Many times this week, my first in the MLIS program, I’ve had to answer the question of why I chose to come here. My response is usually to talk about the event that inspired me to look into information sciences, a curation project of dance literature that I did as an independent study. My supervisor wanted to do a cross-cultural comparison of dance types, but the disorganization of dance performance literature made it difficult to do empirically. I was tasked with creating a classification scheme to record standardized information for each dance, and build a database to easily search for specific features of the dances. It was such a fun and rewarding problem to solve, that I wanted to do it on a larger scale. The issues of accessibility within the library and information science field started to sound really interesting. After realizing this, other reasons for pursuing an MLIS just clicked. It would be an opportunity to promote education and literacy, and to be a constant learner myself. I would be motivated to keep pursuing my newfound interest in tech. And of course, I’d be able to help other people.
I haven’t yet narrowed down my options for specifically how or where to do this; my interest in preserving knowledge lead me towards archives, especially digitization, but I’m also drawn to the idea of working with public libraries, and there’s a small, potentially masochistic, part of me that also loves research. This blog will hopefully be a place where I can explore and relate these different interests. Whether or not I can reconcile them all into one career area I’m not yet sure, but given the diversity of areas in the field, I’m sure I’ll find something I love.
There are, of course, still doubts that creep in sometimes. From talking to some peers, I gather that most of us have gotten funny looks or concerned remarks when we talk about our choice to do an MLIS. “Are there really any jobs in that area?” “Aren’t there better opportunities in a more prestigious field?” “Sounds boring to me.” Even though I disagree with them, it can sometimes be difficult to completely dismiss the doubt that comes with these statements, especially as someone without much experience yet in the field. But the passion in this program is contagious, and gives me a warm reminder of why I first decided to come here. It’s hard to feel like you made a bad choice in picking this path when everyone around you is engaged in critical thought about accessibility issues, and determined to help other people. It might sound simple to others, but it’s going to take some serious work, and it’ll be worth it.