In the 21st century, librarians are more vital than ever before. As the amount of available information expands exponentially, with a growing interest and focus on electronic materials, rather than traditional print sources, librarians are needed to find, organize, and review materials that are needed by patrons. The Master of Library Science (MLIS) program at the University of South Florida (USF), in addition to ten years of inspiring students in my college-level history classes, prepared me to meet the evolving needs of information seekers. The MLIS program improved my leadership and research skills, gave me an appreciation for theoretical knowledge, and taught me how to conduct social scientific research, using quantitative and qualitative methods. This portfolio serves as a reflection of my experience and dedication to public service and demonstrates that I possess the following traits needed to be successful in the library field: leadership and innovation, systems and services, knowledge representation, and theory and praxis. In order to obtain extensive information regarding my education, employment credentials, and contact information, reviewers may utilize the menu bar at the top of the page. On the left side of the page, are important documents and resources that provide an overview of coursework and other resources that attest to my skills. As I discuss my educational preparedness for library employment, I will provide links to academic papers and assignments that highlight my understanding of the subject.
Librarianship requires a commitment to intellectual freedom, ensuring patron privacy, following ethical behavior, organizing and maintaining collections, and providing access to materials and information. These points, highlighted in Foundations of Library and Information Science, serve as core tenets of librarianship and reflect important knowledge of leadership traits (Goal 1). Gaining a greater understanding of the history of libraries solidifies these guiding principles. With my historical knowledge, analysis of philanthropists, such as Andrew Carnegie, in my Foundations course, and through extensive discussions in History of Libraries, it is profoundly evident that preserving books is essential as they provide a record of mankind. Without adequate protection, these treasures of the world may be lost forever. That is why archivists use dehumidifiers, monitor lighting conditions, and limit access to works that are subject to further deterioration. This reflects knowledge that I possess about the field (Goal 3).
Print resources must be organized with call numbers, utilize authority control, and follow the rules of a metadata standard, such as machine reading cataloguing (MARC). Electronic resources, on the other hand, are more easily catalogued by following the Dublin Core metadata standard. These skills, promoted in Organization of Knowledge, help to create order to a collection, which is imperative in order to ensure patron access to materials. Patrons, however, cannot be expected to find information on their own; librarians need to provide reference assistance, searching print and electronic resources and records to help patrons meet their research needs. Gaining experience with answering reference questions was a key focus of Basic Information Services & Services. Through this course, I gained knowledge of systems and services (Goal 2).
Librarians should not only assist patrons with finding resources they must also be active in the field by conducting their own social scientific research. Research Methods provided training in conducting this type of research in order to better understand problems in society. By understanding societal problems, it makes it easier to innovate solutions and meet the needs of patrons. For instance, during the semester, I prepared a quantitative research study related to improving motivation and time management at Broward College's South Campus. This study, which demonstrates my understanding of theory and praxis (Goal 4), can be utilized to improve class efficiency. Once studies are completed, they may be submitted for publication to an academic journal, such as Library Journal, and they may be published in online repositories, such as figshare. It is important to research these data repositories to ensure that the scholar understands the costs, terms, and conditions associated with publishing their work in such a forum. This was emphasized in Data Management & Practice. Data repositories may be useful sources of information that librarians may provide to patrons as well and is reflective of my knowledge on the field (Goal 3). As information specialists, librarians must create collections and find resources that appeal to a wide audience, while adhering to strict budget requirements. That was stressed in Collection Development, which required a collaborative effort, where our group established a collection for a minority population of Slavic origin. Focusing on a diverse population in this manner, reflects my skills in systems and services (Goal 2).
Librarians are supporters of multiculturalism, leaders, and forward-thinkers; they are always searching for new technologies and to lessen the digital divide, which is even greater in the countryside than it is in the cities. Learning new technology was my driving force for taking Curriculum and Instructional Technology, where I learned on how to record narration on PowerPoint presentations. It also led me to take Web Creation for Libraries, as I believe that 21st century libraries should know on how to engage the web, as part of web 2.0 and beyond in order to organize materials for modern users. This reflects my knowledge in the field (Goal 3).
As librarians progress through their career, they remain committed to the same guiding principles, but may take on added responsibilities as managers and supervisors. In order to learn to manage effectively, it is necessary to start with a course, such as Introduction to Library Administration. This course required students to conduct research on historical managers, such as Adam Smith, establishing a strategic plan, and promoted the importance of ethics in the workplace. Gaining an understanding of managerial and governing structure is essential as well. For instance, in Seminar on Public Libraries, I visited a meeting of the Board of Trustees in Broward County, Florida, which is the ultimate decision-maker for the public library and its budget. Through these courses, I gained important knowledge about leadership (Goal 1). In order to ensure patron satisfaction, periodic surveys should be conducted. These surveys can be used to demonstrate the success of library programs in order to obtain additional funding from the Board of Directors. Surveys can be used to conduct qualitative and quantitative research in order to improve patron satisfaction. These surveys can be in various formats, including digital or print; they should either ask multiple choice questions or ask for statistical values on a Likert scale for quantitative studies, or seek open-ended responses for qualitative studies. Likert scales can be used to create quantitative numbers from qualitative data as well. My understanding of surveys shows knowledge representation (Goal 3) and theory and praxis (Goal 4).
With dual master’s degrees in history and library science (by the end of the spring 2017 semester), I am uniquely trained to find, interpret, and elaborate on the historical background of resources that may be of use to patrons. While my historical training endears me to work with documents and to assist with research-related endeavors, I am a team-player who is versatile and capable of taking on any position that is asked of me. Through my hard work, dedication, team-focused approach, and leadership skills, I will be a great asset to the library, museum, and/or institution that I serve. Please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience by phone at 954-881-4082 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.