Library School Redux

by Amelia Zavala Vander Heide ,Senior Editor, INALJ Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virtual Work

Library School Redux

If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have done some things differently, including taking a different course load in library school. This article is for those INALJ readers who are either currently in library school or are thinking about starting library school. I asked some of my fellow INALJ editors, “What are some courses they wish they had taken during their MLS?”

Grant Writing

When I was in library school, I was sure that I wanted to be an academic librarian. On top of being an academic librarian, I was sure that I wanted to work as a digital or e-resources librarian. However, life did not turn out that way. Now, I am a very happy public librarian. Because I was so sure what I wanted to do, I did not take many classes outside my path. If I could go back and do it again, I would definitely have taken a course in grant writing. Now, as a public librarian trying to apply for various grants, it seems like such a great skill I wish I had.


Being a successful and fair manager is difficult, and they are not skills that necessarily come naturally, thus taking a course in management can offer a wealth of information for future career moves. Knowing the basic tools of successful management styles can help even before you enter a position of authority. Marketing and management go hand in hand– they are non-library skills that can help immensely in a library environment.


Have you ever thought about being an academic or instructional librarian? Awesome. More than likely you have either taken a class or you are thinking of taking a class in instruction/instructional design. Still, there are many in library school who have no interest in instruction, and they do not take these courses. When you enter your career, it can take many twists and turns, and suddenly you are asked to teach some kind of class or program. Having a course in instruction in your repertoire can be a great asset to your future career. Many INALJ Editors who answered my request stated they wished they had taken an instruction course during library school.


This is another course I personally wish I had taken. I was suddenly a public librarian with no storytelling experience. It took me a month to work up the courage to go in front of that crowd of kindergarteners. (Seriously those little faces can be super intimidating.) Now I feel like an old pro. I can whip together a storytime in little to no time. Still, there are times when I wish that I had taken a course in great and effective storytelling, and it seems that some of my fellow editors agree.

I hope that this gives all those future librarians out there some inspiration when they pick their electives. You never know where your career is going to take you, and you never know which skills you wish you had. Please add any advise for future and current MLS students in the comments below.

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