Back To School

Fall is one of my favorite seasons.

We’re off to a new school year. For some of us who are still in school (or work at one), this is a fun/busy time as we all get back into the swing of things. Lately, there have been some excellent posts with advice to the new library school student. Andy Woodworth wrote a great post to the MLS Class of 2013 and over at HackLibSchool, the Library School Starter Kit has a TON of tips and advice for the library school n00b. Seriously, I wish I was more plugged into the library world last year when I was just starting. I really had no clue about the wealth of knowledge and great community that existed out in the interwebs. I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on where I have come from a year ago. For any new library school students, I hope they can learn from some of my mistakes.


A year ago, I sat in a new student orientation. I had recently moved to Indianapolis from California and was adjusting to my new settings. I will admit that I did not do a lot of research into the online library community before I started school. It didn’t even occur to me to do that, because I was a very low tech, not plugged in person. I used Facebook and that’s about it. I didn’t even know what an RSS feed was, I didn’t read any blogs except for webcomics, I didn’t know that Twitter had any purpose, I didn’t know that writing in a blog would be therapeutic, I didn’t know what “the cloud” was. Really, I did not know a lot. In fact, it took me quite awhile to get to where I am now. My remedial tech skills class taught me what Google Reader was, and forced me to go out and find library blogs. From there, I was able to find a way to connect to the online library community. After forgetting my flash drive at school MULTIPLE times, I figured out what Google Docs was. I have had a Gmail account for a couple of years and I did not use it to it’s full power until a year ago. This is so shameful. But from this shame and all these mistakes, I grew and I learned. Yay for life long learning!

I learned that it would be important for me to connect with the library world. This means keeping up with current events, finding librarians and library school students on social media and going to conferences. No, you don’t have to join Twitter, there are plenty of librarians and library groups on Facebook too. Even Linked In is a great place to connect with other professionals. I can’t stress how important connecting and staying current with the field is. Every library school student should be doing this, because we are so fortunate to be in a field with many people who are willing to help and answer questions. As a student, we have so many duties and obligations to our studies and our jobs; but taking the time out to just see what’s happening in the library world really enriches what you bring into the classroom and your job.

I have come a long way from where I started a year ago and a large part of it was just trying to be more active in the library world. I know that this year things will change even more dramatically but that’s another blog post. What have you guys learned from the start of your library school experience? Any other tips you want to add?

6 thoughts on “Back To School

  1. first-time-visitor-alert!
    I found your blog through the hacklibschool blog which I found through my course blog recommended by one of our lecturers.
    I’m writing to you from Melbourne Australia, sitting at my desk here at work at the academic library I work at and I’ve also just started postgraduate studies in Information Management. I’m very new to the library world and my BA is in English Literature so I’m learning new library related things everyday!
    I agree with you that we need to stay connected and reach out to other like minded people and I too didn’t know what all those things that you didn’t know were but as willing as i am to struggle with my busy life and make time for recreationally learning new library things, i am also a bit hesitant…worried perhaps…that what i find will be too technical and jargony and I’d end up bored and insecure. So, yes! I’m very happy to have found your blog and discover you’re normal 😛

  2. I definitely did not use my Gmail account to its full potential until this year. I never stored anything as a Google doc until a few months ago. Truth be told, I started because I was bored at work and I wanted to write a little more in a story I was working on but I couldn’t remember where I left off. So that night I uploaded a few in-process pieces as Google docs for myself so I could write from anywhere I have Internet access. My only concern now is the digital rights of my stuff but I kind of figure I’m small time and inconsequential enough that no one’s paying too much attention to what I’m doing when I should be working!

  3. Enjoyed this post, and not just because fall is my favorite season too! 🙂 I’m about three weeks into my first semester of library school. I already love my Google Docs account! 🙂

  4. Great recommendations! As an MLS student at the end of her academic career (at least this chapter), I also recommend talking to your fellow students. I was so afraid of appearing “unprofessional” at first, that I held back a little. After getting a better feel for the environment, listening, and evaluating, I speak up more often.

    Also, join ALA. It’s expensive, but the listservs have helped me find out about my areas of interest. It also helps to go to conferences with the ALA student discount. Meet lots of people; wear tiaras to conference parties; and have fun learning.

  5. This is my first time visiting your blog, but I think I already follow you on Twitter. I want to hear more about your experience at IU Bloomington because I applied to their program recently. I know your main campus isn’t Bloomington though, but anything would be helpful.

    Do you know other MLS students who blog and attend the Bloomington campus?

    • Let me see who else goes to Bloomington. Are you moving from out of state? You would really love Bloomington, it’s a beautiful campus and really great student body. There is a library for every school which means ample opportunity for a SLIS student to work at a specialized library! Keep in touch! I will try and put you in contact with more Bloomington folks!

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