Tag Archives: LIS issues

Final Reflection

This class was extremely useful to me as it really forced me to become aware of the professional issues relating to library and information careers. Before I started this class I had a vague idea about the kind of issues that were important in LIS such as adapting to new technology and articulating the importance of the services that we provide in the digital age. Now that I have completed this class I have a much clearer view of these issues and many other issues through carrying out class readings and listening to guest speakers. The most interesting part of the learning in this class for me though was the reflections on the readings that we had to write for our blog/e-portfolio. Even more interesting was reading my classmates reflections as this exercise really gave us the opportunity to read many varied reactions to the issues we had been reading about.

The biggest change to my ideas of LIS professions was that I had previously thought that upon graduating from the MLIS I would have gained most of the relevant knowledge regarding LIS professions. I now know that to be a good LIS professional I must constantly keep up to date with new developments and actively seek out new things to learn and new ways to do things! I must also be adaptable and not be reluctant to move out of my comfort zone. In fact from what I’ve learned over the course it is important to always be a bit out of my comfort zone. This way I will always be open to learning new things. I am kind of afraid that once the course is over I will gradually stop all of the good habits I have developed during the class like keeping up to date with my Personal Learning Network and reflecting on the readings I have done. The reflections and such great ways to record your thoughts and are great as reminders of what I have been reading since January. Luckily I came across this blog which encourages LIS professionals to do 23 things for Professional Development. It ran last year and was so successful that round 2 starts next Monday 7th May. I am going to register for this and hopefully this will keep me motivated! Here is the link to the blog http://cpd23.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/sign-up-for-cpd23-2012.html

When I registered for this class I kind of expected that we would be learning about issues that affect libraries and maybe looking at some case studies of how libraries have developed in recent times. I was afraid that it would be a class that would not really be relevant until I was actually working in a library and then I might be able to refer to my notes from class for guidance. I was much more pleased with what the class actually turned out to be, which was more about professional development. I felt that the course was really just a starting point to help us to set up an e-portfolio and a PLN and means that I have both of these things which I hope will continue to grow throughout my career. While a lot of my course assignment will hardly ever be looked at again, I hope that what I have produced during this class is just the start of a life long project.

The most useful things that I learned during the class were from the guest speakers. I found it very easy to relate to them as most of them had done the MLIS just like us and all of them explained to us the career path that brought them to their current positions. Most of them had lots of experience in different areas before the jobs they are doing today and noted how this experience although it may have seemed irrelevant at the time, helped them in the long run. This advice has been incredibly useful to me and I have learned that instead of focusing on a particular job role such as becoming a public librarian, I ought to identify the features of that job that appeal to me, such as community engagement and project management and see what other positions will allow me to work in these areas.

Despite learning a lot about the issues relating to LIS careers through readings, talks and class discussions I really feel that I need to get experience working full time in an LIS environment to fully understand these issues and visualise how they affect the profession. My next goal in my professional development is to find a full time internship that will give me the opportunity to become fully integrated into a library team and hopefully this will allow me to keep up to date with LIS issues in a real life setting.

 

Reflection on past semester

Firstly, since starting this class in January I can’t believe how quickly it went! I set up my first wordpress blog for this class and I’m really pleased with how much it has developed over the past 4 months. Looking back over my weekly reflections and those of my classmates, I have a much clearer recollection of the kind of issues we have been discussing than if I had simply been taking notes in class. One of the key things that I’ve learned this semester about LIS professionals is that we have to keep up to date with current issues and trends and I  feel that taking Professional Issues in Information and Library Careers has provided me with all the necessary links and tools to do this on an ongoing basis.  Often during academic study the issues discussed during a module lose a lot of their relevance outside the university walls but on the MLIS most of the subjects I’ve studied have practical relevance in the real world so it makes sense to keep on top of these issues even after the module ends.

When I started this course I had experience working in an academic library, a gallery library and the National Library as well as some experience cataloguing in a small library but my ultimate goal was to work in a public library. I still feel most strongly drawn to working in a public library as I feel it is such an important part of the community, the range of library users is so diverse and interesting and there are opportunities to work on such a wide range of projects. However, any links I read from my Personal Learning Network remind me that it may not be realistic to set my heart on this goal as I could be a long time waiting to find a position. One possibility for me to gain experience in a public library is to find work abroad in Canada or Australia as a library assistant.

Many of the speakers that we had in class over the semester spoke about how their varied work experience helped them find jobs. I was particularly struck by Niamh O’Sullivan who found that her experience working for a newspaper in the US, which she had never thought would be library related, provided her with transferable skills that related to library work when she returned to Ireland. She reminded us that all experience is useful experience and her motto ‘See a need, fill a need.’ is one that every library wishes to do for it’s users.

I was also struck by Katherine McSharry’s talk in which she warned us that if we don’t feel out of our comfort zone in out jobs then something is wrong! This is very true to what has been said in a lot of the readings from this semesters class. LIS professionals must be flexible and constantly seeking out change and therefore should always be a little bit out of their comfort zone. Of course when out of ones comfort zone it helps to at least be familiar with the basics of other professions such as coding and graphic design in order to be able to communicate effectively with such professionals that you might find yourself working with.