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SLIS: Surviving Grad School

 

Prior to starting this program I had a hunch that I might be in for a bumpy ride.  I really didn’t mind because I knew that the knowledge and experience gained would be well worth the sacrifice and of course a long term career that I was passionate about.

Getting involved in a graduate program is a rewarding yet huge undertaking.  In addition to taking courses many students have work, internships, practicums and life itself to contend with.  Something I am all too familiar with.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a SLIS faculty meeting, one of the major concerns involved getting students to understand the dynamics of taking on a graduate program especially SLIS.  Many had come to the conclusion that some students just aren’t fully aware of what it takes to survive a graduate program without feeling overwhelmed.  From there a few faculty proposed addressing this concern within a blog topic, so as a SLIS Graduate Student Assistant I decided to add my two cents.

These are a few pointers that have helped me to stay afloat while navigating my way through SLIS:

  • Time Management-The reality is that each graduate level course is the equivalent of two undergraduate classes.  An average course load for many SLIS students is between 2 to three classes.  Much of the course work involves reading, research and in many cases site visits. So with this in mind you might want to develop a schedule that allows you to take on these tasks without falling behind or feeling overwhelmed.

 

  • Multitasking-In addition to course work, you may have to consider the number of hours you are or able to spend working in order to sustain yourself.  SLIS also encourages students to get as much hands on experience as possible, so if you are not currently working within a library, archives, museum or such you should consider taking on a few internships or volunteer positions to get your feet wet.  According to most employers, proving your scholastic abilities is only half the battle-what they really want to know is what can you do? / What skills do you have that can be directly applied to the job at hand?

 

  • One step at a time-Though grad school doesn’t last forever there is no need to rush it’s better to take your time so that you get as much out of the program as possible versus graduating with no real knowledge or skills gained.

 

  • Read your Syllabi-This is crucial as the syllabi outline the course descriptions, instructors expectations of the students, grading policies and most importantly assigned readings and projects.  Going over these can help you plan accordingly which will allow you to tackle readings and assignments within a reasonable time frame.

 

  • Get to know your instructors-They are there to help!  No self-respecting instructor wants their students to fail, so by all means, if you have any concerns PLEASE REACH OUT!  You may find yourself surprised at how open and willing they are to assist you; some may even find it flattering that you are seeking their help!  Instructors are excellent resources for recommendations for internships, scholarships and other academic and professional endeavors.  Making your presence known enables them to learn more about your personality, professional and academic abilities and goals.  It also gives you the chance to prove to your instructors how serious and driven you are!

 

  • If possible take half of your classes online and half in person-This gives you an opportunity to tweak your tech skills and get familiar with using Blackboard.  F2F courses allow you to get to know your instructors and fellow classmates a little better.  Placing names with faces is always a plus!

 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions-There is no such thing as a silly question, speaking up whether you are sure or not will always help to solve concerns before they become issues, this not only applies with instructors but with the program overall!

 

  • Seek tech support if you need it-That is what they are here for!

 

  • Believe in yourself!-We are often our harshest critics and our worst enemies!  We all doubt ourselves from time to time-it’s normal, but don’t let your doubts get the best of you!  You were accepted into the program, which means that someone out there sees your potential!

 

 

YOU CAN DO IT!

 

3 Feb 2014

Looking Back at 2013

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Poster Presentation (Myself at the 2013 Michigan Library Association Conference in Lansing, Michigan). My last conference of 2013.

         
In 2011 if anyone had asked me a few years back where I saw myself in 2013, I would have quickly shrugged my shoulders and given them a look of uncertainty. Before I realized my interest and talents lay in librarianship and archival studies, I had no clear vision of what I wanted or where my life should go.

Fast forward two years, and I find myself as a newly hired Graduate Student Assistant with Wayne’s School of Library & Information Science. The opportunity came as a surprise as I never envisioned myself engaged in any academic endeavor outside of the classroom. So the fact that I had been accepted as the new Diversity GSA was a bit surreal, 3 days passed before the brevity of my situation sank in.
After realizing that part of my responsibilities would include traveling to and presenting at conferences, school fairs, and other events… fear began to ease its way into my self-conscious. Traveling was easy, the idea of presenting or communicating with others ON A MASSIVE SCALE was what frightened me. I trembled at the thought of me, holding THE source of information that could make or break someone’s decision to start our program and ultimately change their future. Well, I’ve overcome that hump, sort of!

