Final Reflections

The end is here……I can’t believe it. I survived semester one of graduate school! What’s my reward? “Megan you may now proceed with caution to semester two of graduate school”.

I feel like this semester has been a whirlwind, from which I have learned a lot. One major thing I have learned is….soak up all of the technology classes I can while I am here at Wayne. Technology is NOT going away, so best to become a master at it to make myself marketable once I am out of the student bubble.

My understanding of what an information professional is has completely changed since I began here in August. Initially I thought that libraries were the primary place of employment I would be looking to after graduation. However, after this class, libraries are really the jumping off point as far as careers go, there are museums, archives, information agencies….this degree is incredibly versatile and that is something I am truly thrilled about.

Ultimately I hope this is what people say after they encounter me or this blog,

Flostim (2011, May 18). The Worst Thing About Her. Retrieved December 8, 2013 from

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Revisiting Assumptions/Assertions about LIS

I had two main assumptions in my first blog entry,

Number One:

My main assumption about libraries is that they will always be vital to communities. No matter the economic situation, libraries will always be essential in bettering communities. Simply put, they are integral to people. To have such open access to a great wealth of information is a true value that every community deserves to have.

I still strongly believe that libraries will always be vital to communities. However thanks to class and to my colleagues I can see why they will always be vital. Not everyone owns a computer or has access to healthcare or tax information. Libraries are truly information hubs for the community, no matter what the particular patron’s standing is, the library has resources readily available to he/she that they may not be able to access within their own home. Libraries are also an incredible resource for the homeless in regards to helping them to get back on their feet.

Number Two:

My other assumption in regards to libraries is that no matter what technological advancements are made, people (i.e. librarians) will always be indispensable to communities. Yes, with the invention of tablets there may be less of a need for some individuals to go to the library as often as they used to. However there will always be a need for people to have access to information, whether it be a new novel or assistance filling out government forms. Librarians will always be essential in helping patrons get to where they need to be by giving them access to the tools they need to arrive there.

I also still believe in this assumption, albeit with a new caveat, librarians need to be strongly familiar with new technologies in order to remain relevant and to help their patrons. Technologies are constantly evolving and librarians need to stay current on their learnings in order to best serve their community. While I still agree with my original assertion, that librarians will never be replaced by technology, I do think they need to be aware of and up to date with technology.

My professor and classmates really helped me to see this semester how vital libraries are to their communities and how important it is for library staff to remain current on their technology training. The best way to stay relevant in this community is to possess as much knowledge as you can.

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Blogging About Professional Blogs

The Handheld Librarian

The Handheld Librarian is the first professional librarian blog I followed and I really enjoyed it. This blog touched on a lot of issues we discussed in class and in the think tanks. The primary focus points of the blog are digital libraries, e-books, and various e-book/textbook deals currently going on. There are a few different librarians that contribute to this blog. I would say the main audience are all information professionals and library students – it is very relevant with all the current e-book deals going on. The two most interesting issues I found in this blog were, how ridiculously expensive e-books are for libraries and how the idea of having an all-digital library is no longer such a far off idea. One of the most intriguing posts had to do with textbooks, and despite all of the posts and research the contributors on this blog had done about e-books and e-readers, a poll still showed that the majority (75% of people) still prefer a physical book, especially in terms of textbooks. Personally I love reading books on my Kindle but when it comes to textbooks I have to admit I do fall into that 75% majority of those who prefer the physical copy. Overall, I really enjoyed this blog and found it particularly relevant, especially now that libraries are in a constant debate between buying e-books and physical books.

