"I definitely think that the WSU SLIS provides a good foundation for a career in the LIS profession. Also, the practicum provided me with an opportunity to get my foot in the door and understand many of the realities of the profession."
Q: What's your name? What degree did you receive? When did you graduate?
A: My name is Natasha Smith and I received an MLIS when I graduated May 2011.
Q: What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A: I received a B.A. in Journalism from Howard University in May 2004.
Q: Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
A: At the time that I chose to attend library school, WSU SLIS appeared to be a great fit because it was in my hometown of Detroit and I felt that the metro area would provide a great opportunity to get hands-on experience.
Q: What is your area of specialization? Why?
A: My area of specialization was general librarianship though I made an effort to take more public library classes. At the time, public librarianship appealed to me because I love working with people and I have even volunteered with the Columbus Public Library while working here.
Q: Where/What class format did you use for most of your classes? Why?
A: I chose the online format because of my concerns with working.
Q: Are you active in any student/professional organizations?
A: I am a financial member of American Library Association.
Q: How has your involvement in student/professional organizations impacted your SLIS and professional experience?
A: Through my fellowship, I was able to attend ALA Midwinter Meeting which provided me with the opportunity to network with professionals from all over the country. It also provided me with greater insight into pertinent issues in cataloging and librarianship in general.
Q: Are you currently doing any library related work? If so, how did the program prepared you for it?
A: I am currently a Metadata Specialist I with OCLC. I learned of the company's diversity fellowship in metadata and quality control through the SLIS listserv. One of the main courses required in the program is Organization of Information and it provided me with the fundamentals and theory behind cataloging.
Q: What were you most proud of in library school? What are you most proud of now that you are in the profession?
A: Considering that I probably had the least experience in the program, I probably was most proud of the cataloging project that I worked on during my practicum for which I received quite a bit of praise and it made feel like I was actually using what I had learned in the classroom. Now that I am in the profession, I am most proud of the fact that I was offered full-time employment in the middle of my fellowship.
Q: Was there a professor who really impacted your journey into librarianship?
A: When I was in the program, my Public Libraries professor was Sylvia Marabate and she was very dedicated and encouraging. From her, I learned that because I was new to the profession, my inexperienced insight brought an outside perspective on issues affecting librarianship. Furthermore, she taught me that the social skills, writing skills and networking skills that I employed in journalism could be transferred to this profession for my benefit. Therefore, I stopped seeing my lack of experience as a disadvantage.
Q: Since graduating from this program, what do you feel is the most important or surprising thing you've learned about the library and information science profession?
A: The most important thing I learned is that you definitely need to keep abreast of the changes going on through blogs, listservs, publications and library publications. Librarianship is always evolving.
Q: Do you feel you were well prepared for a career in the library and information profession?
A: I definitely think that the WSU SLIS provides a good foundation for a career in the LIS profession. Also, the practicum provided me with an opportunity to get my foot in the door and understand many of the realities of the profession.
Q: What professional accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from the program?
A: Prior to graduating in May 2011, I was selected for the one-year OCLC Metadata/Quality Control Diversity Fellowship. The fellowship began in July 2011. In December 2011, I was offered a position for full-time employment as a Metadata Specialist I.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their library school?
A: I would advise students to definitely network with their peers and their professors. It would behoove students to pay attention to the listserv and the various opportunities posted. When I first took my fellowship, I just thought of it as a way to learn and gain experience and never would've dreamed of it resulting in a full-time job.