Tag Archives: archival administration

Assumptions/Assertions about the LIS profession

It seems that I have come a long way from my introductory post, which was published on January 25. Coming into the MLIS program, I had no idea what to expect from my classes other than there would be a lot of work, judging from the syllabus’ I received. However, in these last three months, I have learned a lot more about the LIS profession and how this field plays such an important role in the lives of everyone, not just LIS professionals. I have also gained a better understanding of how libraries function and what their role is in society.

The primary role of libraries and librarians is to serve the public and provide educational, entertaining and informative information and activities. Libraries are also responsible for maintaining and preserving materials of the past for present and future generations. Although libraries serve the public, they are also a reflection of the society in which they are located. From the reading “What Libraries Are Worth” I found it interesting as to how the success of a library really depends on the success of the local community and the city. It is easy to downplay the significance of your local librarian or checking out books from the library, but this institution really shapes the core of what a person will become. As society continues to change and move more into the digital age, there may be less of a need for physical books, but there will always be a need for libraries.

In addition to my educational progression of LIS, I also changed some of my previous assumptions about the field. In my introductory post, I made the assumption that when people think about the field of Library and Information Science, they automatically assume that a person is a librarian. And to some extent that is still true. I still run into people who think I want to work in a library just because my degree encompasses library education. However, I have learned more about how broad the LIS field is and how essential an MLIS degree can be to many professions. It’s not just about being a librarian or working in a library setting.

In a study conducted by the Australian Academic & Research Libraries journal, they found that core LIS competencies (i.e. a user-centred approach to eliciting information needs, an understanding of contextual factors in individual and collective sense-making, and knowledge of information behaviours) can be leveraged towards effective information content and delivery in a variety of traditional and non-traditional information contexts.  A strong market was found for these skills within traditional and non-traditional employers, suggesting opportunities for library and information professionals with potential employers including those who seek skills in content management, information architecture, user experience design and user requirements analysis in information systems contexts (Wise, Henninger, & Kennan, 2013).

Therefore, many people would be surprised to know that professionals that they deal with on an everyday basis may even have MLIS degrees. This study just further proves how comprehensive the LIS profession is and the amount of opportunities that are available for LIS graduates.

Exploring the various career options that will be available to me once I graduate was definitely a learning experience in this class and hearing about some of the types of professions that my colleagues want to pursue after graduating just further confirmed my decision to enroll in the MLIS program.

Sources

Wise, S., Henninger, M., & Kennan, M. (2013). Changing Trends In LIS Job. Australian Academic & Research, 268-295.

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Exploring professional LIS Blogs: ArchivesNext and Mr. Library Dude

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Blogging has become one of the best, most efficient ways for people to express their personal opinions about various topics. This tactic especially comes in handy for professionals in a given field who want to share their views about the industry with their colleagues and enlighten the public about what makes their industry so special. In the LIS profession, for instance, there are tons of blogs dedicated to specific areas of interest, and many libraries and well as companies host blogs on their websites to further engage their audience.

Two blogs that I have chosen to explore are ArchivesNext and Mr. Library Dude. I chose these blogs particularly for their vast exploration and candidness about two LIS areas, one of which deals with libraries and the other with archives.

ArchivesNext is written by Kate Theimer, a very experienced archivist, teacher, editor and writer who worked at the National Archives and Records Administration for six years. Her blog discusses issues facing archives, including technology, evolving business models, professional identity, professional organizations, and news and issues from other related professions.

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Since the beginning of the year, the main topic of discussion has been this new project that Theimer is planning to launch this year in which she will be sharing her experience and knowledge of archives with the general public. In reading the blog posts, it seems that Theimer is really trying to break archival administration out of this secret box that it seems to be in and explain the basics of the profession and what it is that archivists actually do on a daily basis. For instance, in her post on “the role of “the professional discipline” in archives and digital archives,” she explained exactly what an “archive” and “digital archive” is because in various professions the meaning of the words can be different from how professional archivists classify them.

This post was in reference to a news story she saw about the failed BBC project and the article referenced digital archives, but it was not used in the correct context. She noted that “archives and digital archives—collections, organizations, and places—that are administered in a manner that adheres to the professional discipline of archives are different than those that do not.” While the word archive can be used in a broader sense, there does need to be more of a clarification of the context it is being used in as to not confuse people who think they may be referring to various collections. I found Theimer’s goal of bringing the archival profession to the masses to be very inspirational and is a similar goal that I share. Oftentimes I find myself having to go into specific detail about the archival profession and what it is that archivists actually do.