The Gypsy Librarian

The Gypsy Librarian is written by Angel Rivera, he is an academic librarian who in the past was a high school teacher as well as an adjunct college instructor. As you may have guessed from the title, Mr. Rivera writes about his travels as well as the articles he reads (so we don’t have to) and summarizes their important intel. He wrote a great deal about different book reviewing sites, in particular Amazon and Goodreads which I found very interesting (because I am a big fan of both websites). An interesting point was made that he uses neither of these websites for collection development due to their selling out. It is difficult to trust a website whose sole purpose is profit (I’m looking at you amazon!). An interesting concept of this blog, (and a recurring theme) is the notion that one picks up information anywhere, even at the supermarket. The bounds for which people find information are endless and that is a topic that Angel Rivera really makes a point of spreading. This blog was a little bit drier in comparison to the first blog I looked at, due to the large number of academic articles he summarizes. I think the audience of this blog would be primarily school and academic librarians. However all information professionals could really benefit from reading it.

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Mid-Semester Analysis and Reflections

I cannot believe how quickly the time went by this semester. I feel like time moved at hyper speed. After being away from school for a few years, it was refreshing to come back and be genuinely interested in what I was reading and researching. I feel like I am moving towards a very obtainable goal (an actual career! Hurrah!!!) and I cannot wait to reach the finish line. Earlier in my blog I was a bit hesitant when writing due to the uncertainty I felt concerning what I wanted to focus on….at first it was Archives but now it’s up in the air until I take a few more classes… at the moment I am leaning towards Information Management for the versatility that it offers. While I am still unsure of what certificate I would like to eventually obtain, this class has helped me to be more firm in my wanting to work in either a public or an academic library setting (hopefully both).

The nature of my posts has certainly evolved over the course of the semester. Over the last couple of months I have gained more confidence in my knowledge of libraries and information in general. I am more certain of wanting to work in public and/or academic libraries. The job analysis blog assignment really helped me; seeing what jobs are out there and how I have to prepare to eventually be considered for them really struck a chord. It is definitely better to start looking at these job postings now, in the beginning of my studies while I still have the time to rearrange my courses and tailor myself for the current working environment of librarians and information ninjas. One major reoccurring theme in my blog entries is the fact that after all of this time, I am really hungry for a career. I am tired of jobs, I want something that I am passionate about. I want to look forward to my alarm going off, not dread it (if that is even a possibility…I am really not a morning person!).

One disconcerting item that I posted early in my blog is that librarians will always be vital to communities, no matter what the technological advancements are. Now of course I still believe that statement, however I would like to make an amendment to it. Librarians will always be vital to the community as long as they are as informed about current technologies as their patrons need them to be. One major thing that I have learned from this class is that constantly educating yourself is incredibly important in this field. It keeps you relevant and vital in your job position. Webinars, classes, conferences, they all aid in keeping librarians as educated and informed as their community needs them to be. As information ninjas, we need to be one step ahead of our patrons so that we can offer them the best service. Overall, I am really looking forward to seeing what comes next in my studies at Wayne.

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Job Analysis Part Two

The eagerly awaited sequel to Job Analysis One!

Dream job identified: Head of Special Collections, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries.

How the heck do I get there?


Or more specifically….

First I absolutely have to do what I came to Wayne State to do and that is, get my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Once I cross that off the list there are still many things that I would need to do to even have my resume read by the people filling this job posting. Networking. I think this would help considerably, getting my name and credentials out there to the right people so that the people making the hiring decisions for this job know my name and know that I am worthy of a second look. In addition to my MLIS, an archival certificate would be very important for this job. I would need many skills for this job, including, verbal, communication, interpersonal, supervisory, analytical and last but not least… work skills. The interpersonal and supervisory skills I feel can be learned from on the job experience, after obtaining my degree and working in an academic library, special collection or archive setting for a few years, I feel that I would acquire the necessary interpersonal, analytical and supervisory skills needed for this position. Also making the most of my time at Wayne State and learning some grant writing skills would be really helpful for this job, especially when trying to acquire new collections.

