Back to (Library!) School // Semester 4 Overview

It’s a habit of mine to share a little about the classes I am taking each semester as I pursue an MLS degree, and the fall semester started Monday. Usually, I have a pretty good grasp from the beginning on how each class will go. This semester, however, is a little less structured than previous ones. I’m taking three classes which have almost nothing in common with one another. Today’s post shows you a glimpse of what I will be working on for the next few months.

Research in Library & Information Science

This one sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Of course research is an integral part of working in a library, especially if you work in a reference or special collections department. It didn’t take any time to become more complicated than that, however. My professor, who thankfully is someone I have worked with before, explained that effectively there are two tracks that we will be working on at the same time in this class: one covering Research Fundamentals (like theories and framework) and one in Constructing a Research Proposal (hands-on application of the theories). There are weekly assignments as well as long-term projects, and I have to say that I wish the schedule outlined when these assignments are due more clearly.

Surprisingly (to me at least), this course does not have any required textbooks. All of the reading assignments (of which there still are a lot) will be articles and chapters of books that the professor has been able to scan and provide to us digitally. Additionally, the professor has typed up a transcript of his lectures so that we can read them each week instead of watching a video. I know this may be disappointing to some of my peers, and I admit that I will miss the knitting/bracelet weaving time, but personally I am looking forward to this. It sounded odd at first, but the more I think about it, the more excited I am. I comprehend and remember things much better when I read them in print than when I hear them. This also allows each student to go through at our own pace, without needing to pause a video to write something down or missing something while processing a previous point.

Resources & Services for Children

This is a class that I have been looking forward to very much! While I don’t necessarily feel a specific calling to be a Children’s Librarian, I think I would be comfortable in the role, so I am looking forward to building a foundation of skills, knowledge, and resources that would be directly applicable. However, the outline of this class is…nontraditional. We’re only a few days in so I’m trying to maintain some optimism, but navigating the digital landscape of this course is proving challenging thus far. I’m struggling to find all of the information I need to understand the professor’s expectations for each assignment, due dates, and required reading materials. On the plus side, the professor seems to be very engaging, energetic, and passionate about children’s literature and services, so as soon as I can figure out how things are organized and what is expected of me, I’m sure this class will be fun. So far I have ten children’s books on hold through the library that I know I will read for this, so If nothing else, I should make serious progress toward my Goodreads goal for the year!

Intro to Grant Writing

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This course I truly do not know anything about yet. It’s a second-block class, meaning that it’s only worth 1 credit hour (the previous courses are standard 3 credit hours) and doesn’t start until sometime in October. I heard from a fellow student who has taken the course that it’s relatively easy but that you do go through the entire process of applying for an actual grant on behalf of a library, which sounds like a lot of work. A few years ago I attended a workshop on Grant Writing, so I already own the book this class uses as its textbook, but there is definitely still a lot to learn.

Somehow, at the moment it doesn’t feel like I have a ton going on this semester. Unfortunately, I also don’t fully understand when things are due, so I’m not sure how to spread out the work in such a way that I don’t end up overwhelmed later. Hopefully this is just because it is still the first week of class. I’m sure it will all work out.

What’s taking up the majority of your time this season, Reader? Do you have any questions about the classes I’m taking this semester, or anything else related to getting a Library Science degree?

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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