By Shania Taylor
On October 23, Jacob Ericson (Legal Information Specialist), Craig Olsvik (Senior Content and Licensing Officer), David McDonald (Legislative Librarian), and Melissa Helwig (Health Librarian) joined students and faculty to have a panel discussion on special libraries.
Students were able to ask the professionals questions and get an idea of what they can do with their degrees beyond traditional library careers. A prominent theme that arose throughout the talk was the unpredictability of life after graduation. Every one of the panelists indicated that their current jobs were not where they thought they were going to end up when they started their degrees, and how important it is for students to take any opportunities offered to them. They also unanimously emphasized the importance of being able to demonstrate leadership and teamwork skills to employers, as those will be what sets them apart from every other MLIS graduate hoping to earn the same job. Being active in extracurricular activities within and outside the program can look very good on a resume.
The hardest part of working in information management is dealing with people, the panelists agreed. Although they all brought up different aspects of it, it all came back to communicating with others and the challenges that come with that. Their suggestions for dealing with this problem were varied, but ultimately came back to the same concept – treat others as you would like to be treated. Be friendly, be respectful, and try to see things from others’ perspectives, but also retain strong personal and professional boundaries and become comfortable with saying “no” when it is warranted. All together, the event was fun and informative, and more than worth any MLIS student’s time.