?), our professor was incredibly engaging and provided us with a lot of context for why managerial roles are so vital in organizations. Unfortunately it was this particular professors last course before he was stupidly (yes I said it) dismissed from Emporia State University. This particular management course had us create a strategic plan for a library, which is apparently something LIS graduates are normally not well-versed in doing. The second course I was enrolled in during this semester was Introduction to Informatics, which–while interesting–also provided an absolutely terrible group project experience.

My last two semesters were by far my favorite in the program. I was enrolled in a total of five (5) courses over the entire two semesters. The second to last semester I took Information Technology, which I will sum up by using a tweet from a group mate…

Kat Tweet

I paired Information Technology with Information Retrieval and Customization, both of which were taught by the same professor. I found this particular professor to be horribly disorganized, and I could not for the life of me tell if she was actually technically proficient or not. Since most of the work was completed online, I didn’t have enough interactions with her to see if she was really comfortable with technology. After taking three of her classes, my ultimate vote is no.

My very last semester in the program I enrolled in Teaching in the Information Professions (wonderful course that should be required of all librarians, especially those interested in academic librarianship) and Project Management in Information Organizations, as well as my Capstone. While I would suggest taking a project management course, make sure that your professor actually understands how to teach project management and that it isn’t just a hobby of theirs.

Every semester I could I tried to take Database Design, but every semester it was dropped due to low enrollment. This was a major drawback of the program! There was not enough variation among electives to satisfy those of us not on a track. I wanted to take the following (but many were never offered during my cohort):

  • LI844: Database Design
  • LI866: Intro to Copyright and Licensing
  • LI809: Introduction to Archives
  • LI827: Preservation Strategies
  • LI835: Information Services for Academic Libraries
  • LI840: Structure and Organization of Information Technology
  • LI848: Web Design and Development
  • LI890: Advanced Research Strategies

This lead to me really only getting to choose 5 (4.5 really) electives throughout my entire program. I would have loved to “test out” of Information Technology (which was required) and taken a course where I would have actually challenged myself instead.

Overall I would give the SLIM program a C+ (B- on it’s best day). They are way behind when it comes to integrating technology into their curriculum, and are still offering concentrations in Children’s and Young Adult Librarianship. In order to stay relevant in today’s tumultuous world of library and information science, they need to start offering an MLIS, as well as concentrations that integrate informatics and computer science into the MLS curriculum track (perhaps offering a Systems Analysis and Design track, a Knowledge Management concentration, or even a Digital Information Certificate). The school currently offers a completely separate informatics degree, but the program just came into existence in 2015.

See TL;DR for a concise summary.

Libraries and User Experience

The gap between the number of people who think the library is important and the number of people who have actually used the library is huge. Comparing a Pew Research study conducted in 2013 and an American Library Association survey done in 2012 showed that, while 95% of people think libraries are important to society, only 52% have actually used their library in the past six months (Roskill, 2014). So why does this divide exist? Poor user experience and the ever increasing digital divide.

Libraries do many things well, but providing easy access to digital resources is not one of them. As the use of mobile devices continues to skyrocket, libraries will fall behind if they cannot create user experiences similar to “big box” brands like Amazon. As librarians, we are constantly promoting the eServices available through our respective libraries, but these services are severely lagging behind in the usability department. For example, take blogger Peter Rukavina’s (2013) experience when he tried to check out an eBook from his local public library (Figure 1).

Adapted from Peter Rukavina's blog post

(Figure 1) Adapted from Peter Rukavina’s blog post

In his post, Rukavina talks about “download[ing] an XML wrapper file for the audiobook, [which] in the end was simply three non-DRMed MP3 files.” Now imagine you are a 93-year old grandparent who has been given a Kindle for your birthday. You don’t have wireless in your home and you can barely send an email, even with the help of you grandchildren. You bring your Kindle into your local public library, where the librarian walks you through the “simple” twelve step process for checking out an eBook. How many times do you think you would use the library to access eBooks if this was the process each time? Amazon, on the other hand, is preloaded on the device. It stores all of your information and you can purchase a book for less than $2.99 in a single click. Amazon 2.99, libraries zero.

