If you have the time or opportunity to give back, I highly encourage you to do so.
Daniel Patton, Information Services Librarian, Canton Public Library
Bachelor of Arts in History ’07
Master of Library and Information Science ’15
Member, Wayne State University Alumni Association Board of Directors
Daniel Patton, a 2015 MLIS graduate and Information Services Librarian at the Canton Public Library, began serving as a member of the Wayne State University Alumni Association Board in 2019. We checked in with him to learn about his experience.
Q: How do you think your role as a member of the WSUAA Board will impact the School of Information Sciences and its alumni?
A: Being a public librarian on this board – and I’m probably the first – I feel that it’s important. I feel like I’m representing a different sector of the alumni population that might not get as much attention. I think there’s a good range of people on the board, representing different career paths and fields, but I’m glad to be there to stick up for the little guy.
Q: What do you think is the most important role of the WSUAA board?
A: At professional gatherings, meetings or networking events I always try to chat up people who went to Wayne State. The number one thing – university wide – is getting the word out and to encourage alumni to become involved. We’re working to engage alumni and link them with current students to foster academic success. Just as Detroit is reinvigorating, the same thing is going on within the Alumni Association and the university.
Q: Did you always hope to be involved with Wayne State after graduation?
A: Being an active alum is not something I thought of, but in working with the WSUAA I realize how much the university has meant to people and how engaged they still are or want to be with the university. We want to spread that feeling to everyone. I try to talk to my fellow librarians and take concerns from them back to the university.
Q: Is there anything else you hope to accomplish as a member of the WSUAA board?
A: Community service projects are one thing we’re starting to build more and I’m very excited about it. It’s one way that SIS alumni can become involved in terms of coming together and there are opportunities now more than ever to contribute (even remotely). There are many opportunities throughout the metro area. It would be great to get alumni involved.
Q: Switching gears, tell us about your experience in your career. How did you find your way to librarianship?
A: The number one thing I tell people about getting my degree – I wanted to do something where I was working with information and helping people. I wanted a degree that would make me marketable in many ways.
I had a history degree and wanted to work in public history. I had been working a summer in Glacier National Park and wanted to work in their archive. I found out that you needed government security clearance to do so. That’s when I decided that I wanted to have access to records and be able to research different things in an archive, so I began working in a public library as a student. That’s when I discovered my passion for working with the public.
I’m so glad I found my path – I never thought about being a librarian. The field has changed and the need and type of work has changed. The career outlooks can vary, but the skills are more important than ever and can be applied to just about any field.
Q: What is your advice to your fellow alumni?
A: If you are a SIS alum, there are many ways for you to be involved, not only with the Alumni Association, but with professional organizations as well. Some of the things I’ve done since I graduated – I’ve presented twice at Michigan Library Association conferences (in 2018 and 2019); I’m in my second year in the American Library Association’s graphic novel and comic round table; and I’ve volunteered with nonprofit organizations Preservation Detroit and The Greening of Detroit. If you have the time or opportunity to give back, I highly encourage you to do so.