Things I wish people learned in Library School

Similar in vein to a recent presentation done by Roberta Stevens, I would like to present my own list of things I wish were taught in Library School. I’m trademarking this list bitches! (can you even trademark a list?)

1) Find good people to collaborate with. This goes beyond working in groups in class. I find it annoying sometimes to be forced to work with a group, rather than allowing you to choose your groups. However, this doesn’t mean I’m a bad groupmate. I’m fantastic. Well, not always, since I’m kind of bossy and try to take over the group. I only do it for the good of the group/grade! Wait, I’ve deviated too much already – find good people to work with. Out of Library School, I am coming out with a core group of friends who I would love to work with in the future. Some of them, I already work with (in terms of presentations, projects, discussions, idea bouncing, etc.), others I haven’t had the chance but I know I work well with them in a group setting. You have to find that special group of people who trust your ideas, who listen to you and whose ideas you trust as well. It’s kind of rare, but when you find those people…it’s like magic.

2) Look beyond libraries. No, I mean REALLY look beyond libraries. Looking for a job has been really stressful lately. However, I’m comforted by the fact that I have applicable skills beyond just a library/information organization. I can really work in a wide variety of places, doing a wide variety of things. I guess this speaks more towards the mind of the student – if they are getting an MLIS, they WANT a library job. However, I came into SLIS knowing that I did not envision painting myself into a corner and only pursuing library jobs. There are only so many libraries hiring, and exponentially more candidates applying for those jobs. Be willing to work at other places – some places, you might not think you’ll like, but you never really know until you try it out.

3) Look beyond libraries. No, I’m not repeating myself. Okay, yeah I sorta am. But really, look beyond libraries in how you apply the skills you are learning. I don’t mean in terms of jobs,but how your ideas and thoughts affect culture, society, people around you, etc. We learned the history of information science in Libr 200, now see how the changes that are occurring in LIS are affecting adjacent fields. Also, look outside of LIS for ideas on how to innovate LIS. Adapt ideas from other fields, test them out, see what works and if it doesn’t, try a new approach. I came into SLIS with a BA in Math, a BS in Sociology, an AA in Geography, and wanting to apply all of these perspectives on LIS. I haven’t quite found my match yet, but I’m working on it!

4) Put yourself out there. Act a fool. Make yourself memorable. Start a blog and talk about weird things. Tweet about your latest incident with a computer. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. I’m all about transparency – I don’t (often) hide things. I think I might have coined a new phrase on Facebook recently: Transparency is the new modesty. It’s true though – with the amount of social networks out there and the various ways people can self-publish, it’s really kind of unheard of to be modest. But at the same time, people look down at you if you overshare or post too much. Well. What is it? What’s the proper thing to do? From my perspective, I would prefer to be transparent-  I’d rather let my feelings out there, let my thoughts out there, than to keep them bottled up. In this way, you can engage others. You can find others interested in what you are sharing. You can NETWORK!

5) Be happy. Really, this is just a life lesson. I don’t think this is something that Library School should teach you, but something that I’ve realized during my time in Library School. It’s really important to be happy. I was in a period when I wasn’t very happy with my options. It really affected my relationships and my decisions. I knew I had to get myself out, so I started doing things that I liked (sometimes to the detriment of my classwork, but really, You Do You – focus on yourself, and the rest will follow). I eventually came out of it, but still…those few months sucked really badly. But now I know that I need to find that thing that makes me happy and I’ll be okay.

Of this list, I think the most important is BE HAPPY. If you’re happy, everything else will really fall into place.

Okay now. Done with being a sap! *tear*

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