Monica C. Brady
"Dr. Turrini has done a tremendous job working to further opportunities in the community for his archival students. He has also been extremely supportive and encouraging of all my endeavors, SLIS-related or otherwise."
Q: What's your name? What degree you are seeking? What semester/year do you expect to graduate?
A: My name is Monica C. Brady, and I'm working toward the MLIS with a certificate in Archival Administration. I graduate in May 2011.
Q: Where are you from originally? How long have you been in the area? Did you move here to go to school?
A: I'm originally from Sterling Heights. I lived in Mt. Pleasant, Midland, and Elizabethtown, Kentucky, before settling down in Royal Oak, Michigan. I had always wanted to do Wayne's SLIS program, but when I was living in Midland, the on-line program was not yet available. After moving back to Detroit, I decided to apply for the traditional program.
Q: What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A: I have a Bachelor of Science degree in English with a minor in history and a Master of Arts degree in Composition and Communication from Central Michigan University.
Q: Why did you choose Wayne State University's School of Library and Information Science?
A: I chose Wayne State's School of Library and Information Science because of its reputation and convenience to Royal Oak.
Q: What area are you specializing in? Why?
A: I'm specializing in archives because I became interested in the archival world while taking a seminar in textual analysis and editing for my Master of Arts Degree. I expanded on some of the work I completed for that course, completing a historical editing thesis, working with the Civil War letters of Captain Charles H. Curtiss, a Detroit resident who served with Michigan's 7th Infantry during the War.
Q: Where/What format do you take most of your classes? Why?
A: I am a traditional student on the main campus. I enjoy going to class and having the opportunity to be more intimately involved in on-campus activities, SLIS or otherwise.
Q: Are you active in any student organizations?
A: I am currently the vice-president of the ALA@Wayne group, but I also attend SAA functions when my schedule permits.
Q: How has your involvement in student organizations impacted your SLIS experience?
A: My experience with ALA@Wayne has made me more aware of issues facing libraries today, primarily because I joined the ALA and MLA as a result of my ALA@Wayne association. It has also made me more eager to attend conferences; unfortunately, due to time and money, I haven't been able to make any yet.
Q: Are you currently doing any library related work? If so, how has the School prepared you for it?
A: Dr. Turrini's leadership of the archival program has been wonderful, providing me with the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful archivist, whether that entails curating oral histories, digitizing, or performing conventional processing work. I completed my practicum at the Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive in August, where I digitized a collection of hand-made children's books based on the oral histories at the archive. I then converted the images into digital flipping books for the Voice/Vision website so they will be available for viewing by the public. In January, Voice/Vision hired me as a research assistant. Additionally, as part of the archival program, I had the opportunity to be part of the Cass Corridor Oral History Project, which was not only very exciting but also made me feel more connected to the Wayne State campus and surrounding neighborhood. In the fall of 2010, I volunteered at Preservation Wayne, helping Pat White process its collection. I learned a lot about Detroit's neighborhoods, the history of Wayne State, and Detroit's historic buildings.
Q: What are you most proud of in library school?
A: Since I've been in the program, I think I'm most proud of the work I've done with the Detroit community. The Cass Corridor Oral History Project was fabulous for learning about the rich cultural heritage surrounding Wayne State and the Corridor, and I see working at Preservation Wayne as a way to apply that knowledge and make connections between what I learned during the Project and actually working with documents that relate to the history of the Corridor. I also had the opportunity to work on the plans for reopening the McGregor Library in Highland Park in Dr. G's public libraries class.
Q: Is there a professor who has really impacted your journey into librarianship?
A: Since I am an archival student, Dr. Turrini, of course. Dr. Turrini has done a tremendous job networking in the community to further opportunities for his students. He has also been extremely supportive and encouraging of all my endeavors, both in and out of SLIS. Dr. Scout Calvert is the other professor in SLIS that has impacted me. I like to joke that Dr. Calvert makes my brain hurt, but to me, that's a wonderful thing. While she teaches only LIS courses, what I learned from her 6010 and cataloging classes are things I have carried with me every day in all of my other coursework and even into a part-time retail job!
Q: Since joining the program, what do you feel is the most important or surprising thing you've learned about the library and information science profession?
A: You mean librarians don't just shush people and shelve books?!? I entered the program blind to librarianship, so that statement isn't entirely untrue! Really, though, I had no idea how much work librarians actually do, especially on such tight budgets these days. Also, as part of my coursework for Dr. Calvert's 6010 class, I visited the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library and saw first-hand how integral the library is to a community, especially in a time of crisis, as the NOPL was the main source of community information for residents after Hurricane Katrina.
Q: Do you feel well prepared for a career in the information profession? Any long-term professional goals?
A: While all archives and libraries operate differently, I feel like I have a strong foundation for entering into the workforce.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their library school?
A: My biggest piece of advice to potential SLIS students would be to get involved as much as possible, even if that means making extra time in your schedule or participating in the many on-line discussion forums SLIS offers, especially for the on-line students. I think it makes all the difference in having a great experience as opposed to simply a good one.