Life in Library School: Here We Go

I go to Hogwarts for library school.

Not really… But it kinda looks like it, doesn’t it?

I mentioned awhile back that I made the decision to go to library school, but the only hangup was trying to decide which program I wanted to put my sweat, blood, and tears into. After much deliberation I chose the University of Washington iSchool to pursue my MLIS (Masters in Library and Information Science, for those non-library types out there). I was in Seattle over the past week for orientation and will start classes this week, remotely.

Wheeeee….. Here we go!

I must confess over the summer I had become a bit cynical about going back to school. There’s been a lot of controversy about paraprofessionals vs. professionals in the library industry, and the troubling notion that the degree is not preparing librarians for the work force – not to mention the slim job market (like here and here and here). What was most concerning was how many librarians I’ve met over the past few years that were very ho-hum about their degrees. I heard a lot of, “Well, I did it because I had to.” or “The program I went to was terrible, but at least I have my degree.” responses. Was I about to put a huge amount of time into something that was just going to leave me with just a piece of paper?

I brought this up to my library director and he gave me some stellar advice. He said (paraphrased), “You get out of it what you put into it. Don’t be cynical. You’re going to a good program and you’re going to do great.” When did I get so down in the dumps? He’s right. I’m going to school to push myself and grow in my profession. Not because I have to or because I need a piece of paper to prove myself. I’m doing it to be more knowledgeable in my field and to better serve my community. So what if I happen to be 8 months pregnant. Sure it’s going to be tough, but I’m ready now.


“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” -Albus Dumbledore



7 Responses to “Life in Library School: Here We Go”

  1. What a wise director you have!! He is exactly spot on with his advice. You will be awesome!

  2. Melissa ZD says:

    You are going to rock this. You are lucky to be bringing a lot of experience to your studies, so just keep asking yourself how your studies can be about a new-to-you area of the profession, or add to what you already know, or broaden your current understanding. I had a great experience at a great program and draw on it and value it still, so anytime you need a little mid-way motivation, just let me know and I will pick up my pompoms!

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you for this note, Melissa. I have a feeling I will go back and read it several times throughout this experience. If I’m ever feeling a bit lost, I’ll channel you by putting on a pair of chucks and ask myself, “What would Mel do?” :)

  3. Cindy says:

    Rebecca, I have been reading SFCT since I happened upon it doing a search of “March Madness” and came upon your Tournament of Kids Books. I went back to school for my MLIS 22 years after receiving my BA in Elem. Ed, and raising 3 kids, I wish that I had done it sooner! I really didn’t find my love for the library until I started taking my kids there, so I have them to thank for where I am today, working as an elementary school library media specialist! No matter how much we know about our field, there is always something new to learn. It was fun taking classes online ‘at’ Rutgers, even though it was the most work that I have ever put into something. The great thing was that library people as you know are genuinely some of the best people on the planet, and that made it all worthwhile and helped me to get through. I wish you all the best!

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Cindy. Just yesterday I was trying to assemble a presentation with my daughter wanting to play every 10 minutes and I know my time is going to be even more stretched when the baby comes, but like you I don’t think I would have entered the library arena if it wasn’t for her. And I agree with you… I think librarians are some of the smartest, warm, and passionate people I’ve ever met. Thanks again! You made my weekend :)


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