Presentations still send chills up my spine; the difference is that with each presentation, my knowledge base and confidence levels increase. This leads me to believe that while I may never write speeches for the White House, I’ve developed enough eloquence, gall and know-how to get a solid point across.
I also had to overcome my insecurities and learn to trust myself enough to develop solid ideas and initiatives that would bring attention to the program and the field. I also had to focus on ways to increase diversity. For me that meant reaching out to other professionals and students for ideas, opinions and experiences; conducting research related to diversity issues within LIS; getting more involved with student organizations; blogging; assisting professors with projects surrounding diversity and so on.
My experience up to this point has been a whirlwind of positive challenges that have helped me to develop as an individual as well as a professional. Of all the academic and professional experiences I have had, my position as the DGSA has proven to be the most profound.

As we move into 2014, my intention is to continue reaching out to prospective students by hosting more information sessions and making myself and the program more visible on and around Wayne’s campus. I also plan to delve more into research surrounding issues of diversity within librarianship. One of my major goals is to put more energy and time into establishing FLID (Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity) as one of the premier student organizations on Wayne’s campus. A tough task but not impossible, as I will be collaborating with the student chapter of ALA in bringing more attention to FLID (by increasing diversity in membership, hosting meetings, events and other functions that will bring more awareness to the field of LIS.)

It seems as if I have busy, challenging, and interesting year ahead of me, all of which I look forward to. In the end this will make my goal of leaving a positive mark on the university, the program, my peers and of course myself more possible.

Thank you all, for such a profound and enriching semester! Until next time…..

 

19 Dec 2013

Short But Sweet: The BCALA-NCAAL 8th Annual Conference, Covington, Kentucky

On August 9, 2013, I participated in a poster session for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (See link to image below).  The session which lasted for about 45 minutes allowed me to discuss the inception of the Diversity Graduate Student Assistantship, how, why and when it was initiated, the past, present and future goals of this position and some of the undertakings on and off campus.  Whilst there I had the opportunity to meet with Latisha Reynolds a Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian with the University of Louisville, who was one of the programs coordinators.  In addition I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Mark Puente the director of Diversity and Leadership Programs at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in which we briefly discussed the purpose and recruitment initiatives for the ARL/SAA Mosaic Scholarship Program as well as the ARL/Music Library Association Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.  Our meeting was brief but the connection I made was priceless.  For me one of the highlights of the evening was discovering that my presence alone was much anticipated by several conference attendees, one in particular, Kenneth Despertt, a Washington, DC librarian, was interested in discussing ways to recruit more male participation within the LIS field.  Unfortunately for me I do not have much experience yet in the area of recruiting underrepresented male populations.  However speaking with him helped to shed light on an issue that seriously needs to be addressed within our field, our discussion even prompted me to consider ways in which I can promote our SLIS program and Library and Information Science to the underrepresented male population.

Because of certain time restraints I was not able to participate in the remaining stretch of the conference; it nevertheless was a valuable experience for me.  It once again allowed me to further develop my presentation skills, but most importantly this experience allowed me to network with other professionals on a more personal level, exchange information and ideas, and hopefully apply what I have learned in my daily activities as the DGSA.

I can’t stress enough the value in participating in such events, the connections one makes and the information obtained is difficult to come by in our everyday lives, this is what makes these experiences absolutely priceless!  Again I stress the importance of placing oneself in the limelight, making the right connections, learning and accepting new ideas and applying them in order to make a difference and promote a more diverse library universe!

View the poster:  BCALA-2013 DGSA Poster Presentation

Nichole L. Manlove
Diversity Graduate Student Assistant
School of Library and Information Science
Wayne State University
nichole.manlove@wayne.edu

 

15 Aug 2013

ALA-2013: A Rite of Passage

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From left to right: Anita Niemczyk, Matt Fredericks, Nichole Manlove,
and Christina Golm at ALA-2013, Chicago, Illinois

This year I was officially initiated into the realm of librarianship…hazing not included.  The process involved attending the American Library Association’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, Illinois.  This event marked my first encounter as a conferencee and exhibitor, and whoa what an experience.  The event was chock full of librarians, archivists, consultants of various types, publishers, vendors and all of the mythical creatures that comprise the information empire.  Did I forget to mention that I made a few new friends as well?  That’s right; I had the opportunity to connect with potential students by discussing the SLIS program, my personal experiences and the endless list of available and potential careers.  One of the most exciting aspects of the conference was speaking with WSU alumni who have graduated from our program.  The encouragement from these alumni was endless and provided me with the chance to meet real-life working LIS professionals.  So for all of you that are concerned about whether or not jobs in the LIS field actually exist….yes they do….the key is making yourself visible and standing out amidst the sea of prospects.

To make matters more interesting I was able to participate in my very first poster presentation where I talked about my position as a GSA and some of the accomplishments of the previous GSA, Crystal JolIy.  Slightly hidden in the back of the special events arena we did not receive as many visitors as anticipated but plenty of people did stop by. I had the opportunity to address questions about my position as well as the state of minorities or lack thereof within the LIS profession.  I met so many wonderful people and exchanged plenty of ideas and though my audience was not vast, the connections I made and the knowledge I gained was priceless.