Many times, when people hear the word “archive,” they may think of dusty old materials with little or no relevance to today’s society. But, this term has varied meanings and is not just limited to old, unimportant materials. According to Adrian Cunningham, archives take different forms, pursue different strategies and different combinations of objectives (2009, pg 203). Additionally, records are made as a means of conducting and/or remembering activities. They are created for pragmatic or symbolic purposes—as enablers and evidence of experience and activity, as aids to memory and/or as artifacts.” (2009, pg 192). So, I think for people to have a more well-rounded perspective of an archives and archivists’ purpose, they need to be educated whether it be through blog posts, workshops, or seminars so that the profession can establish a better re-pore with its core audience.

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Mr. Library Dude is a bit similar to to ArchivesNext in its bluntness about the LIS profession, but this blog focuses solely on the librarian and LIS students studying to become librarians. The blog is written by Joe Hardenbrook, who is currently a reference and instruction librarian at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. What drew me to this blog is its very candid subject matters regarding the LIS profession and the great advice he gives to LIS student preparing to enter the workforce. His first post for 2015, for instance, dealt with interviewing for a library job. In what Hardenbrook calls “Library Interviewee’s Bill of Rights” he spells out some major issues library staff tend to have when interviewing candidates for jobs and the overall hiring process.

Having been a professional librarian for over ten years, Hardenbrook has had his fair share of library interviews, so he mentions some tips that staff should follow such as giving the candidate time to prepare for a presentation, sending over interview schedule ahead of time and reimburses the candidates for expenses they accrue when they have to travel out of town to come to the interview. I believe these tips are helpful for any profession and it’s good that he is relaying these facts for future librarians so they know what to expect. Hardenbrook also brought up an issue that seems to prevalent in the LIS profession, which is workforce planning as well as hiring issues that have yet to be fixed.

” Workforce planning has never been a strength of the American library profession in general, or higher education for librarianship in particular. The field has rarely secured a dependable assessment of supply and demand for professional positions.… As a result, national, professional, and institutional strategies have not been developed to guide the preparation, advancement, and replacement of librarians” (Mika and Matarazzo,2004, pg. 115 ).

Another issue Hardenbrook tackles in his blog is the American Library Association and his disappointment with the organization. While you would think that any librarian would be fully endorsing the major library organization, Hardenbrook points out how a librarian can still be engaged in professional service without being a part of ALA and that there are a benefits that one can receive from ALA without paying for a full membership. This was a two part post where he discussed just why he doesn’t intend on renewing his membership and why the membership cost is so expensive. He brings up an issue that seems to be the case with a lot of organizations and how they encourage you to join, but don’t specify what you will actually get out of the membership besides access to newsletters and publication, and maybe a discount on the annual conferences.

Both ArchivesNext and Mr. Library Dude are blogs that LIS professionals and LIS students should check out because they offer very interesting perspectives on the field.

SOURCES

James, M., & Joseph, M. (2004). Workforce planning for library and information science.Library & Information Science Research, 26(2), 115-120.

Cunningham, Adrian.(2009). Archives. In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, (pp. 192-207). New York: Taylor and Francis.

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MLIS Analysis and Reflection

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My first semester as an MLIS student has been quite eventful and busy, might I add. Even though I’m only approaching my third month in the program, I have already learned a lot about the library science profession and how diverse this occupation is in terms of job selection, ethical standards, and the overall institutions that employ LIS graduates.

In my first couple posts, I briefly discussed the importance of library professionals and how they are gatekeepers of the past and are responsible for children and adults learning more about various subjects. I have always known that library professionals are important to society, but I was not aware of why librarians and libraries are so essential to communities and academic institutions.

In watching the “The Hollywood Librarian” I got a visual lesson on the history of librarians and how their role evolved from serving politicians to serving their communities by providing educational, informative, and entertaining resources. The documentary also discussed how undervalued many libraries are from a government perspective and, due to continuous budget cuts, how many public library administrators struggle to raise funds just to keep libraries open and fully functioning.

Analyzing that documentary was one of the most enlightening experiences thus far in my blog and it really opened my eyes to the evolution of libraries and how much society relies on library resources in their everyday lives. Through similar assignments in my LIS classes, I have also tackled the subject of the library’s role in a community and what role this institution has people’s lives. Blogging about the importance of libraries and LIS professionals is a topic that I definitely plan on revisiting in future posting.

Moving forward, I also plan to dig deeper into the role that archives play in information institutions. In my first few posts, I thoroughly outlined my goals as a MLIS student and what I hope to accomplish once I graduate. I am specializing in archival administration and intend on pursuing a career as an archivist. Therefore, I plan to use this platform to discuss some of the issues that archivists tackle in their profession and how archives fit into the overall function of libraries. In my post on LIS organizations, I gave an overview of the Society of American Archivists, which is one of the premier and most popular archival organizations in the country. Writing this post really helped me get a better idea of the mission and goals of SAA, and the kinds of opportunities they offer for MLIS students and professionals.

As I continue to journey through MLIS classes and compose blog posts, my hope is to get a better understanding of the program and to learn more about just why LIS professionals are so cool!

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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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