The orientation was mostly just familiarizing new students with resources like D2L and PAWS, but the best part was meeting some of the school's faculty, including one of my professors for this semester. It was also amazing to talk to some of the faculty and other incoming students about the diversity of careers you can get with an MLIS degree that are not in the traditional library setting.
For example, assistant professor Donald Force uses his background in archival studies to help businesses with their record keeping to avoid legal issues. Another interesting professor I met was Jacques du Plessis. In addition to teaching multimedia and computer courses, Jacques also leads an annual study abroad trip to his homeland of South Africa where students learn about the roles of culture and technology in the access, use and interpretation of information – particularly how those roles play into raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.
The spring semester officially began yesterday, and I'm extremely excited to get started in my coursework. Here's a look at the four classes I will be taking this semester with descriptions from their syllabi:
Foundations of Library and Information Science (INFOST 501 – online): An introduction to the profession of Library and Information Science, this required MLIS course provides an historical framework and summary of the role of libraries and other information agencies in modern society, describes the general knowledge creation and distribution cycle, introduces major issues of information policy and ethics, provides examples of libraries, library types, other information institutions and introduces aspects of research and professional accomplishment and careers.
The Public Library (INFOST 736): This course explores the roles performed by public libraries in meeting educational, informational, recreational and cultural needs. Using a seminar format of reading and discussion, and drawing on the perspectives of guest speakers from the library field, the class will look at current and future challenges facing those in public library service. This course provides an overview and analysis of issues, trends and concerns relating to public libraries in the United States.
Library Materials for Young Adults (INFOST 646 – online ): This course offers criteria for evaluation and selection of materials for young adults, emphasizing current resources and techniques for reading guidance. Objectives for the course include determining who the adolescent is, what his or her needs are, what s/he wants to read and why; reading widely and critically books intended for and/or of interest to teenagers; becoming familiar with selection and evaluation tools for YA materials; exploring issues related to intellectual freedom and access to information in the YA environment.
Library Services for Children and Young Adults (INFOST 745 – online): This course serves as a foundation for developing, planning and programming library services to meet the needs and interests of children and young adults with particular attention to content and evaluation of literature for these groups. Successful library media and public library personnel whose responsibilities are in any way involved with the lives of children and young people must have knowledge of materials available, programming, networking and new technologies, methods for evaluating services and research on the subject of library services for children and young adults.
I'm incredibly excited for this semester, as most of the classes I will be taking are directly related to what I want to do in the future as a youth services librarian at a public institution. Next semester will be filled with a few more required classes, like Organization of Information, Information Access and Retrieval and Research in Library and Information Science. But until then, I'll be more than content to read and discuss YA books and learn more about public libraries.