At the Crossroads: Taking the Next Step Post-MLIS

by Amanda Viana, Head Editor, INALJ Massachusetts

At the Crossroads: Taking the Next Step Post-MLIS

AmandaViana In my library career, I’ve had a lot of different roles: volunteer, friend, part-time page, Library Assistant, Information Services Librarian, Library Trustee, and most recently, Assistant Director. Despite having graduated with my MLIS less than two years ago, lately I’ve felt like something has been missing. Working for INALJ has broadened my understanding of what librarians and information professionals are capable of—but the flip side of that coin is realizing how quickly things change. I need to consistently keep up with trends in the field, and acquire new skills if I hope to be competitive in the job market.

I always intended to continue my education post-MLIS, but with a challenging new role at work, now just isn’t the right time to pursue another degree. So how can I continue to add to my resume and continue to learn new skills? I don’t have it all figured out just yet but I’ve got some ideas. Looking over the jobs that are posted on INALJ, particularly in my home state of Massachusetts, Database Administrators, Front-End Developers, and Information Architects/User Experience experts are all in high demand. Being a public librarian is what I’ve always wanted to do, and what I intend to pursue in the future, but realistically speaking that may not always be possible. I need to cultivate other skills as well.

I know I can’t tackle everything at once, so I’ve considered which avenue will help me now and in the future. At my library the Director, Youth Services Librarian and I share webmaster duties, so I think learning code and/or IA/UX would be in my best interest. Having narrowed the field a bit I thought I’d share some of the articles and continuing education avenues I’m considering:

Library Juice Academy recently began offering a Certificate in User Experience

Hack Library School’s Web Development 101—The Basics

Shane Snow, COO of Contently, explains “Why You Need To Know Code (And How You Can Learn In A Month)”

Code.org gives you access to programs and schools that can help you learn to code

There’s w3schools for the do-it-yourselfer

Universal Class offers remote courses taught by real teachers—and your local library may have a subscription that will allow you to take courses for free

Lynda.com offers video tutorials that teach “software, business, and creative skills” (check with your local library system to see if you can access Lynda at a discount—the Massachusetts Library System offers this service)

Some more ideas:

Check out the courses offered where you received your MLIS, or any school with an Information Studies department. And, most community colleges offer classes in web development with a lower price tag.

Looks like I’ve got some thinking to do! Have you learned to code? How did you do it? Know of any other great resources for acquiring new skills post-Master’s degree?

  5 comments for “At the Crossroads: Taking the Next Step Post-MLIS

  1. September 9, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Great thoughts! I just went back to my University this semester to obtain an additional Information Literacy Instruction Certificate. Since I only needed one more class for the certification I figured it is a win win.

  2. Crystal
    September 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Code Academy is the very intuitive and hands-on.

  3. September 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Codeschool.com offers some cool options for learning Ruby, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, or iOS programming. The user interface is pretty amazing – in browser with feedback. It isn’t free, but you can try out a few courses for free and then see if it is something you want to pursue. The “Try **” courses are a good place to start. There are also elective courses, such as Discover DevTools, Try Git, Try R, and more advanced Git courses. One of the few sites that I would consider paying for and really a fun way to start coding.

  4. Heidi
    September 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I took a great course this summer offered by the ALA. It wasn’t free, but it put me in touch with librarians from across the nation.

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