General words of advice
Tips related to coursework
- Group projects are a large part of the coursework. It's important
to be flexible with group members and meeting times. It's also a
good idea to get to know your group members and their individual
strengths - that will make it easier to divvy up work. And communicate
- After being assigned a new group project, go out for beers with
your group members immediately. Getting to know each other as a
group informally will help you figure out the best way to work together
as a team.
- Don't be afraid to put off core classes in favor of interesting
courses that are offered less often. And talk to the professor before
taking the course - more often than not, the official course description
differs drastically from the actual course content.
- Take classes outside of the iSchool - the iSchool is incredibly
flexible in allowing students to 'craft' a degree that is meaningful
and appropriate to the individual and your specialization can make
all the difference when you're job hunting.
- There will always be more interesting courses than you have time
to take. Plan carefully. Leave room for the special topics course
that you didn't know you wanted to take. Take the elective(s) that
you know you'll need to land a job, but take at least one elective
just for the fun of it.
- Two years goes by a lot more quickly than you think. If you're
not sure about what you want to do when you go into the program,
make sure you sample a range of electives your first year and use
the summer before your second year to try out something you're genuinely
interested in. You'll find out quickly enough whether it's something
you'd actually want to pursue career-wise.
- Take classes outside the iSchool. Learn to see your material and
consider your ideas from positions that are not specifically oriented
toward the management of libraries and assistance of "patrons".
- Do fieldworks. When you go on interviews, nobody will give a damn
about the classes you took. No practical experience = no job.
Tips regarding extracurricular activities and more
- If you're not already working or volunteering in a library,
start NOW. When you get done with school, you're going to have to
hit the job market hard and try not to limit yourself geographically.
Start mentally preparing yourself to move anywhere, and if you get
lucky and find a job somewhere nice, that's even better.
- If you can afford it, attend professional congregations.
- Start looking at job descriptions now! When you see an interesting
position, make a note of what skills you already have and what you
need to develop - it will help you plan your course load and the kinds
of directed fieldwork projects you should get involved in.
- Don't stress too much about getting a job - apply for what
you really want to do, and be patient! It's worth the wait to find
something you are passionate about.
- iSchool professors are a great resource. Read their research,
visit their office hours, get to know them outside of class.
- Save time for a show at Meany Theater. Schmitz Hall often
has coupons for heavily discounted student tickets at the beginning
of the year.
- I'd always heard about this thing called "networking"
and how important it was to getting jobs, but I thought (wrongly)
that I was too shy and not well-connected enough to ever accomplish
it. Go to conferences and library-related trainings or events, volunteer
if you can. Just by going to events and being around librarians, those
networks will develop. You don't have to be super-networker person
for this to happen and you don't have to go to national conferences
to get started. Start locally, introduce yourself to the folks you
happen to sit with during keynote speeches, trainings, etc., and you'll
be developing those networks. When you apply for jobs, your name will
stick out to people you've met more than those that have only been
involved in on-campus activities.
- Keep your non-school schedule as flexible as possible.
- I recommend that students get comfortable with technologies
such as HTML/CSS and XML/XSL. Most everything is moving to the web
and although you might not need to do actual coding, it helps to have
a general sense of how things work.
- Don't expect to learn everything you need to know about libraries
from your classes. Get a job in a library, do informational interviews
with people in the profession, attend conferences, get involved with
library organizations, read Library Journal, lisnews.org, or librarian
blogs. Do this even if it cuts into your homework time: it will be
far more valuable than just about anything you will be assigned to
do for class. Also, remember that if you do a DFW, you're not only
working for free but you're paying the iSchool for the privilege.
Consider other opportunities where you might get paid, like GA-ships,
student librarianships at SPL, KCLS, or Renton Libraries, or just
regular library jobs. Always try to remember that working in libraries
is fun even if library school isn't.
- Check your e-mails religiously. I'm horrible at this, but
it's essential if you want to stay caught up on everything.
- Invest in the student organizations, volunteer in the community,
and look early for part time jobs to test your skills. It's all about
- Go to as many of the iSchool events as you can. Volunteer
with an organization that interests you. Get involved with the student
groups. Socialize with the people in your program - it's a great way
to pick up info that you might not otherwise have gotten. And have
fun! You'll get as much out of the program as you put into it.
- Get to know your professors, and take advantage of all the
opportunities for volunteering, directed fieldworks, etc. Not only
are they great experience, they are great for building connections
(which you'll need after graduation) and for making progress on the
portfolio. Oh, and start thinking about your portfolio - and taking
notes on the experiences *as they happen* right away. Don't wait until
your second year to start thinking about it!
Back to the New Student
Vol. XII Issue 1
||iSchool Orientation Week
||SALA Banned Books Event
Find more at the Silverfish Calendar
- Sock fetishism
- Sit-down dancing
- Unemployed, writings of
Pinstriping of motor vehicles
- Animal carcasses in art
Find better ones?
Add them to the blog
Will it be...
- Meta the Fighting Beta Fish
more on the blog