N. Rebecca Powell
"The important thing I’ve learned is the adaptability of the skills we learn to various work environments. Even in non-traditional settings, being able to access accurate information is an asset and makes you more marketable."
Q: What's your name? What degree did you receive? When did you graduate?
A: N. Rebecca Powell; MLIS; 1999.
Q: What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A: BA Communications from the University of Michigan.
Q: Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
A: A family friend encouraged me to take a look at LIS and Wayne.
Q: What is your area of concentration? Why?
A: The "special library" is my area of interest. I developed an interest in non-traditional library settings. I believed special libraries would offer more flexibility than more traditional settings.
Q: Where/What class format did you use for most of your classes? Why?
A: My classes were on the main campus. Distance learning wasn't available at the time.
Q: Are you active in any student/professional organizations?
A: At the moment, I only hold an active membership with the Michigan Association of Law Libraries (MichALL).
Q: How has your involvement in student/professional organizations impacted you're SLIS and professional experience?
A: I believe the memberships I have currently (and have held) help to build information resources. Also, it is great to see how someone else's solutions to workplace issues may be adapted in your own work environment.
Q: Are you currently doing any library related work? If so, how has the program prepared you for it?
A: I do quite a bit of ready reference. I put an emphasis on tech resources for myself and I'm glad I made the choice. Technology has changed tremendously since I was in the program, but what I learned in the program kept it from being overwhelming.
Q: What were you most proud of in library school? What are you most proud of now that you are in the profession?
A: One of the things that struck me when I began the program was the diversity in student backgrounds. When I say diversity, I am referring to the various undergraduate degrees of people entering the program. Interacting with people from varying undergraduate backgrounds enriched my experience. I am a person who just loves knowledge and information. This profession is my excuse to gather information on a daily basis and know: Michigan's most current Constitution went into existence in 1964; how to search the US Code; helping someone understand how a Commission is created and the mission of the body.
Q: Was there a professor who really impacted your journey into librarianship?
A: There were several, but Blaine Morrow, Nancy Johnson and Patricia Fields immediately come to mind. Blaine Morrow was one of my first Profs and introduced me to the idea of being an information broker. Nancy Johnson introduced me to the concept of being a gatekeeper. Prof. Fields taught Special Libraries which became my focus.
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: The important thing I've learned is the adaptability of the skills we learn to various work environments. Even in non-traditional settings, being able to access accurate information is an asset and makes you more marketable.
Q: Do you feel you were well prepared for a career in the library and information profession?
A: Of course I look back and think of courses I wish I had taken. However, I believe the program helped me to build a solid foundation. I was able to build a skillset. Once in the field and working daily at the job, it is up to each individual to focus on getting a foothold in the profession.
Q: What professional accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from the program?
A: I work in public service, so there aren't many accolades outside of celebrating longevity. I'm a one-person show, so I am just proud whenever someone says ‘thank you'.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering [Wayne's] LIS as their library school?
A: Be open to change and be ready to define your role as information professional.