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.