As I sat down to write this blog post detailing my independent study, one word really stuck out in my mind summarizing this experience: informative.
A lot has happened since I completed the library internship in the fall and began this independent study centered on academic libraries. My dreams to be a museum curator and/or academic research librarian have come closer to fruition, as I’ve been accepted into Kent State’s Master’s of Library and Information Science program. My future with libraries is becoming more concrete.
Similarly, this independent study has taken the concepts I learned in the internship and made them more in-depth and real. I’ve had more flexibility in what I study and have had many opportunities to gain valuable hands-on experience. The internship was great at giving an overview of libraries, while the independent study has built upon that solid foundation to provide a more individual, tailored, and practical learning experience.
Through this course, I chose four areas of study: archives, collection development, history of libraries, and research/instruction. I thought I would detail three of my favorite activities in this blog post from some of these areas of concentration.
This probably has been by far my most favorite activity and most valuable learning experience from my independent study. Unfortunately, not many students are aware of what LibGuides are or of what LibGuides Centennial Library has to offer. In a nutshell, LibGuides serve as research starters for specific topics and courses. On the library website, these can be located under the “Research Help” heading and by clicking on the “Research Guides” link. As a graduating English major, I chose to create a course guide for Dr. Deardorff’s Literary Theory class to help future students get a jump start on literary theory terms and concepts. I highly encourage students to take advantage of these resources; I wish I used them more during my undergraduate studies! The LibGuide program was easy and fun to use, and I am looking forward to using it in the future.
2) Wright State Archives Field Trip
Because I want to pursue a concentration in archives while in graduate school, I was able to take a day-trip to Wright State’s campus and visit their library and archives. Their collection primarily consists of aviation history, the history of Wright State itself, and Wright brothers’ memorabilia. Their collection was massive and included so many interesting items! They have anything from medals and trophies won by the Wright brothers to the Dayton Daily News archives with original John F. Kennedy photographs, to behind the scenes film from Star Trek: The Original Series. Author David McCullough and actor Tom Hanks have used their services! I was really impressed with the faculty and staff and with the level of student involvement. The people there are really invested in history and in the community, and welcome volunteers into the archives to experience and share the history themselves.
3) Book Display
Who doesn’t enjoy putting together a book display!? I had a chance to do this activity during the library internship and jumped at the chance to do another one through this independent study. For this display, I chose the subject of world cultures in order to coincide with MISO’s World Fair that same week. This was a fun an interesting display, for it pushed me out of my comfort zone and into subjects, cultures, and languages I didn’t know much about. I chose books about cultural art and food, travel guides to different countries, landmarks, and locations, and interactive maps to provide a visual element to the display. Many of the materials were checked out over the time the display was up, so it must have been a success! I learned a lot doing this display.
This independent study has been a valuable experience and has provided integral hands-on experience for me in a library setting and career. This course will prove to be a great stepping-stone as I begin graduate school in the fall. If you want to learn more about libraries, I encourage you to inquire about library jobs, the library internship, career exploration, and independent study. The library is like an iceberg; you only see so much on the surface, but there is so much more that it has to offer!