IST-511 Day One: The basics and information retrieval

I confess I am having a little trouble with this blogging assignment; write one or two paragraphs each day about your experiences. It sounds easy enough, but these are no ordinary days. We are earning four credits in seven days, which means each day we learn about two weeks’ worth of material. How do I summarize that in a few lines? If I mention everything that happened, it’s hard to accurately convey a true representation of any one activity or lecture. If I concentrate on one experience, I leave many important things out altogether.

Today was the first day of the LIS Gateway course. This is a smaller group whose interests, in theory at least, relate a bit more closely to my own. It is also a “smaller” class: less of the 50,000 foot view, more of the dirty everyday business of being a librarian, or at least a library graduate student. We learned the basics about our course of study over the next few years; we discussed the information information life cycle; and we went over our graduation requirements and optimal course scheduling.

We also actually met some real-life librarians. To me this was the highlight of the day. I was told after listening to them speak about public libraries (today’s topic) I would want to become a public librarian myself. This did not happen. I still prefer the academic and digital sides of the profession, when I’m not thinking about what it would take to become a library school instructor. Now there’s a group that seems to be having fun. What I took away from today’s guests was not how great public libraries are (and they are great), but the joy that comes from following one’s passion. This has been a common theme so far this trip, as well as in talking to various people back home who are connected to librarianship. These are people who seem to really enjoy what they do, no matter the roadblocks and annoyances in their way. They seem energized and excited by their work, and they seem eager to share that energy and that excitement with those around them.  This was what I was looking for when I decided to pursue an MLIS degree: a career I could be passionate about. I’m starting to think I may actually have made the right choice.

Of course, tomorrow we spend the morning talking about copyright law. We’ll see how I feel after that.

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