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Tag Archives: library science

I can see the finish line, y’all.

I’m a week (roughly) from the end of my first semester of my MLS. Two big papers, one little paper, and it’s done. I’ll be 1/4 of the way to my Master’s degree.

It’s been odd doing this in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak, since the library closures have meant that I’ve had way more time at home than I would’ve initially expected. On the other hand, though, it’s given me great insight into how libraries handle a pandemic, both good and bad.

I’m trying to decide if I feel like I’ve learned a lot. Because I’ve worked in libraries for 14 years or so, there was a lot of overlap with my existing knowledge base. I’ve learned stuff about specifics of library science that I didn’t know in the same way before taking these classes, though. I’m glad that I’m pushing for this degree right now. I know that the working world I’ll return to after COVID-19 is not going to be the same one that I left. Still, I want to be striving for something by way of professional development. I look forward to advancing my career, and I look forward to my classes that I’m registered for in the fall.

Time to wrap this up.

In which I am supposed to leave my home only for the essentials.

I’m in the 4th week of not working, and it’s more than a little surreal. My library has been closed since the middle of March due to COVID-19. In the last few days, I’ve played on the backyard swing set and slide with my kids, shoveled 4 – 5 inches of snow off of my and my neighbor’s driveway, read a couple of books, re-dyed my hair (thanks, V), participated in a couple of games of D&D online, soloed the last few missions of Halo 4 on Heroic, maintained my elliptical running schedule, and done some baking.

But I’m keeping up with my grad school stuff, first and foremost. 

It’s kind of fun, because a lot of the information from my classes has places where it overlaps. At this stage in the semester, I’ve been able to cycle through some material faster because I’ve already covered a form of it in a different class. 

Oh, and I’ve registered for classes for the fall, too. Right now, I’m signed up for a library admin/management class, a class on integrated systems in libraries, and a course about literature and young adults. I’m pretty psyched for the YA class, because it will be my first elective! If all goes well, I’ll have knocked out all but one of my required classes within my first two semesters. That’s pretty exciting. Oh, and the integrated systems class is a half semester course, too. It’ll be a front-loaded semester, but once I’m halfway through, it’ll ease up a lot going into the winter break. On top of all of that, one of my classes is supposed to be with a professor I currently have. It’s shaping up to be a really good semester. 

Our governor has ordered residents to stay home whenever possible until at least April 26th, so I know that I have at least two more full weeks of quarantine ahead of me. I’m going to try to knuckle down and get through the last few weeks of the school year. My semester ends on May first. Holy shit, my semester ends on May first… Uh… Anyway…

After that, I may have some free time for whatever again. I’m trying to read/write more, but I always say that. I always mean it, too. 

But tonight, it’s late, and I’ve got to help teach/grade some homeschool stuff for my stepdaughters in the morning. Gonna go curl up in bed with a non-textbook and fall asleep. 

In February of last year, I got the chance to spend a week aboard the USS John C. Stennis, and to my great joy I found the ship’s library in my wanderings of the corridors. This opened my eyes to the surprisingly high number of libraries that exist on ships around the world. Apparently even the Titanic had two different libraries on board. This has made me think about some of the opportunities that would be available to someone who has a Masters of Library Science degree. After all, cruise ships need librarians too… I could work on my tan AND help to educate the masses. There are similar libraries everywhere. This is twenty different kinds of motivating to continue my education. Travel the world without leaving your favorite books behind. Hell, even the Semester At Sea program has opportunities for librarians to serve on their ships.

The MLS degree is still far more relevant than a lot of people think. This article from the American Library Association discusses the outlook for the degree, in contrast to a Forbes article which listed it as one of the worst choices for grad school programs. It may not be the best job line from a purely financial perspective, but, like teaching, librarianship is something people do because they love to do it, not because they want to get rich.

I’m looking at my school options for an MLS degree. I’d like to go back to school this fall, and there are two different programs that I’m considering, both of which are 100% online. I know that it’s something that I’ve talked about for a while now, so it’s time for my words to become my actions. Who knows, maybe I’ll find myself running one of those mobile libraries in the not-so-distant future.

Since my physical dictionary is still in a cardboard box somewhere (ugh), I’ll have to resort to web sources for this one. Dictionary.com defines a librarian as “a person trained in library science and engaged in library service.” At this point in my life, the term does not directly apply to me. I’m a library clerk, merely a person engaged in library service. The training is still severely lacking, and there’s this piece of paper with a few words on it, like master, library, science, and my name that is still at least two years away. I’m not a librarian. Not yet. It’s a goal, though, and it’s one that I’ve grown more and more serious about in the last few years. One of my coworkers has described it as catching the “library bug” and wanting to get more involved.

My background is filled with books. My parents both read to me and my sisters while we were getting ready for bed. As I was growing up, I would frequently visit the local public library, a site that still plays into a great deal of my writing. We would have story time there, and my sisters and friends and I would always participate in the summer reading program. There was a small local bookstore owned by a couple (quite literally, as they were married at the time) of the teachers that we’d visit on occasion. When they decided that they didn’t want to run it anymore, my parents stepped in and bought it so that there would still be a bookstore in town. After that, the bookstore was my after-school hangout of choice, though I would still stop by the library on the way there. I couldn’t get enough books. I devoured everything that came into my reach.

That’s one of the few things about me that hasn’t changed as I’ve grown older. I love books, and I want to be around them whenever possible. That’s what drew me to work in libraries and bookstores. It’s why I interned for a literary agency, and it’s why I started this blog. I read because I want to read, and I write because I want to write. It’s been said that one should write the book they want to read. That’s very true. I’m going to bathe my life in ink and clothe it in parchment.

I’m going to become a librarian. There’s no doubt of that in my mind. Right now, I just need to be able to support myself and get signed up for the GRE. I’m not looking forward to the test itself, or to the couple of years of grad school that the advanced degree will require, but I am looking forward to finding a way to maintain libraries into the future. I want the world to be a safe place for readers and writers alike, and I want them to know that their work will always have some refuge. Besides, for a writer, what better day job could there be?