"I would encourage someone considering SLIS and wanting to work in a library ultimately to already be working in a library."
Q. What's your name? What degree you are seeking? What semester/year do you expect to graduate?
A. Jacqueline Freeman. I'm seeking the MLIS degree. I expect to finish coursework for the degree in the spring/summer semester 2016.
Q. Where you're from originally? How long you've been in the area. Did you move here to go to school?
A. I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I live in Ann Arbor and have lived here since November, 2011. I did not move here to go to school.
Q. What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A. I have a BA from Kalamazoo College. I have a MA from Michigan State University.
Q. Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
A. I chose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science primarily because they offered an online program that would allow me to continue to work full time while I pursued my degree. Secondarily, several people at UM libraries noted that Wayne students were sought after because the Wayne program was more connected to library work than the SI program at UM, whose students often go on to jobs in industries other than libraries. I knew I wanted to continue to work in an academic library.
Q. What area are you specializing in? Why?
A. I'm specializing in Library Services for academic libraries because this is the environment where I work. My background and interests are also in instruction and the humanities, so focusing on library services, collection development, and research are of interest to me.
Q. Where/What format do you take most of your classes? Why?
A. I take all of my classes online for two reasons: 1) I work full time and online classes work best for my schedule. 2) The fellowship I received requires me to pursue my degree online.
Q. Are you active in any student organizations?
A. I am not active in any student organizations.
Q. How has your involvement in student organizations impacted your SLIS experience?
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. I currently work in acquisitions at an academic library. I had this work prior to beginning the MLIS program, so the program did not have any impact on preparing me to do this job, although the program has brought to light some of the issues in acquisitions that I see at play, such as the balance between print and electronic materials, my understanding of MARC records, patron-driven acquisitions, etc. I also am conducting a research project with a colleague. The research methods course is proving to be incredibly valuable to this pursuit. I am learning a lot about the steps we are taking to design our research proposal, things to think about as we design our survey instrument, how to prepare for data collection, and how to plan for data management at the conclusion of our research.
Q. What are you most proud of in your time as a student at SLIS?
A. I am most proud of the connections I am making to my colleagues using my coursework as a starting point. We've had great conversations about how topics raised in classes play out in day-to-day operations and how they impact the future direction of the library.
Q. Is there a professor who has really impacted your journey into becoming a librarian or information professional?
A. Dr. Kafi Kumasi has had the greatest impact on my journey during the MLIS program. It was during her multicultural resources class that I really started to connect to the material being taught and had many moments where being connected with engaging reading made me seriously think about research, publishing, and teaching again – a path that I had been on many years ago.
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. I think the most important thing I've learned is that the library and information science profession has to work to stay relevant to information users. Even within our field, there is great room for improvement in the scholarship in which we engage and the "science" behind what we do.
Q. Do you feel well prepared for a career in the information profession? Any long-term professional goals?
A. I feel reasonably well prepared for a career in a library since I have an am gaining more library experience. My long-term professional goals are to move away from technical services into a librarian position within the next 2 years.
Q. Have you acquired a position yet? If so, where?
A. I am an Information Resources Assistant in monograph acquisitions for the University of Michigan Libraries. This is part of technical services.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their LIS school?
A. I would encourage someone considering SLIS and wanting to work in a library ultimately to already be working in a library. I feel that those who are not working are at a disadvantage in understanding the coursework and its significance to library work. Secondly, that connection to your library colleagues affords one innumerable resources that will be very useful when going through the program.
Jacqueline Freeman is a member of SLIS's Project IDOL (Increasing Diversity of Librarians) cohort. An informationist at UM's Taubman Health Sciences Library, she is interviewed in this Library Journal article.