Last but not least in addition to making new connections I was able to peruse the conference grounds and visit some of the other exhibits.  The experience was slightly overwhelming because there were thousands of attendees and over 693 exhibitors of varying types including ALISE, BiblioCommons, Inc., EBSCO Information Services, Federal Trade Commission, H.W. Wilson, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS), the Library of Congress, the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation, National Geographic, OCLC, Reference USA, and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) just to mention a few.  Of course I could not visit all of the exhibits but I did get a chance to speak with a few vendors from the Library of Congress, Family Search, Digital Transitions, and Galaxy Press.  Here I got the chance to see what these vendors had to offer how the representatives obtained their positions.  Each had different stories to tell but all were nonetheless interesting and encouraging.

5 Aug 2013

“On the Road Again”

Atlanta University Center ImageOne of the things I love the most about my job as a GSA is that I have the opportunity to travel to various LIS events and connect with people in the field.  Earlier this month I had the honor to represent SLIS at the 2013 Recruiting Tomorrows Library Leaders Summer Leadership Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.  The event was sponsored by the Atlanta University Center which comprises of Clark Atlanta University, The Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spellman College.  Additional sponsors were Bennett College, Dillard University, and Johnson C. Smith University.  It took place inside of the newly renovated Robert W. Woodruff Library/Virginia Lacey Jones Exhibition Hall.  The session in which I participated was aptly titled “Pursuing Librarianship: Graduate School and Professional Opportunities”.  Of course I was nervous; this was my second speaking engagement, the first to take place outside of Michigan.  Nevertheless, my nervousness was all in vain as everything fell perfectly into place.

Here’s how it went down…the first set of panelists discussed the ins and outs of the archives profession.  The second set discussed the ins and outs of librarianship as a whole; both were followed by brief Q & A sessions.  Shortly afterwards we began a case study surrounding ethics and how they relate to library rules and regulations.  This particular case focused on a group of fictional students who supported a “Half-Naked-Half Hour Library Session” in which students would occupy a certain library for 1 half hour partially dressed.  Participating students debated the pros and cons of allowing such activities on a college campus.

As the final leg of the event encroached, representatives from several participating schools and institutions including the University of Pittsburgh, the Smithsonian, the University of North Texas and of course Wayne State spent a few moments discussing their LIS programs including admissions, the application process, courses, internships, scholarships and various other funding opportunities.  In addition we were allowed to set up display tables in which students were provided with information packets, business cards, and other school paraphernalia.  I was elated to have several students approach me with questions about program tracks, student employment and funding opportunities… naturally I eagerly obliged them!

When the information sessions were completed select students were chosen to present papers on information specialists they previously interviewed (What Makes a Leader?).  Shortly afterwards, the program came to a close.

My consensus is…the experience was well worth-while.  Not only did I get a chance to connect with potential students, the AUC Director Loretta Parham, and other representatives including Maurice Wheeler (former Director of the Detroit Public Library).  This was a great event and my participation forced me to step outside of my comfortable realm of solitude and develop leadership skills, provide information to other students and network with professionals!

The overall purpose of this event was to attract talented and ambitious undergraduate students to the field of library and information science and promote leadership …Mission accomplished! 

5 Aug 2013

If at first you don’t succeed…then take a second look!

I tried to stay within the speed limit as I struggled to ignore the sense of urgency brewing within me.  Steadily I made my way south down M-52 towards Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI. I was nervous and I wanted to arrive early enough to set up and gather my thoughts.  “This day, Wednesday, April 3rd, I was to experience my first speaking engagement outside of the classroom!”  My job was to host an informal Lunch & Learn session; my goal was to enlighten as many students as possible about our graduate program and possible career opportunities.  This is one of my most important responsibilities as the Outreach GSA for SLIS, so I took this opportunity to heart.

Luckily I landed in plenty of time!

Upon arrival I was eagerly greeted by library staff, including Bob Gordon, the Director and Corrine Smither, the cataloging librarian and a graduate of Wayne’s LIS program.  As I followed Corrine down the corridor and into the library I couldn’t help but think “This is the single most frightening moment of my life!”  Nevertheless, my nervousness started to fade as I began setting up.

The atmosphere was calm, everything went smoothly as planned, the only thing missing…the students!  Now most people would have panicked, and rightfully so, but instead of giving up I took the stage and presented for Corrine and the Director.  Being my first presentation I made mistakes…I stumbled over certain words and struggled with eye contact.  Regardless the director and Corrine listened intently and afterwards praised me in addition to giving me sound advice on eye contact, points to make in my future presentations and information to include or exclude within the slides themselves.  The director even suggested that I walk around the room to engage my audience; he found this to be quite helpful in his personal experience.  Something I had not considered before, but nevertheless, it was good, sound advice!
Now for most people the thought of confronting a similar situation would have brought on a sense of failure, discouragement or even embarrassment.  For me this was not the case, I looked at this as an opportunity to practice my speaking skills in front of two seasoned professionals and also gain valuable insight on presenting in the future.  The worries of presenting in front of  fellow students were erased, this was an opportunity to get the practice that I would need before presenting to a larger audience.  After all was said and done I surprisingly walked away feeling satisfied and accomplished.  I couldn’t help but to think, “how lucky I must have been to get this one on one attention.”

