Winter Issue 2001
     The Newsleter of the Association of Library & Information Science Students (ALISS)

The Silverfish is published quarterly by the students of the Information School at the University of Washington.

The Logo of the University of Washington Information School

About The Silverfish
Current Issue
Editorial Board
Information for Authors
Request Silverfish by Email

Book seal.

Directed Fieldwork & Work Study Experiences: Jill Seidenstein
March 27, 2002

Jill Seidenstein

How did you learn about your directed fieldwork opportunity? How did you know what type of DFW you wanted?

When I started the program in 2000, I started to think about what kind of library I wanted to work in. The more I learned about special libraries, the more I felt this was the fit for me. I have been a long-time subscriber of the Utne Reader, and just after (or maybe just before) school started, I got an issue and realized they had a librarian. I thought that must be just about the coolest job on the planet. So, when I started thinking about directed fieldwork, the only thing I could think that I wanted to do was work at the Utne Reader.

Once you found out about the organization, how did you go about setting up your DFW?

I contacted the librarian, Chris Dodge, and inquired about the possibility of doing an internship there. They didn't have anything formal set up for library students, but he was really interested in having an intern, and I wasn't the first one to approach him. However, I was the first to actually set up an internship and complete one there (for librarianship)!

How much interaction did you have with your supervisor?

I felt that I had a lot of interaction with my supervisor. Not only did we have regular times where we talked, but Chris was amazingly generous with his time, and always willing to talk with me whenever I had any questions (which I had a ton of).

What kinds of things did you get to do?

I got to do just about everything that would happen in a regular library. Having said that, however, I spent most of my time sending out requests to publishers for sample issues of their journals that the Utne was not currently receiving. I also got to: catalog, develop the collection development policy, select books, conduct research, and I think I even did a reader's advisory!

What did you learn during the experience?

I think the biggest thing I learned was that even though my supervisor is a solo librarian, he does not work alone. Perhaps the most effective librarians are extremely well networked; every time we had a question, he knew exactly who to go to so that our question could be answered.

What kind of training did you receive?

Mostly I received "seat-of-the-pants" librarianship training. Due to the nature of the environment, many of the things I had been learning at school did not prepare me too well for Utne's environment. Their technology was considerably different and not as sophisticated as what had been learning at school; perhaps being flexible and learning quickly are two of the biggest things I learned from my fieldwork.

Do you feel that this experience has helped prepare you for work in a professional setting?

Yes, I did feel this experience helped me prepare for a professional setting. It was good to see how the theories I had been learning apply in "real life" and I felt that my choice to come back to school for this particular field was greatly validated.

Did this experience make you want to take any additional coursework or
seek additional training?

While I know many other students felt clearer about the path they needed to take educationally to prepare themselves for the professional world, I sadly did not get any clearer about what courses I needed to take.

Any advice to other students seeking fieldwork experiences?

Figure out what you are passionate about and find out how you can get a fieldwork that involves your passion

Submissions Requested

Are you interested in sharing your knowledge with the rest of the student body? Have you attended any conferences or taken an interesting or worthwhile class outside of the department? Would you care to review nearby bars for us? Send your Silverfish submissions to Ariel Johnson or John Buell.

Edited by Ariel Johnson and John W.N. Buell

Silverfish Web Design by John W.N. Buell