DISCUSSION: What it’s like to work at a library

Hello everyone! I’ve been so flaky on here lately and I APOLOGIZE. Life has been hectic to say the least. New baby, new job…you know how it goes. But everything’s good and everyone’s good and I’m finally ready to share a new part of my life with you!

I just started a part-time job at my local public library and I LOVE IT. I’d been sitting on my MLS for a couple of years without doing anything with it because I already had a full-time job with great benefits and I wasn’t finding any comparable library jobs opening up in my area. Then I had my baby and I’ve been concentrating on that for a bit. In September, I saw a listing for a part-time Librarian position and it felt like good timing for me to go back to work so I applied and I got it! I started at the end of September so I’ve only been working for a couple of months, but it’s been a really great experience so far.

Right now I’m working 24 hours a week as an Adult/Teen Services & Reference Librarian. Here are some of my day-to-day duties:

  • Reference desk – This consists of helping patrons face-to-face with questions or problems they may have, book recommendations, selling internet passes, and scheduling our private study rooms.
  • Collection Development – I’m over the 900s which is mostly Travel and History. I’m in charge of maintaining the collection and purchasing new materials.
  • Various library teams – I’m currently on teams for Supplies, Inter-Library Loans, and Booklists.
  • Programming – I have yet to do any programming, but my first active teen program is scheduled for February. I’ll also be doing some family programming.
  • Professional Development/Training – My manager puts out a job chart every month with various tasks like exploring our Special Collections, making sure we know how to use various services that we provide, etc.

One of the big things that stood out to me with this library is that all librarians, even the part-timers like me, are over a collection. I think that’s so cool! I’ve loved everything that I’ve been asked to do so far, but I’m a little nervous about doing programs. I’m not really a “stand at the front of the room” kind of person…so we’ll see how that goes.

Now I’ll toss it over to you guys, do you have any questions about what it’s like to work in a library? Or, if you also work in a library, what has it been like for you?
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Do you want to be a librarian?

Hello everyone! I don’t usually post stuff like this, but I just wanted to get this information out there for anyone interested. Before I started this blog I had no idea how exactly one goes about becoming a librarian. Honestly, I didn’t even know that I might want to be one! After joining the book blogging community, I noticed a few bloggers mentioning MLS degrees and classes. I thought to myself, “What is this mysterious degree?” It turns out MLS stands for Masters of Library Science which is a degree that you need if you want to become a librarian. I know! I had NO IDEA that librarians had to get a specific Masters degree!

Anyway, after finding out about this glorious degree and feeling that it was the right path for me, I looked into and applied to a few different programs across the country. I started school last fall and will be done this December (fingers crossed!). One awesome thing about the MLS is that a lot of schools have this degree 100% online! That meant that I could keep the job I already had plus I could start school. I’m currently working part time (28 hours a week) and going to school technically full-time (3 classes per semester, 2 classes per term). So far I’ve been loving it! It’s been hard for sure to find the balance between work, school, and personal life, but I’m excited with how quickly my progress has been towards getting this degree.

So here’s a little advice that I would give to anyone who is possibly interested in this degree.

  • It doesn’t matter what your undergraduate was in. My undergrad was Economics with a minor in Math–definitely unrelated. As long as you like books and feel passionate about the library’s role in society, you should be good.
  • Different schools require different things when applying. Some want you to have an interview, some have you take the GRE or GMAT, some require you to come to campus for an orientation, and they’re all different prices as well. So just pick the one that works for you! I personally went for one that didn’t require an interview, test (as long as your undergrad GPA was high enough), or on-campus orientation. In the end I think I had to send in transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a cover letter, and the online application.
  • Different schools have different classes and offer different specializations. Since I read a lot of YA, I decided to look into a Teen Services Specialization. Some schools didn’t have that and some did–so that’s something to think about. A lot of times you can find a list of the courses a school offers online. Find the one that has classes or a specialization you’re interested in!
  • If you don’t feel confident in your ability to be a self-starter or if you have a lot of other obligations on your time, online may not be the best route for you. You really do have to be on top of assignments and making sure you’re getting the readings done. With no face-to-face class time, there’s less accountability throughout the semester.

With all that being said, it’s been a really great experience for me. This is an email I was sent today and was asked to forward it to anyone who was interested:

Interested in obtaining your MLS degree 100% online?

Starting as early as this fall?

The IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI is taking applications until July 15.

The Master of Library Science program, accredited by the American Library Association (ALA-MLS) is the entry degree for a professional librarian, universally required for professionals in academic libraries; essential for leadership in public libraries; provides valuable information and management skills for people who advance information connections in a variety of organizations, public, private, and non-profit.

Admissions Information

Online application

Plans of Study

Questions?  Feel free to contact me!

Elizabeth Bunge

Graduate Program Coordinator

Indiana University

School of Informatics and Computing-Indianapolis

535 W. Michigan St.

IT 476

Indianapolis, IN  46202-3103

Phone:  317-278-9200

http://soic.iupui.edu

HW ASSIGNMENT: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Hello everyone! I just wanted to give you a taste of the kind of thing that I’m doing in one of my MLS courses. This week we were assigned to read a Newbery Award winning book and I chose The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I won’t get into all the requirements for our discussion posts, but this is my finished assignment. (Note: This post was intended to be read by others who had already read the book thus, there are spoilers).cover

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate details the life of Ivan, a silverback gorilla living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. At the beginning of the book, Ivan seems content with his life. He has a nice domain with a painted jungle scene on one wall. He has friends and a TV and a tire swing. But when Ruby—a new elephant—arrives, he starts to realize that he may not be as happy as he thought.

Giving the animals human characteristics helps the reader to relate to them. Kids especially will relate because they probably understand as much as Ivan does about adult humans. His narration is always very simple and literal: “It’s almost morning when I hear steps. It’s Mack. He has a sharp smell. He weaves as he walks. He stands next to my domain. His eyes are red. He is staring out the window at the empty parking lot” (147). Ivan doesn’t understand that Mack is drunk, but he describes what he sees and smells. Mack smells different, he’s not walking straight, and his eyes are red. In the same way, a child could notice these same things about an adult and also not understand what they mean.

Ivan goes on to experience other things that children often experience: moving, losing old friends, and trying to make new ones. When Ivan first arrives at the zoo, he feels lonely, afraid, and questions his identity. “I have no visitors here, no sticky-fingered children or weary parents. . . . I wonder if I have stopped being famous” (265). He also finds it difficult to make friends with the other gorillas at first. Over time Ivan begins to get used to his new habitat. He still misses his old home, but he’s happy where he is. Children will be able to see that even though Ivan is in a new place, he is still able to be happy.

Many authors have used animal characters with human characteristics as the focus of their book. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater is another Newbery Award winning book where animals are raised outside of their natural habitat. In the book, Mr. Popper trains his penguins to perform and put on shows. Another book about animals with human qualities is The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. Louis, the main character, is a swan who learns how to read, write, and even play the trumpet.

While The One and Only Ivan is a fictional story, the author explains that this story is based off of a gorilla named Ivan who was raised alone in captivity for twenty-seven years. He was eventually moved to Zoo Atlanta where he lived until 2012 when he died at the age of fifty. His story can be found at the Zoo Atlanta website. Knowing that a real gorilla lived some of the same events as the fictional Ivan really helps to bring the story to life.