Librarian Under Construction: A Professional Development Experience


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After spending 13 years here at the O’Kelly Library working to assist faculty, staff and students with their various needs, I decided that it was time to take my dedication to this organization, the university and my profession to the next level. So on August 15th, I embarked on journey that I hope will benefit both me and the O’Kelly Library. I became a student again, enrolling in the School of Library and Information Science Program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

My quest to become a librarian has grown out of my desire to be the best that I can be at assisting others to access information, do research and use library technology in their pursuit of education, information and entertainment. Some of the work that I’ve done with Archives over the last year or so really helped to get me off the fence.

Since I work at an HBCU, I decided that I would pursue my master’s degree from (NCCU), the only HBCU that is currently accredited by the American Library Association. Central is very welcoming and the students have a great deal of pride in their institution, but it doesn’t quite have the same feel as WSSU. However, it is Chancellor Robinson’s alma mater and a number of our current and past librarians (including Forrest Foster and Janet Malliett) received their library degrees from NCCU as well. So, with all of these individuals leading the way, I joined the Eagle Nation for the next 4 semesters. Not to worry Rams, I still see RED…

I enrolled in three courses this semester: Foundations of Librarianship and Information Science, Selection and Uses of Information Sources and Management and System Analysis. Two of the classes are face-to-face, the other, online. The courses cover the history and mission of libraries, the various information sources available within libraries and the various management theories used within libraries past and present. The courses have been very informative and considerably challenging. It has been a while since I was a student so getting back into the swing of things has been interesting to say the least. Add two round trips to Durham each week after a regular work day and you get an idea what the semester has been like for me—busy!  And late-night study afterwards, too—whew! Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

So far, among other things, I’ve created a libguide, presented my own personal philosophy of management, done case analysis assignments and am in the midst of a research paper on Digital Rights Management and Access to Information.  I’m striving for success, not just survival, so I’ve really been working hard. I’m getting involved outside of class too—serving as vice president of the NCCU Student ALA Chapter. ALA Midwinter is coming up in January and I hope to be able to attend and gain some valuable information from there as well.

As the semester comes to a close, it looks like it’s paying off so far…Grades aren’t in yet, but things look good. When my transformation is all over (in May 2018), I hope to be a greater asset to O’Kelly Library and WSSU than I’ve ever been. I will certainly be able to say that I put in some serious work towards my professional development.

Author: Jeff McGill


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