When I first learned that I was accepted to library school, the first thing I did after telling my family and friends was looking at the class schedule. It had been a few years since I had to register for a class (and first time registering for a graduate-level class — no need to wait!), so I was excited to learn about what types of classes there were I would be interested in.
I decided to go to library school after falling in love with librarianship when I was working as an aide at a public library. I thought that was the best place and best job one could ever hold. I love working with the public. But I know that in order to move up, I needed to get another degree. Therefore, when I first enrolled in the library school, I was planning to only take classes from the school’s “library services” pillar, as I was hoping to continue working at a public library. These classes include public libraries, advanced reference services classes, etc.
But wait a minute…
This class on database design actually looks very interesting… And that health sciences information class is only offered every other year, would I regret not taking it if at some point in the future I want become a medical librarian?
After talking to several coworkers who graduated from the same library school, I realized that I did not have to only take classes from a specialization! We can choose what we want to take! Of course, this may vary according to your school’s graduation requirements — make sure you check to see if there’s any specific requirements for that. Other HLS bloggers have also written on this topic. Here is what I learned about choosing what classes to take from my coworkers’ advice and my own experience. Ask yourself…
- Looking at the course title; what stands out to you?Although you are determined to become a youth librarian, the law librarianship class looks really intriguing to you. Go ahead! Skills you learn in class would be helpful to you in many areas – reading research paper, analyzing legal literature…
- What classes will help you become who you want to be?
If you want to get involved in data management but you didn’t have past experiences, taking classes related to data analytics could help you get started. Similarly, if you know you want to get into archives, you know you will need to take certain archive classes and get the certificate eventually. But most of the time our vision for our future changes constantly. Or we are just not sure what to do! Therefore, it is also good to explore different options to see what you really like. Who knows, maybe you will fall in love with law librarianship.
Regarding “When to take those classes…” Look at your schedule and the course description…
First, make sure you take all the required classes in the required sequence — most of the time they are the introduction classes you have to take during the first or second semester.
- What are the classes you know you don’t have time to take?Are you overwhelmed by all the responsibilities you have from work or families? Then try not to schedule classes with heavy workload that semester. For example, some reference classes require extensive shadowing or volunteering throughout the semester. Read the course description and research the professor. If you know you wouldn’t be able to handle all those physical requirement, take some classes that could fit in your schedule.
- What are the classes you know that if you miss it now, there might not be another chance to take?
Like I mentioned before, there’s this health sciences information class that is only offered every other year. I don’t want to regret several years after I graduate on not taking the opportunity.
- What skills do you want to acquire now?In our program, we need to take a research class. It is recommended to take it during the last couple semester. However, I have heard from multiple classmates expressed that they wished they had taken this class earlier. They became better writer and research-paper consumers after this class. After hearing from their experience, I think I will consider taking this class next semester!
Now, it’s almost time to register for Winter classes. Have you decided what classes to take yet?
Featured picture: Hanging Clock via CC BY 2.0.
Alice Law is a MLIS student at Wayne State University.
Categories: Education & Curriculum, Information Professionals, Specializations
Great advice! I took several classes that were recommended for public libraries, but many other ones I took out of interest in the course topic. Some of my favorite courses were taken just for fun! (Like bookbinding and typography). You never know what you’ll learn, and how it may help you in the future! Be sure to ask questions of your adviser and check out past course catalogs to get an idea of when certain classes are offered.
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Thank you for sharing!!