Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reflections and questions

I worked two years as a children's librarian in a public library before starting my MLIS course work at Pitt, sorry, the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to beginning classes, I did not know anyone attending grad school for library science and was clueless as to what it might entail. I did know that to move forward with working in a library, be it academic, school, or public, I would need the library science degree.

While attending Pitt, I was blessed with Mary Kay Biagini, as an advisor and a library science faculty willing to patiently answer my unending questions. I can not count how many times I visited Arlene Taylor for help while taking Organizing Information. I still remember how Susan Alman helped me get my first job interview and has continued to field questions five years after graduation. Missy Harvey, computer science librarian at Carnegie Mellon University, taught the required technology class and after graduation email to Missy helped me create the first IRC web page and laid the foundation for continued web work. Margaret Kimmel taught children's literature courses and in one we were required to write a book review every week. When beginning the IRC Book Review Blog, I went back through my notes to refresh my memory concerning what I hope are well written reviews. Lastly, I did my student teaching practicum at Penn Hills Senior High School under the direction of Sally Myers who is now the Secondary Technology Coordinator, Penn Hills School District. I can only hope to be as good at my job as she was at hers. Like Sue Alman, Sally was someone who helped me get a school library job interview.

This short trip down memory lane serves two purposes; a reminder of how wonderful these people were during my schooling and to illustrate why I am an email sounding board for a friend who is a recent MLIS graduate. I had support, but did not have someone already in the profession to whom I could ask more questions. I continue to be surprised the number, quality, and thoughtfulness of the questions he asks me as he considers academic librarianship as a career path. With an email from him in my in-box at home, I am going to ask permission to post some of his recent inquiries here. He's not the only newbie with these questions and it might be nice to get other opinions on topics we have discussed because quite honestly, I get as much from the exchanges as he does.

At this point, he may now be looking at this post saying "No way, Diane." My mistake for sending him this blog address, but we'll see.

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1 comment:

Rebecca B. said...

I thought I would add a comment to Diane's thoughtful post. I think it's a great post because it raises the issue of mentorship in librarianship. As a first-year librarian, I have definitely found myself with millions of questions and while my colleagues have been amazingly receptive and patient, it would've been nice to have a big brother/sister in the profession that was not connected directly to my library to pepper with these questions. I, along with many new librarians, have the feeling of being thrown into the deep-end of the pool and being told to swim. Librarianship seems to me to be 10% what you learn in library school and 90% how you interpret and combine that knowledge with what you learn on the job.