Another major qualification that I lack is specific knowledge for handling special collections and archiving in general…..I am looking to Wayne State to help me with my deficiency here. As I continue to complete courses I feel that this issue will resolve itself. I will eventually become familiar with the endless acronyms that accompany the Library profession. For instance, this job requires knowledge of EAD, Dublin Core and USMARC, which initially looked like a bunch of misspelled words to me, but actually they serve a major function to this profession (light bulb goes off – imagine that!). After doing some research I learned that both of these acronyms and Dublin Core have to do with archiving and processing special collections. Getting an archival certificate would help me to develop a thorough knowledge of these processes.

Now the daunting question…..which of these skills do I currently possess? To be honest, not many! At this point I could possibly be the secretary for the Head of Special Collections (if they would be so kind). Currently, I feel that I possess the skills to work on a team, also I would consider my communication, verbal and interpersonal skills to be of a professional caliber. Of course there is always room for improvement, but I feel that I possess those skills strongly as of right now. The others I can work on while I study at Wayne State. A lot of the skills that this job calls for I imagine I will acquire when I do my practicum. While classes will surely help me to become more professional, ultimately I feel that on the job experience is what will set me apart and give me credibility so that someday I can apply for thought-provoking jobs such as this one.

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Job Analysis Part One

Head of Special Collections (Full-Time)

University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries


The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries is seeking a dynamic, energetic Head for Special Collections. This position is responsible for the effective administration of the Special Collections Department and oversees the department’s daily operations, contributes to the Libraries’ strategic processes, and facilitates collaborations throughout the Libraries and across the university. The department head exercises administrative leadership for the Special Collections Department which includes manuscripts, photographs, rare books, university archives, and born-digital content; leads efforts to incorporate these collections into the study, teaching, and research of students, faculty, and outside scholars.


  • Required Qualifications:  ALA accredited Master’s degree from an accredited institution.   Five years of successful and increasingly responsible professional experience in archives and/or special collections. Demonstrated supervisory experience; excellent analytical, interpersonal and communication skills, both verbally and written; demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with other library units, all levels of university personnel and a diverse donor base; ability to work with donors and attract new collections; knowledge of standards such as USMARC, EAD, and Dublin Core; and knowledge of digital preservation standards.
  • Preferred Qualifications: Additional certification in archives or special collections; progressively responsible experience with all aspects of archival/special collections work to include processing, reference, appraisal, basic preservation, digitization, digital preservation, and donor relations and the ability to collaborate with other library staff and UTSA faculty. Three or more years supervisory experience.


52,140 – 75,636 USD/year

There is nothing like starting at the very top for a dream job. The job I have chosen for my analysis is the Head of Special Collections at the University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries. I think that this job sounds absolutely amazing. It combines an academic library setting with special collections which I think would be a very exciting prospective job to have. Off the cuff, I am far from qualified for this position. I view this position as being the ultimate…it is not obtainable yet, but after five or ten years of working and gaining experience, it would be something to strive for.

Which brings us to the required qualifications for this position, first and foremost an ALA accredited Master’s degree from an accredited institution…give me two or three years and I will possess one of those, also known as the “golden key” to any library job. The next requirement is five years in an archival or special collections environment with growing responsibilities; since I am not quite sure whether I would like to pursue an archival certificate or not I would fill this requirement by getting a job in a special collection…this could come in the form of working in an academic library, a museum or right here at the DIA. I would prefer to work in an academic library setting, but I would really be happy working anywhere to gain that kind of specialized experience. I feel it would be a rewarding and unique experience to deal with special collections.

