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Reflections on my First Semester of Library School

My first semester at library school was not what I was expecting. Encouraged to blog and tweet was not what I thought would be on the menu for my Master’s program. It amazes me how much my program, after only one semester, groomed me to see potential in all aspects of libraries and to not take the field’s existence for granted. I was not expecting professors to ingrain into my head that the term library should not limit what can be done and continually reinforce that a library is not a stagnant cookie cutter space to house materials, especially in today’s information digital age and in a recession of budget cuts. I see information differently; we are in an information age where digital searches and metadata are very important to how information is accessed and stored. Overall, after my semester, I am overwhelmed by the possibilities, responsibilities and how much there is to learn and experience!

First, I learned there are numerous types of libraries and each library is unique because each community’s needs is unique. As a professional, that excites me because then there are many opportunities, experiences and potential projects. As with almost any profession and business, there are infinite possibilities if one is willing to think innovatively, work hard and roll up their sleeves to get a bit dirty. This was continuously emphasized in my program and I saw countless examples at both school and conferences of innovative projects and programs libraries are currently engaging in. Furthermore, the amount of excitement in my classes and at conferences was unexpected and invigorating! I certainly did not see any ladies with hair buns saying hush!

But now, I also feel an immense amount of pressure. I cannot settle to be an isolated mundane professional. I have been given the opportunity to be part of the current change libraries are undergoing; to become an information professional who positively influences my community and impacts my field. No pressure there, right! While it is extremely daunting for someone just a few months in the field, it is also exciting because I am being given the education and opportunity to excel. And for that, I am extremely thankful

I am most excited to learn about technology, digital resources and its potential in libraries. In a few weeks, I begin introduction to databases. I hope to learn the inside and outs of databases so I may better navigate them in my search for information and will be able to build them to organize information for future projects. I plan to take digital libraries over the summer to further my knowledge and digital skillset!

Another pleasant surprise was learning about the increased importance and impact of social media. It is amazing how twitter, facebook, blogs, linkeden , etc are being used by both professions to promote themselves and by employers to recruit! Twitter and blogging are more than a way to post the tedious details of my life. They are avenues to communicate my thoughts and work, and to also network and learn from other professionals in my field. Therefore, I have a professional digital presence which comes up when I am googled! How fascinating and awesome is that!?

In conclusion, I am also very thankful for meeting an amazing group of professors and learning with an amazing group of classmates. I love the positive and enthusiastic energy of my program, which the professors and administrators could not achieve without an intelligent and passionate body of students. The last thing I was expecting was to continuously hear librarians are not the stereotypical book nerd with glasses. We librarians are, in fact, very “fly” in our own way.

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About Dorotea Szkolar

My name is Dorotea and I am in my last semester of earning my Masters of Library and Information Sciences at Syracuse University with a Certificate of Advance Study in Digital Libraries. I am an aspiring digital librarian and metadata expert, currently seeking full time opportunities. Because of my specialization in Digital Libraries, my coursework continues to cover a wide array of practices, issues and technologies specific to digital libraries including metadata, digitization, copyright, database management, internet services, institutional , open access, policy, and the preservation of digital assets. In addition to my studies, I completed an internship with the Mountain West Digital Library. The internship trained me in Dublin Core, metadata cross walking and harvesting, Open Archives Initiative and CONTENTdm, and I researched, analyzed and composed a report on spatial metadata interoperability issues within the MWDL. My strengths, in addition to my knowledge of digital and academic libraries, include exceptional communication, presentation, analytical and interpersonal skills; and expertise with current trends, technologies and software in metadata and digital librarianship. I am also an experienced professional researcher who has worked for numerous organizations. Before moving to Santa Barbara, I was also the Research Editor for Utah Business Magazine responsible for contacting, researching and authenticating data about businesses for special publications like Utah’s Major Employers Guide. Additionally, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in History at SUNY Binghamton and worked extensively at several non-profits including the Bundy Museum of History & Art, White Plains Ecumenical Food Pantry and Community Options Inc.

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