Here is this week’s installment of the Library School Career Center feature, which is presented in partnership with the folks from the blog Hack Library School. If you’re interested in library education, or in new ideas and the future of the profession, you should check it out.
This interview is with Roy Brooks, LIS Career Specialist at the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library & Information Science. He earned his M.A. in Library & Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Career Center Information
Who staffs the career center? Please talk a little about how it is managed and run?
At Illinois GSLIS, career services are coordinated by Roy Brooks, the LIS Career Specialist. The Career Specialist helps students figure out where they want to go professionally and how to get there.
Roy collaborates with faculty, staff, alumni, and other friends of the GSLIS program to deliver a full suite of services and programming that helps students and alumni through their career development process. Assistance can range from exploring career options to identifying deep experiential learning opportunities to salary negotiation, and beyond. GSLIS has a talented alumni base and making connections between students and alums is a primary strategy in affording students the opportunity to receive career advice from active practicing professionals in their interest areas.
Students also have access to services offered by the campus Career Center and Graduate College Career Services – both in-person and virtually and subsequently alumni have access to the University of Illinois Alumni Career Center.
Are there “career experts” on staff? What are their credentials?
Roy Brooks has a wide range of experience working in both public and academic libraries as well as a masters degree in Library and Information Science. GSLIS also has a strong faculty, staff and alumni base that contributes to the career advising services.
Does the career center provide any of the following:
√ Job Listings √ Resume/CV Review √ Help writing cover letters
√ Literature/articles √ General Career coaching √ Networking events (virtual or in-person)
√ Other (Please Specify): Students are also able to take advantage of the GSLIS Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program. With ASB, GSLIS staff assists students in finding one-week placements at libraries and other information service settings during Spring Break. These experiential learning opportunities are very valuable when exploring career opportunities and building a professional network.
Do you provide in-person services?
√ Appointments √ Speakers, or programs that present experts
√ Mixers or other networking events
√ Drop-in career center: As long as Roy is in his office, generally 9-5.
Do you provide online services?
The careers website is in the middle of an overhaul — http://www.lis.illinois.edu/careers/explorecareers
Check back soon to see the new and improved GSLIS careers site!
Everything available to on-campus students is also available to online students. Students can call/skype or chat (GSLIScareers@gmail.com) with the Career Specialist by appointment or by “drop-in.” Evening/weekend appointments are also available for those students working full time or with busy schedules. Programs/workshops/speakers are available online and often recorded.
What do you think is the best way for students to use the career center?
Start early! It is never too early in the program to start career planning – identifying career options, learning about job search strategies, practicing application writing and interviewing techniques, getting help with networking, navigating professional organizations etc. Everyone will need help or guidance with some aspect of career development and should check in with the Career Specialist to talk about their goals in order to identify where the school may be able to help them.
May alumni use career center resources?
Yes! All resources and services are available to alums.
Are there any charges for services?
Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your services in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?
Advice for job seekers: Work hard! Start early. Network. Be flexible where possible. Become involved in student and professional organizations. Find a mentor. Obtain hands on experience. Ask for help! Stay motivated and poised. Stay organized in your job search. Build your “brand.” Ask for more help!
Students’ Career Paths
Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?
We survey recent graduates about their job seeking experience. The vast majority find positions shortly after graduation, but rates vary depending on geographic scope and area of specialization.
Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?
We recognize the importance of gaining hands on experience that complements a student’s academic program and highly encourage students to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. The GSLIS Practicum Coordinator works with students to identify and secure experiences.
Does the school have a stated approach or policy on helping students to find careers?
We aim to provide the most comprehensive services possible. If you need help, we will find a way to help you – even if that is outside of our advertised suite of services. We understand that you come to our program seeking a rewarding career and we want to do all we can to help you realize your goals.
Are there any notable graduates?
Too many to list!
How many students in the library school?
665 students in the MS program
What degree(s) do you offer?
MS LIS, CAS LIS, PhD LIS
More on Programs of Study: http://www.lis.illinois.edu/academics/programs
Is it ALA accredited?
What are the entrance requirements?
Bachelors degree, 3.0/4.0 in the last two years of undergrad study, resume, essays, three letters of reference.
More details at: http://www.lis.illinois.edu/admissions/requirements/ms
When was the library school founded?
Where are you?
√ Midwestern US
Where are you?
Anything else you’d like to share that’s unique about the school?
Our programs include the longest running LIS doctoral program, an award winning online education program, LEEP, and robust continuing education opportunities. Our students benefit from ample engagement with the vast resources of the University of Illinois library.
This interview was conducted by Nicole Helregel, a second-year master’s student at the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library & Information Science. She works as a graduate assistant at the Funk ACES Library She hopes to one day become a reference or outreach librarian at an academic library. Find her on twitter (@nhelregel) and follow her blog here.