Survival Tips for LIS Education (Updated)

In my LIS701: Introduction to Library and Information Science classes, we read Rachel Singer Gordon’s The NextGen Librarian’s Survival Guide. Last night we had discussion built around various chapters:

Gordon notes that new MLS students are moving into a profession and an educational system in transition in Chapter 2. What struck you in the chapters you read: what is changing? How might your education be different than someone ten years ago? Brainstorm with your group a list of 5 survival tips for your library education. We’ll share them and create a master list.

Here is the list from my Monday night class:

Ask questions

Network with students and faculty

Get experience before you graduate

Be proactive

Be flexible

Visit different types of libraries to decide where you’d like to work

Don’t let theory overwhelm you, see the connection between theory and practice

Learn the organizational structure of libraries

Explore new technologies – try it, don’t buy it

Find out about various organizations and associations

Seek out additional resources, such as blogs, professional publications, etc, in your coursework

Be knowledgeable, be a lifetime learner

Pace yourself with scheduling

Stay up on library news

Seek out advice from those already in the profession

Keep positive a outlook

Tuesdat Night LIS701

Keep current with computers and technology

Develop critical thinking skills

Gain experience in a library

Be open-minded

Be creative

Lose the stereotypes you have about librarians and libraries

Look at the syllabus before you register

Use your time wisely

Find a mentor or talk with someone in the field

Get involved with student associations and interact with your peers

Use course management systems to share and find help

Don’t abuse student loans

Develop your people skills

What would you add?

(Note: These are first semester students, some working in libraries, some not.)

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6 thoughts on “Survival Tips for LIS Education (Updated)”

  1. I think these are some great survival tips. As a current MLS student, my only suggestion would be to change “network with students and faculty” to “network with students” and add “get to know the faculty.” Different professors can make or break your experience, and it is important (and exptremely helpful) to find someone who can act as a mentor and advisor.

  2. I recently complete library school, going part time. These tips are all good, and some of the items are difficult to pull off if you are going part time. So I guess I’d add “Go to school full time if you can, and if you can’t this list is doubly important.”

  3. One big thing that helped me not just survive but thrive in lib school and which I would heartily encourage is this: Present, present, present. Every opportunity you have — and there will be many — be the one in your group to get out there and present the ideas. Be provocative and confident and take the questions and the criticisms, then make sure you learn the lessons for your next one. Read Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen blog and Edward Tufte’s books and Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points and make yourself a communication machine. The benefits are immediate, tangible, pervasive, and lasting.

  4. I’d add join a professional association. The student rate is always a lot less than a regular membership and it provides great networking opportunities!

  5. I wish I had read these long before my last month of library school. I’d like to add: Go to a professional conference – they are inspiring. Get involved with a student organization or student government to help you feel connected to something larger. Go out with classmates for some fun every once and awhile to form sustaining friendships you can call on during finals week.

  6. I think it is important to remember that your time in library school is short. Build meaningful connections with people. Remember the whole reason that the faculty and administration is there is for you. Don’t be afraid to engage these people in conversation.

    Oh, and be willing to lend a hand to those students who come after you.

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