In a little more than a week’s time, I will don my deliciously lemon yellow hood, (virtually) cross a stage, and know, with a heart full in equal measure of sorrow and joy, that one of the most interesting and creative chapters in my life has come to a close. I will finally be “Nick Dean, MLS”. And while I will always treasure those three letters after my name, my journey to get them will forever remain a treasured memory. High among those memories will be the opportunity I’ve had over the past year to share my thoughts, my insight, and my general rambles with my fellow readers at HLS. I initially wanted to write for HLS because of the key role it had played in helping me feel good about my decision as I took the leap, left a doctoral program, and joined the Emporia State University MLS program. My hope today is that somewhere out there there is a reader much like I was two years ago – uncertain of their professional and personal lives, but curious about this thing called information science. Going to library school ranks right up there with marrying my husband and moving to the Midwest as some of the best decisions I have ever made. If you are on the fence about library school, do it. Even if you only do a semester and decide it’s not for you, I guarantee you will find something or someone who will forever change the way you see the world and the way you consume information. In the best case scenario, you will discover the field your heart has been waiting for and the vocation you’ve spent your life searching for.
I know that this post has waxed poetic about library school and librarianship, but I don’t want to come across as ignorant of the challenges the field faces, either. In so many ways, our field is ridiculously homogeneous and this often leads to groupthink and poor decision making. All of us – students, professionals, and library appreciators in general – would benefit from a field that reflects the society it serves. Indeed, more librarians of color, more queer librarians, more male librarians, and more librarians who inhabit many different underrepresented identities are what the field of information science needs. More than that, though, I don’t believe the field can survive without such an increase. If the field’s demographics remain stagnant, the field will become increasingly irrelevant and lose its standing among its patrons. We – all of us – must be willing to not just love the field, but interrogate it and challenge it to live up to its highest ideals. And, ultimately, as I see it, this is the raison d’etre of HLS and its writers. Question the status quo. Question those in power. Never, ever stop questioning.
Finally, in closing, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one my literary heroes, Tennessee Williams: “There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.”
This is that time. Farewell, for now, friends.
Nick Dean is a second-year master’s student in the School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) at Emporia State University. Nick currently works full-time as an academic advisor at a medical school and as a part-time employee at a medical library, both in the Kansas City metro.