If there one thing I have learned from this experience, it is that situations do not always work out as intended and somewhere in hindsight we must be prepared for this.  After all in the end we may find ourselves with something positive to gain!  I know I certainly did!

15 Apr 2013

Where Have All the Men Gone?

It never dawned on me until recently that library systems in the United States are almost completly staffed by women.  Upon first glance one would assume that men have no place in libraries (at least when it comes to employment), the only exception would be the staggering numbers of men holding administrative leadership positions within these institutions.  I ask myself constantly why does this seem to be the norm?  The answer may come in many forms….some men view librarianship as a feminine occupation, librarianship as a whole is not promoted as a lucrative field where advancement is possible  and expected.   Some people view librarianship as an area where little to no money can be made (salarywise).   Below is a short but interesting article I read in Libray Journal addressing the issue of gender diversity in libraries.   I’d love to hear  what others may think about this issue, especially the men pursuing careers within LIS!  So check it out and let me know what you think? What experiences you may have  faced? What suggestions or ideas do you have to address the lack of gender diversity?

http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA423789.html

Thanks again and I look forward to your comments

 

Nichole L. Manlove
Diversity Graduate Student Assistant
School of Library and Information Science
Wayne State University
1-(313)-577-3058
nichole.manlove@wayne.edu

25 Mar 2013

Diversity Never Happens: The Story of Minority Hiring Doesn’t Seem To Change Much | Editorial

And so we meet again,

You know it has been quite some time since my last post.  A few days ago I was pondering on ways  on how to make myself more marketable within the profession and whether or not race, ethnicity and gender are still predominant limiting factors when it comes to minorities and their experiences in finding employment.  With that being said I wanted to share an interesting article I found on libraryjournal.com. The article specifically discusses the hiring trends of minorities within the library profession and the impact that minorities as patrons have on libraries. Reading this prompted me to think about the experiences I may come across as a potential/future information specialist, and what actions fellow minorities can take to guarantee their place in the field of library and information science.  I am curious to know what others think, their experiences in their search for employment.  So by all means check out the link below,  take a few moments to read,  ponder and post. I look forward to discussing this hot topic with my fellow informationists!

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/02/opinion/editorial/diversity-never-happens-the-story-of-minority-hiring-doesnt-seem-to-change-much/

Thanks and until we meet again

Nichole L. Manlove
Diversity Graduate Student Assistant
School of Library and Information Science
Wayne State University
1-(313)-577-3058
Nichole.manlove@wayne.edu

22 Mar 2013

Hello world!

New Diversity Outreach Graduate Student Assistant!

School of Library and Information Science

Wayne State University

 

Greetings to all!

My name is Nichole L. Manlove and I wanted to introduce myself as the new Diversity Graduate Student Assistant for Wayne’s School of Library and Information Science.  I am currently in my fourth semester here at Wayne and am looking forward to the exciting new challenges that the position may bring.  To provide a brief background of myself I received my BA in Advertising from Michigan State University in May of 2000.  As I mentioned previously I am a LIS graduate student currently working towards my MA in Library and Information Science and soon I hope to become a candidate for the graduate History program.  In addition I am working to achieve my certificate in Archival Administration.  My ultimate goal is to develop into an Archivist within a museum or special library with a focus on African American History.  To assist me on my road to success I am involved with Wayne’s student chapter of the Society of American Archivists as the Program Committee Chair, in addition I am currently a volunteer with the Archives Library of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

As the new year comes into focus I am excited to embark upon a new journey and join forces with those of like minds.  Through my remaining time here as the new Diversity GSA my goal is to implement the skills, education and training I have received thus far in order to assist the School of Library and Information Science in promoting diversity among minorities within the program and field.  In doing so my plan is to seek fresh faces by developing initiatives that will draw attention to the vast array of career/development and scholarship opportunities that are available.

Once again I am looking forward to embarking on a new journey and welcome all who are interested to join me.  If there are any questions, concerns, or valuable input, I welcome them all.

Please feel free to contact me via blog, email or phone! :-)

Thank you once again, and I wish all of you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Nichole L. Manlove
Diversity Graduate Student Assistant
School of Library and Information Science
Wayne State University
1-(313)-577-3058
Nichole.manlove@wayne.edu

1 Feb 2013