What to Expect
As you might expect, there's a lot of reading involved in library and information
"The reading load is usually very heavy, anywhere from 30 to 100
pages per class," says David Landry. He took a master's degree in library
and information science at Louisiana State University.
"Also, most classes feature group projects of some ilk, and students
are usually required to give presentations at some point during most
classes. Most of the actual work, and a sizeable portion of the learning,
I would suggest, takes place outside of the classroom."
The most challenging aspect of the program, Landry says, is the heavy reading
load. In addition, some classes are heavily assignment-oriented.
"Time management skills and prioritization are crucial to balancing school
and personal commitments," he says.
In general, Landry says he spent about two hours per day doing homework.
Marsha Porter graduated from a two-year library technician program. She
says she spent an average of three hours a day on homework, and more when
major assignments or presentations were due. "Assigned reading must be done
daily or it easily gets out of control," Porter says.
Students may learn about cataloguing, online searching, reference and
Web design, she adds. "All of this can appear to be overwhelming," she
says. "I found the best way to deal with this is to consult with the instructor
at the first sign of confusion or lack of understanding before the problem
gets out of hand."
How to Prepare
Porter recommends keeping current with the field by reading relevant journals
and checking out Web sites.
When choosing classes, keep your career goals in mind. "For example,
if you want to work in a legal library, you might consider a course in legal
research or even family law," she says.
"Computer courses are always beneficial. Philosophy, psychology
and history all serve to round out your educational background, an asset
for anyone working in the library or information fields."
Take advantage of free workshops offered in essay writing, public speaking,
stress management or library tools, she adds. She also advises joining professional
associations, putting your name on the supply staff list at the public library
and volunteering to set up a library for a small nonprofit organization.