Master of Library & Information Science
"Always consider non-traditional library and information science employment and keep an open mind about 21st century librarianship and how it incorporates technological forms."
Q: What’s your name? When did you graduate? What was your undergraduate major?
A: My name is Nickia Bell and I graduated in 2009 with a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science, specializing in Public Libraries. Before I was accepted into the School of Library and Information Science, I was an undergraduate student at Wayne State University from 2003 to 2007, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Women’s Studies.
Q: Where are you from originally? How long have been in the area? Did you move here to go to school?
A: I was born in Detroit, Michigan, and I have lived in Highland Park, Michigan, for the past nine years.
Q: Why did you choose Wayne State University's School of Library and Information Science?
A: I chose to apply to SLIS during my sophomore year at Wayne State University. Due to the advice of my English advisor, I began the process of applying to SLIS by contacting the program director, Dr. Mika, to discuss the program and its requirements with him. Next, I attended the graduate school open house the year after and applied for the program.
Q: What was your specialization? Why?
A: I chose public libraries as my area of specialization because I was attracted by the many opportunities (various employment opportunities and programs) within the public library system to grow career-wise, as well as to improve upon my skills in human interaction and librarianship.
Q: Where/What format did you take most of your classes? Why?
A: When I was enrolled in SLIS, I mainly registered for and took courses on campus since I lived closer to Detroit. I took courses online if they were only available in that particular format.
Q: Are you currently doing any library related work? How has the School prepared you for it?
A: I am currently volunteering at a medical library at John D. Dingell VA Medical Center. As a result of my time spent at the facility, I am gaining and sharpening my reference and collection development skills, improving in circulation duties, and performing well in preparing and shipping library items for interlibrary loans. The library is also actively weeding its books and journal collections, due to them being outdated and/ or being now accessible online, and making room for new materials. The advanced reference and collection development courses at SLIS have been helpful when assisting patron searches and for understanding the purposes of weeding a library collection.
Q: What are you most proud of in library school?
A: I am most proud of how well SLIS prepares students for the professional (and non-professional) world where they will need to apply their knowledge of librarianship and/ or assist in the progression of 21st century technology.
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: The most surprising thing I learned about the profession was how important human interaction and technology are to the development of 21st century librarianship. I always thought that being a library employee only meant having limited contact with patrons through simply finding library materials, checking them in and out for them, and issuing library cards. However, I came to know that not only are there other library types in society (special, academic, technology centers, etc.), but that libraries are incorporating specialized technology into assisting patrons such as communicating with individuals and promoting the library through online social networks and providing aids for those who are visually and/ or hearing impaired.
Q:What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their library school?
A: Always consider non-traditional library and information science employment and keep an open mind about 21st century librarianship and how it incorporates technological forms. Finally, no matter how tough any situation within the program or within Wayne State may be, do not give up on your dreams and ambitions in pursuing your degree and your chosen profession.