At a campus such as Indiana University and in a city such as Bloomington, it is easy and tempting to want to say yes to every gleaming opportunity. The myriad chances of working at historically rich institutions that are instrumental in their subject fields is tantalizing. Once this realization sinks in, the decision and calculation of how much time can be devoted to various interests, jobs, and projects must be done. The wonderful nature of librarianship is that it connects to and has tendrils in every field. Any activity has the potential to help make a library science student an exceptional future librarian. Translating course work, student jobs, internship, volunteer, and student organization experience into skills and knowledge for a job in the librarian profession is difficult but rewarding.The key essential to balancing academia with work and extracurricular actives is knowing your limits and shaping each opportunity to work for you.
Courses available through the Library Science program are a blend of pragmatic, hands-on learning and theory and history of field. Most of us will settle on a specialization or focus, but the students who haven’t declared a formal specialization have the ability to select the course that fit their goals. Even though a specialization narrows our choices of courses, we can still explore other topics that might interest us by auditing courses. Auditing courses affords students a chance to absorb and participate in the course as much as your schedule allows. Here are a list of courses for Indiana University’s Information and Library Science Department: http://www.soic.indiana.edu/graduate/courses/index.html
A fulfilling and challenging way to become involved and gain invaluable experience while studying for a Master of Library Science is working in the many libraries and departments and with collections housed at IU. The positions available are in various departments within the library where students are able to learn and develop professional skills required in employers’ job description. If a library or an institute does not have any available positions inquire about volunteering or interning with them. Volunteering and interning establishes your interest and willingness to give your time. These activities can yield interesting and erudite projects that one might not be able to accomplish during traditional jobs. From all of these experiences, you are increasing your confidence and knowledge of the library science field. Here is the link for IU ILS Internship course: http://www.soic.indiana.edu/graduate/courses/index.html?number=z605&department=ILS
Another chance to get involved is with ILS Student Organizations. Most student organizations are student chapters of national associations. They help students prepare for committee work, working as a group, and expose them to different types of institutions through tours. Like many national associations, student organizations create workshops and conferences that allow students to gain experience in their own backyards. With student organizations, one can discover the amount of time they want to involve themselves and try to balance school, work, and organizations. Here is a link the ILS Student Organizations: http://www.soic.indiana.edu/career/students/find-job-internship/resources/ils-student-organizations.html.
Get involved with the opportunities and projects you want so you can learn and experience the library profession!