“If you decide to pursue a degree in library and information science, make sure you are dedicated to the profession.”
Q: What's your name? What degree did you receive? When did you graduate?
A: My name is Mark Barnes and I graduated with an MLIS in May 2012.
Q: What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A: I have a B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Michigan.
Q: Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
A: I wanted to attend an institution located somewhere different in Michigan. Furthermore, Wayne State is in downtown Detroit which afforded me the opportunity to live close to home and take advantage of what downtown has to offer. I also liked that Wayne State was a change of pace.
Q: What is your area of concentration? Why?
A: Academic Libraries is my concentration area. At first I considered Archival Administration because I had a lot of experience with archives. However, I wanted to expand my marketability and career reach in library and information science and selected Academic Libraries. This concentration also made sense to me because of my experience with academic libraries while pursuing my undergraduate degree.
Q: Where/What class format did you use for most of your classes? Why?
A: Although I prefer on-campus classes, I mostly utilized the online format. The program is increasingly offering many of its courses primarily online.
Q: Were you active in any student/professional organizations?
A: I was an active member of the American Library Association and the Society of American Archivists.
Q: How has your involvement in student/professional organizations impacted your SLIS and professional experience?
A: Participating in professional organizations impacted me professionally more so than my educational experience at SLIS. Participating in professional organizations is required at my place of work and being a member of the American Library Association in advance facilitated satisfying this requirement when I started my position.
Q: Are you currently doing any library related work? If so, how did the program prepared you for it?
A: I am the Head Librarian at ITT Technical Institute in Troy, Michigan. The program really helped me develop my reference and research skills I employ. Secondly, it gave me an understanding of what is to be a librarian and impart this to people I work with and the library in general. Lastly, the program not only prepared me to run a library, but to differentiate the library from other departments on campus.
Q: What were you most proud of in library school? What are most proud of now that you are in the profession?
A: I am most proud of earning my MLIS. Now that I am in the profession, I am most proud of being Head Librarian at ITT Technical Institute, overseeing an academic library.
Q: Was there a professor who really impacted your journey into librarianship?
A: There were two professors that really impacted me: Dr. Mika and Dr. Holley. Dr. Mika was more than a professor; he was a mentor. I made the effort to switch to him as my advisor after starting the program because I knew he would do more than what was necessary to support my journey into librarianship. A huge chunk of my courses were with Dr. Holley. I felt very comfortable with his teaching techniques. In fact, he is working with me to publish a paper I completed in his class.
Q: Since graduating from this program, what do you feel is the most important or surprising thing you've learned about the library and information science profession?
A: I am amazed at how little people understand the role and responsibilities of librarians. People I expected to be well-informed about what librarians do are not as knowledgeable as I presumed. Ignorance can be bliss in regards to the understanding people have about librarianship irrespective of their level of education or experience with libraries.
Q: Do you feel you were well prepared for a career in the library and information profession?
A: Yes. I gained the skills and knowledge to work in an information environment. However, I am mindful that every organization is different, meaning I have to make adjustments and accommodations as necessary to fit each specific organization.
Q: What professional accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from the program?
A: Being hired in as the Head Librarian of an academic library shortly after graduating is a major accomplishment. I constantly employ management and leadership skills as I manage two other librarians.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their library school?
A: If you decide to pursue a degree in library and information science, make sure you are dedicated to the profession. This has to be something you want to do because you never know where you are going to end up. Lastly, find your niche and do what makes you happy.