Libraries have been curating information for ages, yet we ourselves are not bridging the digital divide as efficiently as we should. To expect our digitally illiterate patrons to utilize our resources, we must simplify their user experience by providing easy access to the resources we promote to them. Libraries—especially public libraries—must step into the roles of content creator, provider, and curator. They must also understand that even with the majority of public libraries providing public internet access (IPAC, 2013) digital literacy cannot occur without access to digital resources and proper training. By creating user experiences that allow patrons to expand their digital literacy skills, librarians can begin to train the members of their community to become productive members of an increasingly technologically advanced society.

Information Policy and Access Center. (2012). Public libraries & digital literacy. [report]. Retrieved from http://plinternetsurvey.org/sites/default/files/publications/DigLitBrief2011.pdf

Roskill, A. (2014, May 14). Get a read on this — libraries bridging the digital divide: Andrew Roskill at TEDxCharleston. (2014). Charleston, S.C.Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J198u5HK0pY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Rukavina, P. (2013, February 5). Welcome to crazytown: public libraries confront digital objects. Ruk blog. [Personal Blog]. Retrieved from http://ruk.ca/content/welcome-crazytown-public-libraries-confront-digital-objects

Operation: Collection Development, Medical Library Edition

This semester I am taking LI855XS: Collection Development and Management. I love this course so far, and the teacher has been particularly amazing. For our second to last assignment, we were randomly assigned a library (law library, public library, academic library, etc…) and, as my luck would have it, I was assigned a medical library!

The point of the assignment was to create a poster that highlighted the “general activities that were in involved in collection development within this particular library.” My partner had never done any research on medical libraries, so of course I was ready to assist! We threw ourselves into the assignment and began to develop some ideas for the poster. I must have been feeling especially uninspired, since it took quite awhile for the idea to form.

After I had gone through multiple drafts, we finally came up with Operation Collection Development, Medical Library Edition. I must say, I could not be anymore more proud of the final poster if I tried! In order to give our fellow students a take-away from the presentation, I created “handouts” in the form of RX pill bottles. I modeled the labels off of the CVS pharmacy label.

Here are some pictures from the presentation:

Poster session display

Our setup for the presentation. My iPad displayed the page I created for the QR code.

Close up picture of the poster.

A photo showing some of the detail in the poster.

Close up of the pill bottles.

A photo showing off the RX handouts I created. We filled them with Skittles*.

We placed in the top three and were given a tassel, certificate, and some other fun prizes. It was a lot of fun to present our poster to a group of our peers! I wish I would have taken more pictures of the session as a whole, but I was glued to my poster for the majority of the walk-around!

The poster’s new home is in the Public Services area of the A. R. Dykes Health Sciences Library. I’ve had a few comments about it so far, so I think it is being put to good use.

Poster hanging in the medical library.

The poster is now on display at the Dykes Library at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

 

 

 

*Since when did they replace the green Skittles with green apple?! What happened to lime????

Supplementing Your Library School Education

If you aren’t overwhelmed by your library school classes, you may consider supplementing your education via a variety of alternate channels.

1. MOOCs

What is a MOOC? If you’re a gamer, you may be thinking of certain MMORPG’s right now, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong in doing so. A MOOC, or massive open online course, is an “online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web…[usually through the use of] interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors.” Finding out about different MOOCs for MLS/MLIS students can be difficult if you don’t know where to look, but fortunately there are a few MOOC providers that make it easier. The first of which is Coursera, an education company that partners with universities and other educational organizations to bring free courses to the masses. Another MOOC provider is edX. Though edX has some really interesting courses, many are not aligned with what you will be learning in library school. If you are planning on working in a specialized library, however, taking some of the courses available through edX could help prepare you for types of instructional literacy you may be required to understand. One of the very last MOOC providers is Udacity, whose catalog is currently very limited. Most of what they have to offer is more aligned with the hard sciences, but it can provide a welcome break from reading about information retrieval systems.

