“Can I still write for Hack Library School if I am not technically pursuing a degree in LIS anymore?”
I recently posed this question to our crack team of HLS editors. I am not quitting pursuing a Masters… just not an MLIS. An addition in degree offerings in the College of Communication and Information Studies at FSU allowed us to opt to transfer into a new Masters of Information Technology program instead of Masters of Library and Information Studies.
The MLIS versus the MSIT question is a quandary that I didn’t expect to face, yet it is demonstrative of the shift and broadening occurring in the Information Profession. There is so much crossover and combinations under Information. HLS reflects that as well. We have had a plethora of digital-, IT- and IS-based articles of late. One that particularly struck me was Nicole’s piece on CS/MLIS Interaction. Would I truly be of those computer-ish people? Are we — and the degrees we potentially earn — really that different?
Already heavy on IT classes, it was an easy switch but difficult choice to make. My coursework would be generally the same, just different core classes, if I switched or stayed. I talked to a few people in each field and thought critically about what type of job and career I wanted. Most if not all traditional librarian roles from academic to public to the Archivist for the NYC Ballet specifically require an MLIS. It is the standard.
I finally determined that upon graduation and hitting my intended job market (outside traditional librarianship), it will be easier to highlight and explain my documented library experience in addition to an IT Masters, than it would be to explain my IT-cred to those unfamiliar with an MLIS. So I transferred programs. Happily, the hackers allowed me to stay in their “Library School” midst.
So what’s the hack here?
As we are nearing the end of the semester and year, it is natural to reflect on where we have been and plan for the future. If we can see past the caffeine-fueled-blurring of final paper sentences and final projects, perhaps we see the last days of registration for Spring or the looming the job market. It is as good as time as any to remind ourselves of the options for charting our way.
If I have learned anything in my time in Library School it is that we come to this profession from many, many different backgrounds. Our diversity ought be celebrated and used to full advantage. MLIS/MIS/MSIT or any other variant — we all are interested in information. Our titles are varied. Our skills are deep and broad. Our possibilities are open.
Sign up for that class on Storytelling even if you are an IT person. Enjoy learning HTML even if you know you want to be a young adult librarian. Find the things that interest you and follow where they might lead. The title — or ahem Masters Program — will work itself out to the choices that we make.
Whether it be preserving, providing access to, studying seeking behavior, creating systems for, organizing, tagging, publishing, creating, cataloging, archiving, programming, digitizing… or simply reading, we have so many options in this great, big, Information Professionals field. The landscape changes constantly and we can leave ourselves open to those changes and chances for new interactions and combinations.
We are all under the umbrella of Information — and it is a pretty ginormous umbrella. Take advantage of the possibilities and make your own way.
Should I be banished from the hacker rolls? What do you think about the big Information Umbrella? Do you have a similar or very different experience switching programs or tracks to share?