A review of my first MLIS term

Well my first term of my MLIS degree has come to a close, and I’m ready for some reflection!

I took the five required courses this term, which were:

  • 9001 Perspectives on Library and Information Science: (Dr. Louis D’Alton) This course provides an overview on some issues involved in modern librarianship, while going over some legal concepts relevant to the field. Topics included economics, the commodification of information, copyright, open access, the public sphere, library as place, progressive librarianship, professional values, information ethics, serving the marginalized, privacy and surveillance, fair dealings, and information policy. D’Alton goes over each of these topics in a detailed way, but you don’t need to be an expert in any of them in order to be successful in the course. Many of my classmates referred to this class as the “conspiracy course” as we discussed how “evil” Google is and how a few corporations basically own everything a lot of the time.  I really enjoyed these discussions.
  • 9002 Information Organization, Curation and Access: (Victoria Rubin) This is cataloguing, so we learned all about data recording and access. Out of all my classes, this was the most practical as we learned about DDC, LCC, LCSH, RDA, and MARC. Assignments are practice exercises using these systems to organize information. I found the course and the instructor to be the most rewarding, as now I’m a lot more confident in these schemes than I was previously. However, I wouldn’t suggest taking this Friday mornings as I was barely awake for it.
  • 9003  Information Sources and Services: (Dr. Paulette Rothbauer) This is reference but with a fancier name and a bit more substance. We learned a lot about searching, databases, readers advisory, the reference encounter, and some professional values and ethics involved in the process. The focus of the class was on how these activities occur in public libraries. I really enjoyed this class, and again came away from it feeling like I learned a lot. I also really enjoyed having Rothbauer as my professor, especially since I’ve been reading a lot of her work on LGBTQ+ issues in my spare time. I’ll take any class with her, no matter what it is!
  • 9004 Research Methods and Statistics: (Pam McKenzie) The dreaded statistics. I was really worried about this course and had the most trouble with it in terms of understanding the information I was being taught. I tend to psych myself out about numbers, so even though I actually got the statistics I didn’t think I had learned it properly. Our TA Nicole Dalmer did an excellent job helping us to explain the concepts that came off as confusing to us in class. The final project annoyed pretty much everyone, as it is this huge group endeavour and the weight of the grade was the same as the much smaller individual projects we had done through the semester.
  • 9005 Managing and Working in Information Organizations: (Dr. Sarah Roberts) This was the most enjoyable class experience for me because I love organizing, planning, and managing, which are all the core concepts you’ll learn in the class. It was pretty easy in terms of assignments and class discussions, which helped. Sarah Roberts is an amazing advocate for a host of really interesting topics such as privacy and surveillance, and has an active Twitter where she live tweets presentations and events happening in class. As a social media nut, this was an amazing feature of the class!

I also became an executive member of Librarians Without Borders, which I’ll post more about soon.

I’m looking forward to my classes next term, which are:

  • 9203 Records Management
  • 9320 Consumer Health Information
  • 9514 Information Management
  • 9650 Special Libraries
  • 9673 Archival Description

If you’ve taken these courses before, let me know how you liked them!

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Research Interests

One of my professional goals is to become knowledgeable in the following areas.

  1. LGBTQ+ Information and Programming: I’m extremely interested in how libraries cater to the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in general, from personal experiences as a member in the community and due to my interest in young adult literature, which tends to be more inclusive than other genres. I’ve so far been compiling articles on both public and academic libraries’ attitudes toward this community, and written several papers and completed several projects on the topic. So far I’ve come to learn that there is actually a fair amount of work done on this broad topic in librarianship.
  2. Medical librarianship: I began this interest while taking a course in Consumer Health Information, which affirmed my desire to work in health information. I’m surrounded by health care workers and allied health professionals in my family and friends, so I have some background knowledge to work with. I later added to this knowledge by taking Science, Technology and Medical Information during my third term of my MLIS, creating a Children’s Hospital library in a semester-long project for Special Libraries, and successfully finding a career working in health information.
  3. Indigenous Outreach: My experience with Librarians Without Borders as Chair and Communications Coordinator for a year exposed me to specific information needs and service models for Indigenous communities in Ontario. I visited a Chippewas community multiple times, volunteering and running programming opportunities at Kettle and Stony Point Public Library and Kettle and Stony Point Public School. I’ve always been interested in First Nations issues, and my interest grew rapidly with my focus on Canadian history at McMaster. The issues that must be rectified within librarianship include funding issues, literacy, access to information and digital tools, and promotion of Indigenous issues in all of Canada