“Your drive is what is going to keep you relevant in the field.”
Q. What’s your name?
A. Kalana Cooper
Q. What degree you are seeking?
A. MLIS in Public librarianship.
Q. What semester/year do you expect to graduate?
A. December, 2016.
Q. Where are you from originally?
A. Detroit, MI.
Q. How long have you been in the area?
A. All my life.
Q. What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
A. I have a degree in Africana Studies from WSU that I received in 2012.
Q. Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
A. Because I have been working in the library field for 8 years prior to enrolling. I applied and took advantage of the scholarship that I received.
Q. What area are you specializing in?
A. Public Librarianship
A. Because I already work in a public library setting and I have a lot of experience in that area and can move up where I am currently.
Q. Where/What format do you take most of your classes?
A. I take classes 100% online.
A. It is a requirement for Project IDOL.
Q. Are you active in any student organizations?
A. I participate in Project IDOL, FLID, and I am on the African American committee at my job and I am a member of ALA.
Q. How has your involvement in student organizations impacted your SLIS experience?
A. Project IDOL has impacted me a lot and all of the members are supportive of each other. They encourage each other to keep going. They keep each other informed and share info about growth and enhancement in the field.
Q. Are you currently doing any library, DCM, Archives or Information Management related work?
A. I work at a library now and I act as a librarian (paraprofessional). I currently work on planning and implementing programs.
Q. How has the program prepared you for this type of work?
A. There are a lot of resources that I use for reference that I've learned from the courses. All of my classes have helped me in some way.
Q. What are you most proud of in your time as a student at SLIS?
A. I am just proud to complete my coursework. I work full time and take classes full time, so being able to take courses online has really been convenient for my schedule and lifestyle.
Q. Is there a professor who has really impacted your journey into becoming a librarian or information professional?
A. I appreciated Professor Holley. He gave a lot of work during my first semester in the program and pointed things out in my work that I didn’t know about myself (like I should consider storytelling and being creative). It confirmed a talent that I knew I had. And Kafi Kumasi is the reason why I am in Project IDOL. She motivated me to apply for Project IDOL.
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. Since I have been in the library field for so long, not much was surprising. But it did expose me to other types of libraries like small suburban libraries and allowed me to see how they are similar in many ways.
Q. Do you feel well prepared for a career in the information profession?
A. Yes. I am already practicing and there is room to grow. And WSU does a good job at preparing students.
Q. Any long-term professional goals?
A. Not yet. I am just gaining experience as a librarian right now. There is room for relocation possiby.
Q. Have you acquired a position yet? If so, where?
A. Yes-- I have a position at the Detroit Public Library, in the Business/Tech department and the Social Science, Education and Religion department.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their LIS school?
A. Just keep going, never be discouraged. I come from an underserved community and I know that there are things you have to overcome. Continue to motivate yourself and to find a mentor. (I have several, actually). Figure out how you can appeal to communities. Don’t just do it for yourself, do it for the people you will be serving. Your drive is what is going to keep you relevant in the field.
Kalana Cooper is a member of SLIS's Project IDOL (Increasing Diversity of Librarians) cohort.