This post is part of our Student Experience Series, which features current and former archives students as they reflect on graduate school, internships, and early career issues. If you would like to contribute a post for this series, please email me.
Maria Lin is a 2013 graduate of the University of Denver MLIS program, with a BA in Asian Studies from University of Hawaii. She currently works as an assistant to a rare book dealer in St. Paul.
1. What year will you graduate?
I graduated in 2013.
2. How did you end up in this field?
I got my BA in 2009 and returned home to find that the only job I could get was part time work at Barnes and Noble. A year after graduation I was being given 0 hours of work on the schedule week after week and decided to go back to school. After talking to a number of people already in the field I decided to pursue my MLIS.
3. What do you wish you had known before you started graduate school?
It would have been more financially sound to apply to the school closest to me and stay living at home. I also would have liked to have known that the archives concentration was going to be phased out the year I entered school.
4. Did you have any experience in libraries or archives before you started graduate school?
I did student work moving our card catalog to a digital system in high school, and had a job in college as a tech services employee for the law school, among other small stuff.
5. Have you (or will you) completed any internships or practicums as part of your studies?
I did one three month internship and a one month practicum abroad.
6. What classes have been most valuable to you so far?
Reference, Collections development (both taught by adjuncts), a digital collections class, and an audited class on Asian art history. The law reference class I took was also excellent. Those were the classes where I feel I learned the most.
As far as what classes were the most “valuable,” I’m not sure I’ll know that until I get a relevant job.
7. What does your program do best?
It fits around a working schedule and still offers most classes in person.
8. What could your program do better?
Offer more advanced classes, help fund participation in industry meetings and conventions.
9. How do you stay informed about trends in the profession?
Mostly through blogs nowadays.
10. What would you tell a prospective student who is thinking about becoming an archivist?
Don’t let the school experience defeat you, and don’t expect it to do much for you besides bestow you with a diploma and hopefully some strong personal contacts. You need to be self-motivated to teach yourself and able to separate the concept of the job you want from the slog of studying about the job you want.
For more posts in this series, check back here.