Another excellent way to find out about MOOCs is through your university. There are lots of top universities offering free, open access courses. Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Duke, Harvard, UCLA and Yale all over some form of MOOC content. There is even a University based in the UK called The Open University, that offers all of its courses through distance education.

File:MOOC poster mathplourde.jpg

2. Free-to-View Webinars

Librarians love webinars and library school students are no different. If there is a way to make a presentation a webinar, librarians will find it. One of the best sites for finding free webinars is Webjunction. Webjunction maintains a list of current webinars and has links to archived sessions as well. Another site that you can find information technology webinars on is Cisco’s Webex. Webex contains webinars that you can even view on your iPad, so if you’re not at a University or don’t have access to a computer capable of running a web session, you can go mobile!

Checking with your local university or library is a great place to start too. Many academic librarians offer webinars for new students, or as a resource to students unfamiliar with library resources.

You should even consider creating your own webinars via screencasting if you have learned something of interest in class. This will help you solidify the ideas and concepts you learned, as well as disseminate that information to others. The video below will show you some screencasting basics!


3. Podcasts

Podcasting has been around for awhile, but it’s still an excellent way to disseminate information. If you have a long commute or need something to listen to at the gym, a library science or information technology podcast may be right up your alley.

A list of podcasts you may find interesting:

4. Self-paced Learning Modules (eLearning)

If the speed of MOOCs are a little too intense, you should consider an online self-paced learning module. These learning modules offer interesting courses, which you can take at your own pace. This means that you can finish the course in a weeks’ time, or over several months as you have free time. One of the benefits of these self-paced courses is that you are not at the mercy of others!

The Library of Congress (because it is amazing) offers a few online modules and so does the National Library of Medicine. Another option that you can always look into are the resources available to you through your university. Some colleges and universities have created simple modules to assist students in finding resources, but they can also be helpful to library science students!

A great list of free library-related eLearning sites can be found at Library 2.0.

5. Professional Development Programs

If you are already working at a library, your professional development team should have a list of opportunities for you to check out. Local libraries can also be part of exchange programs, which would allow you access to libraries you may not know much about!

Check out a short list compiled from neflins23things professional development list:

  1. Start your own blog
  2. Learn about new technologies (Web 2.0)
  3. Start a library science RSS feed to keep current
  4. Explore social media sites and familiarize yourself with new media
  5. Experiment with photosharing and editing
  6. Understand how to utilize current web tools and communication tools
  7. Browse collaboration tools and consider starting your own Wiki
  8. Build your own search tool using Google Co-op
  9. View videos related to library issues, create your own
  10. Subscribe to a podcast, or two…or three!

Check out more of the list from Neflin23things

Your library doesn’t have a professional development team you say? Consider starting one! What better way to learn than through your own actions!

6. Subscribe to listserv’s and RSS feeds

If you’re short on time, consider subscribing to a library science listserv or curated RSS feed list. Creating a list of RSS feeds in The Old Reader is easy (similar to Google Reader), or even check out Feedly if you prefer a different view of your RSS feeds. Most of these RSS readers are available on a mobile device, so even if you’re on the go you can still be connected.

Email may be more your thing and if that’s the case, subscribing to listservs allows the information to be delivered “right to your front inbox.” The Library of Congress (did I tell you how awesome it was yet?) has a wonderful list of library related listservs for you to peruse, as well as some other LIS resources to get you started.

7. Leisure Reading

Last, but not least, read about what interests you! Check out the 50+ Articles Every Librarian Should Read and curate your own list of articles you think would benefit other MLS students.

LibSchool Texts

The shelf of a library school student