Library and Information Science  Interviews


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dotWhat to Expect

As you might expect, there's a lot of reading involved in library and information studies programs.

"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.