Library School Career Center: University of Iowa

I’m super excited to reintroduce this series, which is a collaboration with Hack Library School (HLS). HLS is written by library school students. In this series, the students interview their schools to dig deeper into the resources provided for job hunting and career support. We are cross-posting here and on Hack Library School. This first post in the return to this series is written by Kellee Forkenbrock, who you may know from Further Questions.

By the way, if you are an employer looking to get your job ad out to library schools, Hilary Kraus (who you may also know from Further Questions) has created a very helpful spreadsheet with best process to reach each of the 63 ALA continually accredited library schools.

This interview is with Duncan Stewart, Rare Materials & Monograph Cataloging Librarian at the University of Iowa School of Library & Information Science (SLIS). Duncan is also the University Libraries liaison librarian for SLIS, and a special collections cataloger in the Department of Cataloging and Metadata.  As SLIS liaison Stewart is responsible for Library and Information and Museum Studies collection management and coordinates the UI Libraries-SLIS student mentoring program matching library science students with working academic librarians. He also assists LISSO with resume coaching, mock interviews, and occasional presentations. He earned his MLS at Indiana University – Bloomington.

Career Center Information

Who staffs the career center?  Please talk a little about how it is managed and run.

While the University’s career resources aren’t specific to the SLIS program, my colleague Katie McCullough serves as the main contact for library students seeking support services. In addition to Katie’s expertise, students can connect with their SLIS liaison and the Library and Information Science Student Organization (LISSO) for additional assistance.

Does the career center provide any of the following:

√ Job Listings   √ Resume/CV Review   √ Help Writing Cover Letters   

√ Interview Practice  √ Mentorship Program

√  Other (Please Specify): Sponsorship opportunities are available to students who wish to attend professional library conferences, including the Iowa Library Association’s (ILA) annual meeting.

Do the career center provide online services?

√ Website with resources   √ Webinars  √ Twitter: @UIowaSLIS   √ LinkedIn  √ Facebook: @SLISUIowa

What do you think is the best way for students to use the career center?

Our mentorship program is the best way to get hands-on experience and on-the-job perspective about career solutions.

May alumni use career center resources?

We offer a variety of services for the SLIS alumni, including online spotlights, informational webinars, and networking events.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your services in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

I’ve already mentioned that SLIS students should take full advantage of the mentorship program but connecting with LISSO is another recommendation. Professional library organizations like ALA also have student chapters that can help students find a career path in librarianship. Above all, always keep learning from others in your program. Seeking out advice is a better indicator that you are a self-starter than anything else.

Students’ Career Paths

Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?

Our practicum program is facilitated by Kara Logsdon, a lecturer with over three decades of library experience – including 21 years as a public librarian. In addition to the SLIS courses she teaches, Kara connects our students with partners and organizations seeking to bring any form of library practice into their workflow. It’s a worthwhile gift of experience that aligns with the SLIS model.

Are there any notable graduates?

I have a few students I’d like to highlight. Andrea Martin is my former student doing contract cataloging of rare materials at Loras, She starts a paraprofessional job as rare materials cataloger at Yale’s Beinicke Library in January 2023. Also, four of my former students work here at UI Libraries: Jennifer Bradshaw (Metadata Librarian), Bethany Kluender (Rare Materials Cataloger), Damien Ihrig (Curator of the John Martin Rare Books Room), and Lauren Claeys (Cataloging Assistant).


How many students in the library school?

We have approximately 60 students in the SLIS program.

What degree(s) do you offer?

We offer a Master’s certificate in LIS, which can be used in a joint program with either a Master of Fine Arts in the Center for the Book or with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) with the College of Law. We also offer a Teacher Librarian MA program as well as several certification options, including Special Collections, Public Digital Humanities, Informatics, School Media, and Book Studies.

Is it ALA accredited?

Our LIS program is ALA accredited.

What are the entrance requirements?

Please see this site for our most current admission requirements for our Graduate College and this site for our most current requirements for our MLIS degree.

When was the library school founded?

The first SLIS class of students started in September 1967. Please see this site for the complete history of our SLIS program.

Where are you? Where is the school located?

√ Midwestern US

√ suburban area

This interview was conducted by Kellee Forkenbrock, who is a second year Master of Library Science/Public Digital Humanities Certification student at University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science. She is a Contributing Writer and Community Manager for Hack Library School as well as an author and wellness blogger under the pseudonym Eliza David. Learn more about Kellee through her blog, by connecting with her on LinkedIn, or by following her on Twitter @elizadwrites.

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