SWIM Graduates: Where are they now? Part 2

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In the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of the Nexus e-newsletter we followed up with several graduates of the South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana (SWIM) Regional Collaborative Library Education Project, which was funded through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. Following are stories from some of the other SWIM graduates.

Bruce GodfreyBruce Godfrey—GIS Librarian, University of Idaho—provides a strategic vision of and leadership in developing and promoting a suite of geospatial services for faculty, staff, and students. He also provides reference assistance and research consultation for geospatial information, identifies and cultivates partnerships with other university programs on geospatial initiatives, participates in the creation and maintenance of metadata records for geospatial resources, evaluates geospatial resources, and collaborates with librarians in related subject areas to identify spatial data needs. Before earning his MLIS he was in a staff position; after earning his MLIS he applied for a GIS librarian position and was hired.

When asked if he recommends an MLIS, Godfrey says, “I would recommend it for those interested in the library profession. It provides a valuable foundation for anyone interested in becoming an information professional.”

Long-term, Godfrey hopes to be viewed as a valuable member of his faculty and university. Additionally, he hopes to be well-respected by other GIS Librarians across academia.

Kristi HamanKristi Haman—Technical Services Supervisor, Garden City Public Library—is responsible for adult collection development and acquisitions and the cataloging, processing, and mending of library materials. Her duties also involve library marketing (including newsletter and social media), website content updates, reference services, and weeding initiatives. When she was a grad student, she worked as a part-time assistant at two libraries: Boise Public Library at Collister and College of Western Idaho (CWI) Library. She served patrons at the circulation and reference desk and planned and executed programs. She also marketed events, assisted with technology inquiries, served on the Adult Summer Reading committee, and planned a library-themed art exhibition at CWI. Five days after graduation, she was offered a full-time, professional position and is now responsible for a team of five volunteers and one assistant. As part of the management team, she enjoys making decisions that meet the information needs of Garden City Library patrons. In her new role, she has found that it is advantageous to understand library science methodology. It helps with her work in collection development, cataloging, acquisitions, and technical services. She is grateful, therefore, to have her MLIS because it provided the foundation and technical skills she needs to excel as a librarian.

When asked if she recommends an MLIS, Haman says, “Absolutely, yes, I would recommend that anyone who desires a long-term career working in the library field pursue an MLIS/MLS. Most professional, full-time positions require or prefer an MLIS. Plus, salaries are usually higher for holders of master’s degrees. An MLIS demonstrates to others that you are educated, dedicated, goal oriented, motivated, and resourceful. I also recommend getting involved with library associations, attending conferences, serving on committees, and taking leadership courses.”

Long-term, Haman says that the great thing about working in this field is that there are plenty of opportunities. She can see herself becoming a library director. She would also enjoy being a marketing or collection development manager. She could work for an academic, government, or museum library as an arts librarian and archivist (her BA is in photography and she previously worked for the Smithsonian). It would also be a dream-come-true for her to work for the Disney Animation Research Library or to own an old world bookstore with sliding ladders and a spiral staircase.

Bev McKayBev McKay—Librarian, Stevens-Henager College—assists students with research needs, develops course curriculum, manages the campus bookroom, and tutors students in various subjects. McKay was unemployed before getting her MLIS.

When asked if she recommends an MLIS, McKay says, “I would recommend [it] but I would also caution people that you’re not going to make a lot of money and jobs are hard to get. Because I was a student of Stevens-Henager before going to graduate school, I feel that helped me get the job more than anything. That alone helps me in my job.”

Long-term, McKay is going back to school to work on a masters in education.

Jill MitchellJill Mitchell—Adult Services Manager, Meridian Library District—oversees interlibrary loan (ILL) , programming, bookmobile, homebound, volunteers, and much more. She began her library career doing interlibrary loan and then was advanced to be a manager.

When asked if she recommends an MLIS, Mitchell says, “It depends on what type of library one works in whether an MLIS is important. I believe for an academic library, it would be a must. I think an MLIS is important with a technology emphasis, otherwise, if one works in a small public library, I am not so sure it is important.”

Long-term, due to family circumstances, Mitchell’s career plans are currently in flux.

Kate RAdfordKate Radford—Bookmobile Coordinator, Meridian Library District—manages bookmobile activities, promotion, and scheduling, as well as coordinating bookmobile outreach events and activities. Before earning her MLIS, she was a library assistant.

When asked if she recommends an MLIS, Radford says, “I feel that having an MLIS opens some doors that might otherwise remain closed, but I believe the actual educational components of an MLIS leave something to be desired. I very much hope to see changes to the educational requirements for an MLIS in the future, including a broadening of courses involving the humanities, advertising, etc. ”

Long-term, Radford hopes to move into a strong outreach position or to work her way into MakerSpace activities, particularly those with an outreach component. She also feels strongly about working with community organizations and businesses to improve library connectivity through the community.

Congratulations to these SWIM graduates for all of their hard work and achievements, and many thanks to them for their dedication to improving library services in Idaho.