Other requirements for this position include, supervisory experience, analytical, interpersonal, verbal, written and communication skills and the ability to work with other library units. The supervisory experience I think would be gained through working in libraries after getting my degree and gaining more experience as I move up the totem pole. I feel that supervisory experience is a natural skill gleaned when moving up in the librarian world. In obtaining my Master’s degree I will hone my analytical and interpersonal skills as well as improve my communication and verbal skills. Through projects and classes I will no doubt gain analytical and written skills through papers and projects. After all, they have been hammering it into our heads since orientation, this program is all about team work and I know that is one skill that I will have in abundance after graduating from Wayne State. Another major skill in order to hold this position is the ability to work with donors and attract new collections, I think that learning the process of grant writing will help a great deal in acquiring this particular talent. I hope to pick up this skill while I am still at Wayne and build on it with the subsequent jobs I have after I graduate. Other skills required for this position include knowledge of USMARC, EAD, and Dublin Core, which I admit had me scratching my head. EAD I learned is Encoded Archival Description at the Library of Congress. USMARC is all about bibliographic information and how that data is in machine readable form in the US. There are three main USMARC communication formats which are authority data, holdings data and bibliographic data. Dublin Core is concerned with organizing and formatting metadata. I admit I am near clueless on these three things, but with more classes completed and on the job experience I feel that I will become more accustomed to these practices.

Overall, I am nowhere near qualified for this position. However I feel that after significant on the job experience (three to eight years) while moving up the totem pole, that I could eventually become a suitable candidate for this position. An archival certificate would probably help immeasurably as well in obtaining this job. This job could lead to a director position or lead anywhere really. To me this job would be the top, I hope that all of my studying, reading and working someday leads to a job like this.

Retrieved From:

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Professional Associations


For my first professional association, I have selected the American Library Association (ALA). One of the main reasons I have selected this association is that I really love their motto, which is “the best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost” (“Mission & Priorities”, 2013). I find this motto, simple, concise and all-encompassing of what the ALA is about. This is one of the main reasons I am getting into the field of library and information science, I want to get the best researching and reading materials to as many patrons as I can, whilst keeping the cost low for them.

The stated mission of the ALA is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all” (“Mission & Priorities” 2013). I especially like how this mission statement addresses that library and information science is constantly shifting and evolving, yet they (the ALA) is committed to the highest improvement of the profession and to always have their librarians continue learning and enhancing their communities with their knowledge. There are three types of membership in the ALA, Regular Student which is $33, Library Support Staff is $65 and a Trustee Membership is $100. The biggest benefit to being a member of the ALA is the networking, by joining you are able to network with countless other librarians and libraries. There are several conferences, forums and meetings through the ALA that will be of great help when entering the job field and I am looking to network. That kind of exposure is invaluable when starting off a library career. The ALA’s website is very informative, and they are very visible to the community. The primary activities of the American Library Association is to advocate for libraries and to keep them current and relevant within communities. They have many conferences and webinars throughout the year. Through the ALA you can find a job, apply for grants, and also attend webinars and forums to stay current on what is going on in the field. In conclusion, I hope one day (not too far in the future) to be a member of the American Library Association. I feel that being a member of the ALA could significantly enhance my (future) career.

The American Library Association. Retrieved From


For my second professional association, I have selected the Association of College and Research Libraries. I feel that this will be an important association to me because of my interest of someday working in Academic Libraries. The main mission of the ACRL is to “enhance the ability of academic library and information professionals to serve the information needs of the higher education community and to improve learning, teaching, and research” (“About ACRL”, 2013). The ACRL was made official in June, 1938. It was then that the ACRL had official bylaws and began to receive a portion of dues from the American Library Association. A first time membership for the ACRL costs $124 and a student membership is $72.

By being a member of the ACRL one has access to a bevy of resources. The ACRL essentially sets the benchmark for the level of services and programs in the profession of academic libraries; they ensure that everything is of the highest quality. By becoming a member one also has the opportunity to work on their leadership skills, publish, attend seminars, possibly win awards, go to conferences and garner recognition and exposure for their own library. Also by being a member you get access to their special journals which offer information on what is going on in the field and new products and databases being used. By being a member there is also the possibility of getting products and databases for your library at a discounted rate. One perk to membership that I find especially helpful is the mentoring program they offer, this would be especially useful to those just entering the field. I think it would be very beneficial professionally speaking to be a member of this association. To be exposed to so many perspectives in the specialized field of Academic Libraries would be worthwhile to any librarian working in a university library.

The Association of College and Research Libraries. Retrieved From


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