The other side of the Diploma

My final semester of library school may well have been the busiest time in my life. In my final week of school I moved across the country, bought a house, started a new job, and finished my degree. Before then I had spent the last several months as the chair of the MLIS Student Council, job hunting, house hunting, working part-time as a library assistant and finishing 4 courses. Busy does not even begin to describe it! I was incredibly happy to have been offered the position I most wanted and went straight into it on the Monday after the last day of class!

Now that things have finally started to calm down, I am starting to reflect on the entire experience of grad school. I will have more to say about this in upcoming blog posts, but I also wanted to extrapolate on my position for LIS students currently asking that perennial question, “what’s it like to be a librarian?”

In a word, it is BUSY.

My current position is mostly supervision and scheduling of library assistants, but the other large part of it is doing business research for corporate clients who come to the public library as an independent researcher and pay for the work that I do for them. It is a really neat job and I’m using a ton of great resources. The information I learned in business and industry information has been very handy and I actually need to take some time to review all my notes to make sure I remember everything that I learned.


For example, I had a client coming in from a software company that caters to oilwell drilling. They were looking to expand their business into other fields or subsectors and are looking for me to do research into this as well as create company contact lists. At the moment we use ReferenceUSA: Canadian Businesses heavily and I usually spend a large amount of time using it.  


The other sorts of questions I get relate to local history information which is not available online and for which I often can be found digging through our historic directories looking up things like which companies where in Calgary at what time, what their advertisements look like & locations, professional historic directories like the College of physicians & surgeons of Alberta, and more. Even looking up personal information about individuals through our white pages and other local directories to find out where they lived, what their profession was, or whether someone with that name existed then. I do a lot of work for legal and estate issues, film and television production (go figure!), genealogy, business librarians, and anyone looking for info from the local newspaper archives. However, it is always something new and exciting! Crime history and prospect research are two new areas of information searching I’ve done in the last week alone!

In short, librarianship has been amazing so far. Many learning opportunities have arisen in this position and I can’t wait to see what else will come up!


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