Category Archives: Goals as a graduate

Final Reflections on the LIS profession

This past semester has definitely been a learning experience for me and has got me to thinking more about my future as an LIS professional. I came into the MLIS program with a narrow view of what LIS professionals do and what their options were for employment. Since my track is archival administration, my only knowledge prior to joining the program was what archivists do and the types of companies or organizations that they could work for. However, taking LIS 6010 really broadened my view of the entire LIS profession as well as how important libraries are to society and how they function. The first discussion question in the class was to reflect on my experience with libraries and to define exactly what a library is. At the time, I just gave a broad definition of what a library is from my perspective. But, throughout the class and from the assignments I have done, I have learned that libraries are more than just a place to check out books. They serve as a vital resource for diverse group of patrons and they do their best to provide a variety of activities and educational sources for their core demographic.

A sentence I read in chapter one of “The Portable MLIS” really stood out to me and it really sums up the role of libraries in our lives.

“Libraries are not important: they are essential. Libraries are about what we think and do. They are about who we were, who we are, and who we want to be” (Rubin, 2008).

I did not think about the influence libraries have had on my life until taking this course and while my goal is to become an archivist, I would be honored to work in a library setting and strive to give back just a fraction of what library staff have given to me. Actually, one of the archival collections I would love to work for is located in the Detroit Public Library. The E. Azalia Hackley Collection is one of five special collections at the Detroit Public Library that is composed of materials from African American artists in various professions such as art, music and dance. For my class project on LIS Agencies, I chose to investigate the Hackley Collection and in the process I was able to interview the head curator for the collection and learn a lot more about the materials as well as the daily responsibilities of the curator. This assignment was definitely a learning experience and it helped me to get a better idea of what it is that archivists and curators do on a daily basis. I am looking forward to interning at the Hackley Collection soon and the project I did on the collection will really help me as an intern. I’ll already come into the internship knowing more about the collection and the type of work that I will be doing with the curator.

Now that I have taken some of the introductory classes in the MLIS program, I am excited about starting my core classes in the fall, one of which will be the Archival Administration course. This course will teach me the foundations of being an archivist and the type of work that I will be doing once I start my career. By now, everyone who has read this blog knows that I am working towards a degree in MLIS with a concentration on Archival Administration. My ultimate goal is to work as a music archivist at a museum or information agency that specializes in music. Although my track my be different than many of my colleagues, some of whom I know will be working as librarians in various settings, this class has shown me that although every MLIS graduate’s ultimate work setting may be different, we all have similar goals in our profession and that is to serve the public with the highest level of service possible.

SOURCE

Rubin, R. (2008). Stepping Back and Looking Forward: Reflections on the foundations of libraries and librarianship. In Portable MLIS. Libraries Unlimited.

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Job Analysis for Archival positions

As a first year MLIS student at Wayne State, my main focus as of now has been adjusting to the program and tackling the large amount of assignments from my classes.

However, I know that it is never too late to start looking for potential jobs that I would like to obtain after graduation. I follow job lists such as Indeed and Careerbuilder on a regular basis for jobs relating to the Communications field, which is what I received my Bachelors degree in. But in the MLIS field, I found a few other job related sources that provide job postings for a number of various LIS professions.

My particular concentration for MLIS is archival administration so I have been following job sources that include jobs relating to the archival field. I found a great job listserv called Archives Gig, which posts at least five job opportunities per day. They also post opportunities for archival internships as well, which is mainly what I’m looking to obtain within the next year.

I have been following this listserv since January and have reviewed at least 20 jobs that I would be interested in applying for once I graduate.There is one position I found that I completely fell in love with and it is the ideal job I would like to have once I graduate and have worked in entry level positions for a few years. The position is for an archivist in the music division at the Library of Congress. My ultimate goal as an archivist has always been to work at a museum or an educational institution that specializes in music collections, so this position would be perfect for me. The purpose of this position is to process and describe multi-format collections relating to the areas of music and dance. In addition to processing collections, the archivist assists in providing reference services associated with the collections; participates in the development and implementation of preservation and digitization policies and procedures relevant to the collections; implements and prescribes up-to-date archival practices; assists in collections development; and performs other duties in support of the Music Division and Library Services, as assigned (Library of Congress, 2015).

Library of Congress

The qualifications for the position include the following:

Knowledge of Dance and/or Music Subject Areas of the Archival Collections.**
Ability to Analyze and Organize Archival Materials.**
Knowledge of the Principles, Concepts, and Techniques of Professional Library and/or Archival Work.
Knowledge of a Variety of Automated Tools and Technologies such as Integrated Library Systems and Web Applications used to Support Archival Functions.
Ability to Communicate in Writing.
Ability to Provide Consultation and/or Liaison Duties.
Ability to Communicate Orally. (Library of Congress, 2015).

Getting there

I already have extensive experience in music history and received a minor in music from UM-Dearborn, so I know I would already have at least one of the qualifications for the position. I’ve also had music research published in a journal and am a part of multiple music organizations including the Detroit Sound Conservancy and the E. Azalia Hackley Board. I also have a background in Communications and advanced writing skills having received a bachelors degree in Communications, so I already possess another skill-set needed for the position.

In order to fully pursue my future career as an archivist, I plan to obtain a certificate in Archival Administration from Wayne State. This certificate will allow me to compete for specific archival positions in any industry and will give me the training needed to learn the specific techniques needed to perform other archival tasks. I also plan to get a certificate in Digital Content management. Specializing in digital content management will allow me the opportunity to learn more about creating digital collections for various institutions such as schools, museums and libraries.

