Tag Archives: LIS

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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Technology Sandbox: Social Media usage in libraries

Social media is definitely a driving force for many companies and that includes libraries. Tons of libraries use social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with and engage their patrons as well as market their events and new materials they have. According to Library Journal’s Survey on Public Library Marketing Methods and Best Practices, 86 percent of libraries said they were using social media. The top two social media platforms used by libraries were Facebook (99 percent) and Twitter (56 percent) (Dowd, 2013). Depending on the size and/or audience of the library, social media can either be a good thing or a hindrance.

Many larger libraries may be able to utilize social media to their benefit because they already have a large audience, so it may be easier for them to engage with their patrons. Also, larger libraries who have bigger budgets may be able to hire marketing managers who can handle their accounts, and they can use their social media skills to help the library increase its engagement with patrons. However, using social media can also be a hindrance and not needed for some libraries. For instance, if libraries tend to have an older audience who don’t use social media, then of course it will be harder for them to gain a following.

Facebook is one social media source that libraries tend to use the most and that makes sense as it is considered the most popular social media site, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. The original intended audience for Facebook used to be college students 18-25, but since its inception, the audience has grown to include high school students and adults past the age of 35. Libraries and other information agencies can use Facebook for a number of things such as:

  • Advertising events in order to showcase their library
  • Sending out event invitations
  • Reporting news
  • Highlighting their services and resources
  • Keeping in touch with their customers
  • Reaching new customers, performing outreach
  • Speaking the language of their customers
  • Educating users
  • Promoting and assessing library functions, through surveys and focus groups
  • Repackaging information (Facebook and social networking)

This social media tool helps libraries to build bigger audiences and gain more support for the library as well as stay in touch with patrons. However, there are some negative aspects to using the networking tool. Libraries have to be careful about what they post to their account and be sure not to post any libelous comments. Also, Facebook is often under fire for not sufficiently protecting the privacy of their users. In addition anything posted on Facebook, subsequently belongs to them and they can re-use it any way they wish (Facebook and social networking). 

Instagram is another social media tool that libraries can use to their advantage. The intended audience for Instagram is ages 16-35, and in libraries this tool is used to engage with library patrons, connect with other libraries and organizations, and advertise/market events in library from a visual perspective. Some of the advantages of Instagram is that it gives the library patrons more of a visual perspective of the library’s marketing of stories and events and it can attract people easier than if they are just reading a status or post. On the downside, since Instagram is still fairly new, it has not attracted a wider range of age groups and is mainly used by younger people, so it may not help libraries to put all their work into building an Instagram following when their demographic may be older.

Overall, Facebook seems to be the winner when it comes to gaining a larger following, so I believe this is a core resource libraries should be using to connect with their audience. It doesn’t take long to post at least a few messages everyday to a library’s account, and this could be done by staff members who have a better understanding of how to engage with the community. Also, maintaining an up-to-date user friendly website is another important tool that all libraries should be using to stay connected with their patrons and update them on the latest information about the library. Websites are looked at by people all over the world, so if the library has a great, mobile friendly, and interesting site, then they can easily gain more followers and essentially build connections with other libraries and organizations.

Based off the information I have learned about social media in libraries, I would encourage my local library to hold classes about social media for older patrons who may not be familiar with it. That way, they could possibly attract more people to their social media accounts and engage more of their patrons who may not necessarily utilize Facebook or Twitter to their advantage. I would even volunteer to teach the class at the library to help increase their social media engagement.

Among all American adults ages 18+, the percent who use the following social media sites

Sources:

Dowd, N. (2013, May 7). Social Media: Libraries are Posting, but is anyone listening. Retrieved from Library Journal: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/05/marketing/social-media-libraries-are-posting-but-is-anyone-listening/

Facebook and social networking. (2015). Retrieved from 23thingsuk: https://23thingsuk.wordpress.com/thing-3-facebook-and-social-networking/

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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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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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