An auto ethnography is an academic paper written in first person, using a story arc to fill in the reader. I can feel the blank stares, this went against everything I had been taught about academic writing. Needless to say this class was a disaster and am glad to have survived it, maybe a different teacher will make it better, it could have been a great class.
The Library School in Western University is a compressed program, though can be extended. The compressed program I took had me racing to the end of each semester, and I feel I did not get as much out of it as I could have, had I taken a 2 year program. I feel the classes were too many at once, too short and gave little to no time for reflection on what you could have learned. Because I have never gone to library school before, I have nothing to compare it to. Many professors have tried to explain to me that Western, as a library school, is considered a top school in Canada.
I have also heard horror stories from some students who have gone to U of T or U of Alberta. Is it the best school, I hope not, is it a bad school, no! I think the MLIS program at Western is adequate and gets you the basic skills needed to do the job, but is nothing spectacular or special, aside from the Co-Op option, that will put you a step ahead of those in other programs. So third and final semester is underway. Being in my final semester my eye is on the prize. I am looking for jobs and contacts, not really caring as much as I should about my assignments.
I tried doing as much as I could for january, february is a little dead in the assignment sector, but March is going to kick my butt.
Gotta try to stay focused. I had read, in an older blog about the program, that this was a possibility. I need to find a job! Keep looking forward, but remember…. Try to do as much as you can the first weeks. Gonna be one hell of a storm at the begining of the semsester, but the more you complete the less you have to worry about later on.
Keep your head in the game, I understand we want to get those jobs, but try to focus on school and just soldier through it. So the second semester is almost at an end. The last few weeks has actually started to get into the whole management portion of the course, but it feels like it is too little, too late. The Prof Sarah Roberts is a great prof, she made an otherwise boring class somewhat entertaining and would get us involved with her stories and experiences, as well as encouraging class participation.
Special Libraries — A great class, I was originally told this is a better management course than the actual management course, and I would tend to agree. The prof is once again a great prof, a little heavy with the jokes though. Professor Craig is a corporate librarian who puts the class through a semester long project of building libraries of your choice in groups of 3 or 4.
My group did a Library for Ubisoft, another did a Lego library, and another ended up doing a Foodshare Library. It was a great experience and put us through the paces in building a final report through User Reports, Budgets, Collection Development and more. The class is only offered in the fall, but I suggest this for anyone in the program, not just those interested in Special Libraries. Intro to Archives — Another interesting course. The prof knows his stuff, but Lutzen Riedstra is a very soft spoken man.
His lectures could put a raging bull to sleep. The course consists of 3, 5 page papers on weekly topics that can be spread out throughout the semester depending on what aspects of archives you are interested in. The final essay is an option between doing and archive visit in a group and writing about it, or writing a 15 page topical paper of interest to you.
The archive visit is fun, and I would suggest any who take this course to do that option. Government Information — I did this online and that was certainly a mistake. The prof for the online version of this class is a government librarian from Queens University.es.heqepuraci.gq
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He knows his stuff, but is not really professor material. His marking scheme is a mystery to me, but I survived his course. The course is good if your interested in learning how to find and analyze government information, though it is not a bird course that is for sure. Government information is not easy to find or navigate. This course may have been better as an in class course, and I hear the person teaching it on campus is pretty good. Basically you spend a semester building a website for a collection of your choice. You also do this using a program called Greenstone, it is a challenging and outdated program.
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If you are not technically savvy this course is not for you; The class is not taught well, as Gord Nickerson just speeds through all kinds of topics without allowing time for it to sink in. The tutorials he has are on Youtube and these are what you will be required to do if you want to learn anything about using Greenstone.
So in a previous post I had mentioned ways to get experience. Experience is a great way to get ahead, though in this program with the amount of volunteer oportunities and the co-op option almost everyone is going to have some sort of experience coming out. So how do you seperate youself from the pack? Participation in extra curricular activities is the key. This is not the additude to have. The unfortunate truth is when you gradfuate you and others in the same school as you will have the exact same degree.
What can you do to seperate yourself from the crowd. Each of these organizations has a distinct goal or purpose and can help an employer get a sense of what type of person you are before even giving an interview.
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It also lets employers know you are actively involved in the field. Partipate in Association politics — Become an active member of the associations local chapter. This looks good on a resume and shows you are even more involved with the ideals of the organization than simply as a participant. Join the Student Union — Become an active member of the student union.
It is a great experience and shows leadership. Go to Conferences — Given the oprtunity make your way to local, regional or national conferences if you can. These are great opportunities to network as well as put on your resume. This can be very valuable for profession al development and could open doors to jobs through the people you meet. Present at Conferences — This can seem scary, but does not have to be as formal as you might think. You can present ideas or papers in large lecture hall, or just present a poster in a hall of many posters.
These are just a few examples of how you can seperate yourself from the crowd. By participating in different events or organization you are only in competition with a few dozen, rather than a few hundred people with the exact same MLIS degree. So my first semester has come to an end……thank god that is over. Here are my thoughts on various aspects of the program now that I have a semester under my belt.
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I had Prof. Cameron was great, had all kinds of stories and kept the class interesting. If your here for the practical and not the theory you will likely hate this class. It covers everything from Library as a place, Library Space, Copyright, and a plethora of other library related issues. The Fall semester I believe is tought by Prof.
Troscow, with Cameron as a T.
"Bird Courses" @ UWO
Also had lots of guest speakers. Taught by a great prof named Davies, makes an otherwise tedious class somewhat bearable. You basically get one class of each so you have a broad view of cataloging. The new class is supposed to throw in an introduction to Archives, so I imagine that it will be less cataloging than I had to endure. I mean what else does a librarian do all day than hang around on facebook and answer the occasional question, right? This class I was pumped for, as my practical librarianship class.