After looking back at my previous goals as an MLIS graduate, I believe I am right on target for the kind of training I will need to obtain a job as a music archivist down the line. I do plan to intern at more establishments than music collections so that I can acquire broader skills in the archival field and know more about other collections than music. However, with the experience I’m getting now, I would be well qualified to work with a music collection once I graduate.

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Future goals as an MLIS graduate

One of my goals has always been to pursue a master’s degree in a discipline which I have a personal curiosity in. Having worked in the professional world for a few years, I am now pursuing a master’s degree in Library Science with a focus on archival administration. Archivists, in my opinion, have one of most important responsibilities ever, and that is to establish and maintain control, both physical and intellectual, over records of enduring value. (So You Want to Be an Archivist: An Overview of the Archives Profession. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www2.archivists.org/profession)

This field will allow me the opportunity to research music from a more historical perspective while helping to uncover and preserve rare objects within music’s past. I minored in Music History in college and am interested in researching music on a professional level and collecting more information about the subject that may be of use to researchers.

My ultimate goal is to work as an archivist at a museum or an educational institution that specializes in music collections like the National Jazz Museum in Harlem or The Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago. I am an avid jazz fan, and knowing that I could possibly help preserve historical items such as Louis Armstrong’s trumpet or drum sticks by drummer Max Roach is very fascinating. I also want to educate young people about how much of a role music plays in society. Through working at an educational facility such as a museum, I want to create programs for kids that will allow them to learn more about music history at a young age. I didn’t even take a music history class until I was in college, so I want kids to be able to be educated about this history at an early age so that will hopefully increase their appreciation for good music when they are older.

In order to fully pursue my future career as an archivist, I plan to obtain a certificate in Archival Administration from Wayne State. This certificate will allow me to compete for specific archival positions in any industry.

The information agency has definitely evolved throughout the years and many institutions are transitioning to digital formats and utilizing online avenues more in order to engage patrons. The role of information professionals has also changed, and archivists, for instance, are delving more into digitization when it comes to preserving projects. In order to equip myself with the sufficient skills needed to navigate in the field, I also intend to specialize in digital content management. Specializing in digital content management will allow me the opportunity to learn more about creating digital collections for various institutions such as schools, museums and libraries.

I have already begun the process of engaging myself in archival projects. As a member of the Detroit Sound Conservancy, which is a local organization dedicated to preserving Detroit music, I’ve been able to particularly dig up historical facts about a historical ballroom in Detroit and a museum that was connected to the venue. I spoke with an archivist who used to work for the museum and my research aided in the recovery of the museum’s collection. I co-wrote a paper about the Graystone Museum, which I presented at the DSC Sound Conference last year. I also joined the WSU student chapter of the Society of American Archivists and plan to become heavily involved with the organization so I can learn as much as I can from professionals in the field of archival administration.

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Personal Introduction: Working my way through MLIS

The title of this blog “My Journey Through MLIS” may seem pretty self-explanatory or even simple, but deciding to pursue a career in the library profession definitely took a lot of thought and consideration. From the time I was 10 up until around the age of 21, my main goal was to become a print journalist and to work for The Detroit Free Press or New York Times. I completely immersed myself in the field of journalism and took on multiple editorial positions in high school and college. 

My ambitions of becoming an archivist and obtaining a masters degree in the field of library science developed later on when I was nearing the end of my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I took a job as a student circulation assistant and some of my responsibilities included checking out books for patrons, and helping students, faculty and staff find library materials. I also worked with the school archivist.

At the time, I didn’t know much about the field of archival administration, only that archivists were responsible for preserving historical items. In working with the school archivist, I learned more about the technical aspects of the field and the important role archivists play in keeping history alive and allowing the world to learn about the roots of a particular subject.

After graduating college, however, I still had every intention to follow my original goal of becoming a journalist and working in the Communications field, which I am currently doing. However, the archival itch I developed in college never seemed to stop. After working for two years in the professional world, and seriously contemplating the idea of pursuing a career as an archivist, I decided to return to school.

This is just a bit of background about my professional career transition, and there will be much more information to come as I learn more about LIS and explore various topics in my blog. Some of the topics I’ll be discussing include an overview of some LIS professional organizations that I plan on joining such as the Society of American Archivists. I’ll also be analyzing various LIS positions and will be discussing some professional journals that pertain to the LIS field.

My intent for this blog is to enhance my understanding of Library and Information Science and to gain more insight regarding the perceptions I have about the field. Although the LIS profession has been around for a long time, many people still have no idea what this subject area is about and how broad it is in terms of the career paths one can take when they have an MLIS degree. Many times when I tell people that I will be getting my degree in Library Science, they automatically assume that I want to become a librarian.

I also believe that the LIS profession will become a more sought after field since it has such a strong connection to technology. With everyone and everything moving more into the digital realm, there is more of a need for professionals to work with technology and have an understanding of how technology influences everyday life. I also believe that LIS professionals, particularly librarians and archivists are jobs that will always been needed and there will never be a replacement for their importance to society. Even as technology creeps into various job settings and it seems there is less of a need for human knowledge, librarians and archivists are gatekeepers of the past and are responsible for children and adults learning more about every subject possible.

 

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