"Come to Wayne State and get involved in the program. Learn as much as you possibly can. If you’re in the Detroit area, definitely spend time on campus. Work harder than is reasonable or healthy. Try to find an internship at a library. Volunteer on top of that. And have fun with it!"
A: Hi, I’m Brad Czerniak. I went to Wayne State from 2003-2008, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 2006 and a Master of Library and Information Science in 2008.
Q: What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A: I bleed Green and Gold through and through: Wayne State University, Bachelor of Arts in Economics, 2006.
Q. Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
A: Like many librarians, the story of how I got in the profession is somewhat surprising. I mean... I like books and reading as much as the next guy... but I was never a bookworm type.
One summer, in order to get the most out of my scholarship and to keep on schedule to graduate, I had to take 15 credits. It ended up being 3 4-credit courses, plus the ever-so-elusive 3-credit course. After going through the entire course bulletin twice, cross-referencing it to the registration site to see what was available in the summer, and finally choosing the course that sounded the least awful, I settled on LIS 6010: Introduction to the Profession. How glad I am that I did! Kim Schroeder taught us about all the cool things information professionals do; and did it with such enthusiasm. She had me sold on librarianship: hook, line, and sinker. Not only was I enthusiastic about the career opportunities in the LIS field, but I was certain that Wayne State was the school at which to study it.
Q: What is your area of concentration? Why?
A: I focused on Reference Services and Information Science.
Shortly after I entered the program, I got a great internship in the Adult Services Department at Southfield Public Library. Since so much of what I did (and really enjoyed) was assisting patrons at the reference desk, it was natural to go for the reference route in my studies. I guess I added the Information Science part because I’ve always been a computer nerd. Obviously there’s a lot more to Information Science than just computers, but as a concentration it had many of the most interesting technological classes.
Q: Where/What class format did you use for most of your classes? Why?
A: I attended all but one class in person. LIS 6080 was online. One class was also at an extension center, which was pretty fun. Even just a few years ago, the online course offerings were few and far between. The program has transformed in a number of exciting ways in the last 5 years; Dr. Bajjaly deserves a lot of credit for the great way the school has evolved.
Q: Are you active in any student/professional organizations?
A: I am a member-at-large of the WSU SLIS Alumni Association Board.
Q: How has your involvement in student/professional organizations impacted your SLIS and professional experience?
A: I wish I had more time to be involved in student organizations during my time in the program. It was a missed opportunity.
Q: Are you currently doing any library related work? If so, how has the program prepared you for it?
A: Aside from the occasional side project, I’m not technically doing anything library-related. However, I really fell back in love with programming languages while in the Information Science classes (especially “Scripting Languages”). Additionally, the things I learned about search, classification, library ethics, and many other topics are applicable to my current job as a web developer.
Q: What were you most proud of in library school? What are you most proud of now that you are in the profession?
A: Like, accomplishments I was a part of? In the program I was pretty proud of:
- Surviving the cataloging class
- Sometimes writing things Dr. Holley liked in Library Administration class
- Being able to play well with others and achieve high marks on group projects
Overachieving on my scripting class final project: it may be the only time in my collegiate career that I didn’t procrastinate and turn in the bare minimum. I was proud to be in the program in general and positively beamed about the program and the profession whenever anyone made the mistake of asking what I was up to. Now that I am an information professional, I’m proud to have a useful degree from a good school. The things I learned there have been essential to my success over the past 5 years.
Q: Was there a professor who really impacted your journey into librarianship?
- Kim Schroeder got me into the profession in the first place. I ended up taking another class, Digital Archiving that continues to be useful whenever things like digitization, preservation and access, and other matters arise.
- Dr. Holley presented concepts in an engaging way. I had to think about new things in new ways all the time in that class. He’s to blame for me referencing the Abilene paradox so regularly, too.
- Dr. Anghelescu was my advisor, as well as my professor a number of times. She instilled a passion and ethic for reference in me.
- Dr. Heinrichs had confidence in me. I always appreciated that.
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’m constantly amazed by how, almost paradoxically:
- Almost everyone you meet is pretty clueless about LIS
- Those people almost universally know someone else who’s a librarian
Q: Do you feel you were well prepared for a career in the library and information profession?
Q: What professional accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from the program?
A: I was immediately hired to be the Digital Resources Developer at Canton Public Library. While there, I got to be part of projects that received attention in the library and other press. For instance, our website’s early adoption of responsive design was featured in Library Journal. I was also really stoked to be invited to attend the first Digital Public Library of America hackathon at Harvard last year. For the last three months I’ve been working outside of the library world (while still using my skills) at Commercial Progression. I’ve got to be a part of some of the company’s great accomplishments like: being featured on forbes.com, launching ours and a number of other new sites, and celebrating our office’s grand opening and the company’s five-year anniversary.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering [Wayne’s] SLIS as their library school?
A: If they’ve already decided that they want to get into Library and Information Science, then my only advice is to go for it. Come to Wayne State and get involved in the program. Learn as much as you possibly can. If you’re in the Detroit area, definitely spend time on campus. Work harder than is reasonable or healthy. Try to find an internship at a library. Volunteer on top of that. And have fun with it!