"If you want a good foundation then Wayne State SLIS can give you that... Being able to stay in my current position was crucial, I felt that I could do more good by staying home and working than moving to attend college."
Q: What is your name? What degree you are seeking? What semester/year do you expect to graduate?
A: My name is Aaron LaFromboise. I am seeking a Masters of Library and Information Science, expecting to graduate in August 2016
Q: Where are you from originally? How long have you been in the area? Did you move here to go to school?
A: I'm from Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet Reservation. I did not have to move to obtain my degree, instead I have been able to stay at home and work in my community while attending graduate school.
Q: What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A: I have an Associate of Science in General Science from Salish Kootenai College
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts-Science Emphasis from University of Oklahoma
Q: Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
A: I chose Wayne State because I received a Project IDOL scholarship and the program allowed me to stay at home while attending school. Being able to stay in my current position was crucial, I felt that I could do more good by staying home and working than moving to attend college.
Q: What area are you specializing in? Why?
A: My specialization is in academic librarianship. I currently work at the local tribal college library. The administration at the college wanted to be able to "grow their own" librarian and so I have had the goal to finish my MLIS and to take over as the first Blackfeet Tribal member to hold the position of library director. This goal will be realized at the beginning of August when the current director retires and I step up into her position.
Q: Where/What format do you take most of your classes? Why?
A: I take all of my classes online because it gives me the freedom to get my education while being able to work full time.
Q: Are you active in any student organizations?
A: No, I am not involved in any student organizations. I am involved in local, state, and national library organizations.
Q: How has your involvement in student organizations impacted your SLIS experience?
A: Although I am not involved in student organizations, the other library organizations that I have been involved with have definitely impacted my SLIS experience. Being involved in the Montana Library Association I have been able to meet other librarians in the state, and get advice from librarians in similar communities. In the American Indian Library Association I have been able to be a champion for other Native students obtaining their Master's degrees while again using the knowledge of tried and true professions to help me as I learn and grow.
Q: Are you currently doing any library, DCM, Archives or Information Management related work? If so, how has the program prepared you for it?
A: No, I am not involved in this type of work.
Q: What are you most proud of in your time as a student at SLIS?
A: I am very proud that I have been able to excel at work as I learn from my coursework. I get to apply my knowledge almost as soon as I gain it and it has helped make my library a better place for students and community members alike.
Q: Is there a professor who has really impacted your journey into becoming a librarian or information professional?
A: Dr. Stephen Bajjaly has been very supportive. I have not had a class with him but he has been a great source of encouragement throughout my time here at Wayne State.
Q: Since joining the 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 surprising thing that I have learned is that the library world is very small. The people that I have met seem to be in many other places as well. Getting to know the people who work in libraries is important because you never know when you will have to get advice, or ask a question to help you along in your new career.
Q: Do you feel well prepared for a career in the information profession? Any long-term professional goals?
A: Yes, I feel very confident that I will move into the library director position and have the abilities to do a good job. I would like to work at the college as long as possible but I have a dream to one day expand the library, combine forces with the county branch library and earn the support of the tribe for the tribal archives. We operate as an academic and community library and we currently hold (in name only) the tribal archives, my dream would be to see our purpose and mission become a reality.
Q: Have you acquired a position yet? If so, where?
A: Yes, I am currently a Library Technician, but on August 1st I will be the Director of Library Services at the Medicine Spring Library, Blackfeet Community College.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their LIS school?
A: If you want a good foundation then Wayne State SLIS can give you that. When preparing for school take some time and learn your classmates' names because once you leave orientation you will be out there on your own and it helps to know someone before your classes start.
Aaron LaFromboise is a member of SLIS's Project IDOL (Increasing Diversity of Librarians) cohort.